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by Louise Deverell-Smith

Transferring Skills

Here at Daisy Chain, there are often two words we hear a lot when a candidate is looking for a new role: transferable skills. 

It is common for someone seeking a more flexible role to be open to other industries due to perhaps the industry they are trained in not allowing opportunity for flexible working or that they feel a new industry would be better for their work/life balance.

But what exactly are transferable skills and is swapping industries a viable and realistic option? It’s worth looking at a number of job descriptions here from varying sectors as there are definitely common requirements. These include the basic verbal, reading and writing skills alongside such attributes as team work skills, the ability to multitask and exhibit leadership.

If you are looking to change industries, it is definitely worth focussing on core skills like these to showcase that you have the personality, outlook and drive needed for the role and the ability to learn the new skills necessary (such as more detail on how a certain sector operates, for example). 

New skills can be learnt but ways of positioning yourself and holding gravitas within a working environment are often innate and determined through years of working practice. Often employers are looking for people with strong leadership, multi-tasking and research skills above and beyond the day-to-day necessities. 

Potential employers are looking for people with these core transferable skills who can learn and grow within a role and often it’s how you position these transferable skills that can be the difference between an interview or not. For example, if you write on your CV “great leadership skills,” this doesn’t really say anything about you, why you have great leadership skills and what makes you stand out. Something like “I have great leadership skills as showcased in my last role where I managed a team of 15 people and together grew the company’s profit margin from 15% to 25% in a year.” Now, that demonstrates tangible leadership skills and would ensure a potential employer would sit up and take notice. 

Positioning and language are crucial when applying for roles in different sectors as not only may you be up against fellow candidates who have already worked in that sector, but you need to ensure your transferable skills are so impressive that the fact you have less sector knowledge isn’t an issue. 

The clues will be in the job description – there will be a definition between desirable skills and necessary skills which will give you an indication of the priority of the core skill set. Often the issue that scuppers a lot of potential applications is the requirement for specific experience within the industry you are applying. What we say is to look at what transferable skills you have from your sector experience to the one you are applying for. For example, if you are wanting to go from journalism to marketing, there is an extremely strong case for key transferable skills (communication, team work, end consumer viewpoint etc). You have nothing to lose by making these clear in your application and being honest about the skills you don’t possess but have the ability to learn and adapt quickly. 

We’d love to hear more about your experience transferring skills and sectors in the workplace – please do get in touch. 

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