Changing sectors requires transferable skills; but what are yours?

by | May 27, 2021 | News

The great thing about transferable skills, is that most of the time you will already have them! You will likely have developed them over time whilst at home, work or education. Can you learn transferable skills – yes, but being able to identify and describe them when in an interview is more important. In our latest webinar with Morson: New job? New sector… Identify transferable skills for tomorrow’s job, we help you to identify your transferable skills, as well as learn how to leverage them to move into a new sector. 

Here are some of the topics we discussed in the webinar:

What are transferable skills? 

Transferable skills, many of which are also known as soft skills, can often be the foundation of any recruitment decision. Transferable skills could be what helps you move from an industry in decline to one that is booming. Sometimes people make the mistake of undervaluing their transferable skills; placing too much emphasis on sector experience, and not on the skills they’ve developed that could be equally useful in a different role or industry.

The first stage of any job search should be to identify your transferable skills. It is therefore integral to pause for self-reflection, and consider which skills you’re great at, but also which you most enjoy – then you can search online for jobs that require those. When it comes to applying for jobs – make sure that you have a list of your top skills, as well as examples to sit with each of them. This might include: 

  • Negotiation that time you upsold a contract to a client that meant you had the highest net revenue in the month.
  • Organisation that time you changed the filing system for your company, ensuring that appropriate documentation was available when needed. 
  • Analytical Skillsthat time you picked up on anomalies in the accounting numbers, and averted a major issue with the regulatory body.

This is key preparation for writing your CV/ cover letter for a new role, as well as the interview stage. Watch our webinar to find out more from our panelists on how you can identify your transferable skills, and put them to work so you can find the perfect job. 

What transferable skills are most in demand currently? 

Keep Britain Working teamed up with Reed.co.uk to find the answer to this question. 

The most in demand skill was perhaps unsurprising; communication. This was found in over a third of all job listings. Communication skills appeared in descriptions for roles in many sectors, such as social care, sales, accountancy and secretarial and IT. 

The next two most in demand skills were customer service and analytical skills. Both of these are seen as “must haves” for a large portion of roles – customer service is needed for any job that  requires you to interact with external parties. Analytical skills can come in many forms, but an employer will want to see an ability and a desire to overcome obstacles through analysing the issue and fixing it. This can be shown on a CV or in an interview through specific examples, perhaps using the STAR method (situation, task, action and result). 

Other transferable skills that were in high demand were digital literacy, organisation, prioritisation and negotiation. 

What are the sectors that are most in demand at the moment? 

According to the Keep Britain Working job index for April 2021 there are 1.5 times more jobs advertised as were this time last year. Hospitality roles especially are seeing a positive trend as we move out of lockdown, with a 60% increase in jobs posted over last month. 

Additionally, the report shows an increase in the number of graduate and apprenticeship jobs being posted, with them being 83% up on this month last year and 60% up on pre pandemic levels. 

As Morson highlights in the webinar, the construction and engineering industry has continued to stay strong, with demand remaining high for infrastructure and housing production. Adrian Adair, COO of Morson Group, tells us that the opportunities to cross into this sector are bountiful, especially taking advantage of the high number of learning opportunities available to supplement your existent transferable skills. 

How do I show that I have transferable skills? 

It is very easy to say that you have ‘great leadership skills’. However, the reality is this will not help you stick out of the crowd; many others will also have written this. What is more important is showcasing where you have used these skills. Rather than great leadership skills, perhaps say ‘I have great leadership skills, demonstrated when I had to manage a team of 4 to create a small music festival working within a tight budget’. By giving context to the transferable skill, it helps the recruiter not only see the skills you have, but how you have put them into good use in the past. It goes without saying to make sure that what you say is the truth – it is easy to find these things out at the interview stage!

Can I still apply for roles asking for a 2:1 or above without it, highlighting my transferable skills?  

Put simply, yes. The reality is often we see job descriptions asking for a 2:1 minimum, and this deters job seekers from applying. However, companies will have a formalised, cross company job advertisement template which they are required to use. Quite often, this will include a requirement for a 2:1! When it comes to doing the job, many businesses will be far more buoyed to see relevant transferable skills. Most of the jobs stating that requirement will certainly consider those without that level of degree, so long as supporting experience can be shown to replace it – so make sure you explicitly call out your relevant experience within your cover letter or CV

To watch the webinar, please click here.
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