Transferable skills are important at any age…

Individuals often have more transferable skills than they realise, just no idea how to link them together or identify the ones that employers value. An employer will want a particular range of skills in order for employees to have a positive effect on the workplace- you will notice that job adverts call for those “people” skills as well as hard skill qualifications.  However, your abilities need to be recognised by all members of the team so communication is vitally important.   One of the hardest things to do, even if you have identified what your strong skills are, is to make everyone else aware of your capabilities.  Sometimes, you will need help getting these strengths you have as an individual across to others, particularly if they are busy and have made incorrect assumptions. One other concern is knowing how to say what to who – many an employee, manager or leader has forgotten that colleagues may need to be communicated with in a different way – communication in this instance is King!

As a school, college or university leaver, or an individual wanting to change career path, you will need to prove you have developed personally over the years, whatever age and experience or qualifications you may hold. Report writing is very different to essay writing although you will still need to prove an ability to research, analyse and present your case. It is useful as a student to have a part time job to educate yourself on the working environment. If you have already been employed, you will need to prove your experience in certain elements of customer care. Other skills are knowing how to be part of a team, giving presentations,  getting your point of view across professionally and being aware of the emotional and educational intelligence of the person you are speaking with.

Those skills are called “transferable” skills, that allow you to function effectively in the workplace at any level, be it dealing with clients or other members of staff. Negotiating, interviewing, problem solving, working in a team, demonstrating flexibility and leadership. Middle Managers need to know how to manage “up” and “down” the tree, to manage their boss and direct reports (who might easily misunderstand your every word!). Without this middle management experience and learned soft skills, proving their emotional intelligence, even managers won’t necessarily make good leaders. Perfection is not needed in a leader, but identifying key skills and those of others is crucial. The younger these skills are learnt the better but its never too late to start.