Transferable skills in the age of career shifts and uncertainty

Transferable skills in the age of career shifts and uncertainty

Changing or shifting careers often means re-assessing the skills that are really critical and can be “transferred” to the new role, specially if the new role is not exactly the same as the previous one.

Called transferable skills, these are increasingly getting important as people are increasingly evaluating career changes in today’s times. Let us look at what these skills are and how they can help.

Coursera identifies transferable skills as portable ones, beyond the technical ones needed for a specific job. According to Coursera, some of these key transferable skills are:1) Critical thinking: This refers to originality, with the ability to think, evaluate and analyse information. In jobs, this can show up as the ability to ask the right questions. For example, a teacher could take a standard curriculum and personalise it for her students using this skill.

2) Problem solving: This could apply in different ways in different jobs. From managing efficiency to driving revenue to providing better customer experience, problem-solving skills can be a much-needed advantage in most jobs helping us pre-empt issues and finding solutions.

3) Adaptability: This enables a person to quickly adapt to new situations. In a work environment, this could show up as new employees getting skilled faster in their work or existing employees showing the openness to take up multiple tasks.

4) Teamwork: In many cases, people have to work together, in teams, sometimes across departments and without having a direct supervisor. People who can navigate through this labyrinth are highly valued in organisations.

5) Attention to detail: This is critical in some jobs. Think of jobs that require minute changes such as editing, programming, writing and quality check.

6) Management: The ability to manage other people is also a critical one that involves planning, being able to understand each person’s skills and motivations.

A report by McKinsey shared that the need for transferable skills will rise rapidly in the next decade.

Shantanu Rooj, Founder & CEO, TeamLease Edtech, highlights the cross-functional nature of some of these skills. In today’s times of uncertainty and confusion, he says, it is important for employers to get their strategies right to address the threat of disrupting technologies, new-age business models and more. Keeping their teams well trained and agile is a significant strategy; something that comes handy during troubled times but helps improve productivity otherwise. Employers are looking for multi-skilled candidates who can perform multiple roles — people who are problem solvers, who are creative, are adaptable and can work in teams. There is great demand for candidates who have trained themselves, can pick up multiple skills, demonstrate resilience and signal adaptability to new emerging job roles.

Some specific transferable skills Rooj talks about include:
Project management to business development: Their experience in project management gives them domain knowledge; and with the right training on negotiation and sales skills, they turn out to be superb sales professionals

Sales to customer service: Field sales people, trained in communication and etiquette skills, turn out to be great customer service and account management professionals

Sales to product management: Sales and project professionals trained on design thinking turn out to be excellent product management executives

Data to sales: Mid-level sales managers with training on data analytics can excel in sales productivity management

As we get ready to future-proof ourselves for our careers, identifying our individual transferable skills and their potential areas of application can give us a broader scope to develop our expertise in.

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Author: Shirley