At the start of a new year, we review our lives and what we want for the future. Our working life is one of the first places we turn our attention to, and although you might want to make some changes it is often easier said than done. Feeling trapped in a career you don’t enjoy will leave you feeling frustrated and unmotivated. Although you might worry that moving into another field will mean starting over, you could have skills and experience which will enable you to make the transition easier than you think. Identifying these skills can help you find an area where you might be better suited.
Jennifer Ward, senior relationship manager at Sigmar Recruitment, says transferable skills are the skills you can use in a variety of positions that can be applied in many different areas. ‘Transferable skills are job capabilities that bring value to many environments, rather than being specific to a given organisation,’ she said. ‘Although you may have learned and practiced them in the context of one job, they can be applied to new job opportunities.’ transferable, or soft, skills include communication, team work, problem solving, leadership and organisational skills. These are different to technical or hard skills which are easy to quantify, such as qualifications, proficiency in a skill or amount of experience. These skills are not restricted to your working life. Transferable skills could be ones you have gained in previous projects, voluntary work, sport or in your home life. ‘Soft skills can be transferable from other roles,’ Ward explains. ‘By developing your CV based around the skills the company is looking for you can make yourself more relevant for a role.’
If you’re still finding it hard to identify your skills, Ward says you should turn to others for help. ‘Recruiters can help by talking through your experiences’ she adds. ‘If you have past work appraisals you can use them to assess your skill set, or have a look at references from previous roles which list your best skills. If you have a good relationship with your past managers you could speak with them to see if they have any suggestions about skills you have missed.’ You can also look online for help, and reading job descriptions can help you see where your own skills are suited. Job descriptions contain a list of skills companies require, so you can look at roles similar to your current position, see what skills are listed, and match them to your own.
Metro Herald’s Career Doctor Jane Downes says that people who want to change the field they work in should first identify the skills needed: ‘If someone wants to move into a new field first things first: become your own career detective and find out the skills needed in that field, review job specifications for evidence, speak to others and get informed. then you’ll be in a position to know where your skills gaps lie and do something about it.’ If you find you need to do some further education for your change in career, then Downes suggests up-skilling in the areas where there is a demand. ‘Short professional courses are a great idea. the golden rule is to know the skills in demand and if they’re of interest upskill there. Another good option is to do a short course in international business or innovation or business change. ‘Skills in information technology will always be in demand so ensure you are solid in MS Office and perhaps try to get to advanced stages. ‘Up-skilling shows an employer you are serious and dedicated to learning. Employers want people who are willing to learn,’ says Downes.
Posted by Angharad Williams, Metro Herald on 29 November 2017