Whether you’re just out of college, going through a career change or simply just trying to find a new job – sometimes your history of job skills don’t match the skills you’ll need for the new job. This is where transferable skills come in! Many people starting out in their careers imagine that their qualifications are the things that count. Certainly, a good degree or diploma can open doors to prestigious jobs. But it is not knowledge alone that will help you along in your career – nor even the people you know! Employers are looking not as much for bright sparks, but for people who can function effectively in the workplace. Transferable skills are job capabilities that bring value to many environments, rather than being specific to a given organisation. Although you may have learned and practised them in the context of one job, they can be applied to new job opportunities. Building these skills greatly expands your career options because they have broad appeal to potential employers. Below are the key transferable skills that you should develop to assist with your career progression. Communication Skills Good communication skills come down to how effectively you translate ideas and facts into understandable terms on paper and verbally. Also how well you can listen to others and understand what they are attempting to communicate. If you took part in group projects, wrote reports, gave presentations, and then use them to show your excellent communication skills. Management Skills Effective leadership and management is about directing and motivating others to achieve individual, team and company goals, overseeing projects and making decisions. Have you ever help a supervisory position or oversaw a project? Or even captained a sports team or been a chairperson of a local committee? If so relate the position to responsibilities and traits associated with management. Interpersonal skills These skills are the way you relate to and interact with others. So describe how you are able to motivate colleagues to perform better or how you dealt with conflict between team members. Also if you ever worked in a customer service role, describe how you interacted with customers and clients. Research skills Planning and research skills enable you to articulate needs and formulate a strategy to accomplish specific objectives. If you’re a recent graduate you have plenty of examples of research skills from all the assignment s and projects you undertook during your degree. If you’re not a recent graduate, give examples of specific projects you undertook and how you set goals, gathered relevant information and analysed, interpreting and disseminated information. Self management skills Self management is about how you direct your own activities toward the achievement of objectives. So how do you manage your time and organise your priorities? How do you set goals, meet deadlines and solve problems? How do you cope with stress and pressure? Adaptability How well can you cope with change? If you held more than one job, you can describe your flexibility and even with one job can indicate how you adapted to changes and new roles. Creative thinking and problem solving skills Are you able to solve problems? Think about jobs you held where you faced problems and came up with brilliant solutions. How do you develop transferable skills? Transferable skills are mainly gained through experience; therefore the burden of responsibility is on you to develop these skills. So if you have a job put yourself forward for team assignments so you can build on your interpersonal skills or even volunteer as team lead for group assignments to improve your management and organisational skills. If you’re currently unemployed, try and relate your personal life to these skills. Keep up teamwork skills by joining a sports team; develop your speaking and presentation skills by joining a debating club. You can also develop your skills through, doing some volunteer work, or going on a training course. And remember your specialised knowledge may get you an interview and perhaps the job, but it is those important skills we tend to overlook which will enable you to do your job successfully.
Thinking about a change of scenery and moving somewhere new? It does not have to be as stressful as you think. Check out our Top 10 tips on long distance job searches. 1. Know Your Opportunities Many people choose to move because they know people in the area, to follow their spouse or they have just like the idea of moving somewhere new, but are there jobs in your line of business in the area? It can be hard to establish yourself in a place that has a shortage of jobs in your field. Also keep in mind the population in your new location and their skills. If there has been an influx in people in your discipline moving to an area recently then competition will be ripe for jobs. 2. Research the City Know the infrastructure and where the main life of the city is. Research the cost of living such as salary expectations, approximate rent level, cost to eat out/in, transportation costs and if this is affordable for you. Find out where the local amenities are and if you can locate near them. Is there a local club with like-minded people that can help you? 3. Investigate Local Companies Are there companies in the area that you would like to work for? Even if there are no job openings now, there will be later. Learn all you can about these companies. Send them your CV or try meeting the HR manager through contacts or events, LinkedIn can help here. 4. Set a Move Date (and tell everyone about it!) Do not be afraid to create a deadline for yourself. By doing this you make the goal real and it becomes a date to work towards. Prospective employers will love seeing this as it will dictate a start date. Mention your relocation date in your cover letters and LinkedIn profile so potential hirers need not ask. 5. Talk With a Local Recruitment Agency This is a great way to research the local job market. Recruitment companies who work in your area of expertise can give you an idea of the local jobs market, salaries and advise on your CV. Recruiters also will know the area and this can help when relocating. 6. Plan a Trip Before You Move Telephone and skype interviews are great but there is nothing that rivals face-to-face interviews. If feasible plan one or two trips to where you will be moving to and try to organise as many interviews as possible on these days. 7. Check Offline Advertisements Local newspapers are a great way of looking at the job marketplace in a new area. You can see if there are many jobs going, which industries are performing well and what level of expertise is normal. 8. Consider Moving without Finding a Job Once you have decided to move it is a good idea to start planning for it and move regardless. Consider temping to keep you going while you find something else more permanent. Moving can be stressful but following through will be a relief after all the preparation. 9. Use Social Media Like you have already broadcast on LinkedIn, announce your move on other social sites. You never know who has connection that can help. That college friend you have not spoken to in five years still might come in handy. Using local boards can also is helpful to ask for advice on areas to live in and places to go. One more thing… 10. Leave With A Bang (in a good way) Try not to burn bridges, no matter how tempting, and politely bid farewell to everyone. You never know who might have a contact in your new location that can help you move on. To summarise, when moving, set a date and work toward it. Update your CV and all other profiles to mirror this and do research on the area. Visit, more than once if possible, and talk with local businesses, people and recruitment companies. Use your network to help you settle in and take a leap of faith.
Job hunting whilst still employed has a long list of advantages and benefits. One of the biggest being it allows you to take the time to consider your next career move. By taking your time and not rushing into job opportunities you can make your next career move a great one. However you need to thread carefully when you are job hunting. You don’t want to alert your current employer to the fact you are considering leaving and end up without a pay cheque. So how do you approach a job hunt if you can’t blast your CV all over the internet or arrange interviews left, right and centre? 1.Look for jobs on your own time It’s easy to go gung-ho job hunting once you’ve made the decision to find a new job but there is no surer way to alert your employer of your intentions than by letting your performance levels slack. So whilst it is tempting to look for a job while at the office – don’t! Don’t use your work e-mail or your work phone number and don’t tell your colleagues – be discreet. 2.Register With A Recruitment Agency Job hunting can be quite time consuming especially when you’re trying to be discreet (i.e. not posting your CV on jobs boards etc.). Therefore, registering with an agency can be very beneficial. Agencies can help you with all aspects of the job search (CV advice, interview prep, alert you to available jobs etc.), cutting out extra work for you. Once you register the next step is to take the time to meet your consultant. When you meet your consultant it gives them the chance to fully understand where you are going with your career and the type of roles you are interested in. At the same time, consultants can also alert you to positions and industries you may not have considered before. Agencies also have exclusive jobs that are not openly advertised by the companies themselves. 3.Interviews Making sure you have time available for interviewing is key when job hunting whilst in employment. If requested for interview you need to be able to take an afternoon or morning off, if it can’t be arranged for outside working hours. Flexibility is required as you want to suit your potential new employer as well as your current one. Having available annual leave makes things a lot easier. 4.Referees When you make it to offer stage of the process you will need to be able to provide references. You are not going to use your current employer so make sure you have two good references readily available. Reference checks are essential in completing the process and are the deciding factor in an offer you receive. Make sure you have contacted both references and have a good relationship with them. If you complete all of the above steps your job hunting process will be more effective, productive and hopefully have a positive result. Job hunting while still employed can be a made easy with the help of a recruitment consultant and a little preparation. These tips can help make the next career move you make a fantastic one.
“January is by far the best time to look for a job – everyone is hiring” or “Everyone looks for a job in January, I wouldn’t bother if I were you”! Above are two conflicting statements I’ve overheard in the past week as friends, family and colleagues all discuss New Year’s resolutions and their career plans for the new year. Technically there is no right or wrong time to start looking for a new job as there are always jobs out there but there are a few pros for job hunting in the New Year. 1. Psychological Advantage Psychologically, the New Year is a great time to begin a job search as we all enter the new year with positive intentions –“out with the old and in with the new”. We tend to see the New Year as a new beginning and are more focused on bringing change to areas of our lives we’re not happy with. 2. Hiring Peaks We definitely see hiring peaks in January/February as with the New Year comes a new financial year for many companies which means there’s a new budget in place. Companies tend to roll out new strategies and initiatives and hire staff to achieve these fresh goals. 3. Time As already mentioned, we all tend to be more focused in the New Year but we also tend to have more time on our hands. And if you are serious about looking for a new job, time is of the essence. A typical job search can take between 90-180 days, depending on your industry. Use this time to update your CV and LinkedIn and catch up with friends and acquaintances to see if they know of any upcoming opportunities. Make a list of companies and positions you would like and set yourself a target of applying for X amount of applications a day. 4. Up-skill If we’re not giving something up in the New Year, we’re taking something up. Meaning if there is anything you need to up-skill in, why not do it now? Consider the role you would like to have and check out job descriptions for these roles, what skills/requirements are you missing? Is there a course you need to take? What experience do you need to gain to get that job? Perseverance is essential when looking for a new job and as mentioned we all tend to return after the holidays refreshed and ready to take on the world. So if you are ready to change careers this year, get started now and with a focused and planned approach you should be walking into your new role in no time.
While there are plenty of social outlets to vent and express your feelings online, LinkedIn is not one of them. Outside of work we have all been told by a friend or colleague NOT to talk about work, regardless if the information is positive or negative, nobody wants to tackle these topics after 5:30. The same rules apply when it comes to LinkedIn and your working world. Nobody wants to hear your opinion on football, nor do they want to see photographs of your family, or that funny picture of a dog chasing its tail. There are plenty of social media outlets where you can express these interests and opinions. Try to differentiate your work world and your social world. LinkedIn is used by hundreds of millions of professionals worldwide. It is a place where you can sell/offer your experience and skills within the working community. How you demonstrate this information will be the reason why you are being headhunted by businesses and agencies, or on the contrary why you are finding it difficult to gain any traction in your network. Here are some key tips on how to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile. 1. Profile Picture: Your profile picture is a unique selling tool. Isn’t it always nice to have a face with the name? It makes you stand out more, makes you more memorable and ultimately portrays a big message to your professional network. When you’re using a picture, please do NOT have a picture of you including: Dogs, Cats, Bars, Nightclubs, group pictures, poorly formatted pictures or wearing a football kit. This is the first thing that a hiring manager will see, make it count, and make a positive impression. Recent surveys have shown that your profile is 11 times more likely to be viewed if you have a photograph on it than without. 2. Spelling/Grammar: This one is self-explanatory, yet it is the most common issue you’ll find on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn personal page is essentially your own online stock for hiring managers to buy into. You want your stock to be professional, assertive and representative of your ability. Ensure to spell-check your personal information and details before you submit them on your page. This, of course, will rule out any “where, were, we’re OR they’re, there and their” mistakes that are most common. Remember, this is your professional profile – nobody else will correct your work for you. 3. Networking A great way to get the most from your LinkedIn is by expanding your network. LinkedIn users have a tendency to add their closest friends and don’t explore and maximise their potential to widen their networking net. Reach out to old acquaintances and colleagues, clients and customers, and most certainly your college alumni – these are quite likely the most beneficial additions to your network. They have probably pursued the same routes as you have and can provide you with a broader reach in your network. 4. Creativity: “Creative and Responsible” – are the most used adjectives by LinkedIn users over the last few years. Never have we seen such creativity and responsibility by users across the globe. Although going by this statistic we should be societies full of Steve Jobs’ and Richard Branson’s. True creativity now-a-days in the business world is explored via strategy. Please don’t misconstrue your creativity as an innovative personal attribute that no other user could possibly think of. Instead why don’t you portray this “creativity” via a different route? Present your publications, merits, videos and any other projects that will depict the right image of you. We must be strategic on what information we want on show and what will make us stand out and be remembered. I’d advise you not to use LinkedIn as a place of social interaction, rather see it as a way for you to canvas your experiences and skills to date, and interact with professional communities globally. Think professionalism every time you log in and you should be presenting your best foot forward.
Unfortunately, most graduates are missing out on the largest business sector in Ireland! Did you know that over 90% of firms in Ireland are Small and medium enterprises (SMEs)? They account for more than half of private sector employment. So why is it that Irish graduates mostly look to the 10% of large corporations to make a start on their career? This article aims to re-educate those with big company bias by dispelling some of the stereotypes associated with SME employment and show the benefits that a SME experience can have on your career. “Small companies don’t employ as many people as large ones” You would be forgiven for thinking this myth was true. But, SMEs are at the forefront of employment creation. They just tend not attract as much publicity and also have somewhat lower marketing budgets than larger companies, so their employment profile is not top of mind. “Small businesses have fewer opportunities for advancement” Graduates who perform well in SMEs are likely to progress more quickly as they and their efforts are more visible to senior managers. Also, there is normally a rigid structure of career progression in large companies. Graduates can often feel like they are just numbers in a niche department in large companies but in a SME you are likely to play a vital role. “Small companies are just interested in an employee’s ability to produce results” SMEs do not subscribe to the “square peg in square hole” mentality that is prevalent in big business. While larger companies rely heavily on exam results, essay questions and psychometric testing, the entrepreneurial SMEs tend to think laterally when filling a position. A candidate’s enthusiasm and natural skills can be just as impressive as related work experience and grades. “Large companies offer a better quality of experience” You are far more likely to get niche training in large companies. The opposite is normally true for SMEs where graduates are exposed to a wide range of areas within the business. Graduates in SME roles have more varied experience, an opportunity to voice their opinions and to shape company practices and procedures. More all rounded experience is one of the best benefits of starting your career in an SME. “Nothing compares to a large corporation’s training programme” True, some large companies’ graduate training schemes are infamous, but think about what is best for you personally. Some prefer to get more attention and a comprehensive training at the beginning of their career. Also, having a broad skills range can make you more indispensable in a turbulent market. To conclude, the reality is large corporations do not suit everyone. Many people prefer a less rigid, more accessible SME corporate culture. An SME can offer a graduate a depth of experience, in a more nurturing environment, with more responsibility.
Working with a recruiter can save you lots of time and energy when you’re looking for a new job. But who should you talk to? Where do you start? Choose wisely Firstly choose a recruiter that best suits the area you are looking to get a job in. A recruiter that has experience recruiting for your chosen discipline will not only be able to find you new roles but also provide you with market and salary information and CV and interview advice specific to your discipline and industry. Secondly work with people that have been recommended and are specialists in the market. Take time to research both the company and the consultant online. At the end of the day it is your recruitment consultant that represents you to perspective employers so the better the relationship you have with them, the better the consultant will work on your behalf. If you chose the right recruiter at the start you will probably partner them for your entire career. Building a relationship with your consultant Now that you’ve decided on whom you want to work with, how do you optimise your relationship with your recruitment consultant? First impressions always count. Call first to make an appointment and take your CV to the interview. Dress and in general treat this as if you are going to a job interview. Turn off your phone and arrive on time. Have an enthusiastic and positive attitude as this is priceless in any partnership. Your CV does not tell a potential employer what you’re like in person so when meeting a recruiter have the anecdotes, achievements and reasons ready to accurately match your CV to a specific role. The recruiter is working on behalf of their client so by impressing them, they are more likely to put you forward for the role. Be clear about the job you want. Do some research before the meeting and bring some ideas to the meeting. Recruiters need your help and input to point you in the right direction. Keep expectations realistic and share as many ideas as possible. Take their advice. Take on board all advice given by your recruiter and put the time into preparing for each round of interviews. Recruiters review and assess CVs and prepare candidates for interviews every day so they know what employers are looking for. Look after your online profiles. These days a CV is sometimes not enough, recruiters will be interested in looking at your online profiles such as LinkedIn, Twitter etc. to see what kind of person you are and to check if you’re a fit for their client’s culture. In particular complete your LinkedIn profile and make sure your profile is viewable to everyone, there’s no reason for secrecy. Also conduct a Google search of your name and see what the internet has to say about you. If there are any negative comments/images/posts that you can remove, do so! Finally, people often get frustrated with recruitment agencies as they have had no contact in some time. In most cases this is because the consultant has no suitable positions at the time but also consultants speak to and meet countless candidates each week. So make yourself stand out, set out a clear communication plan and agree the best way to move forward with your recruitment consultant. This will avoid the potential feeling that your calls are not being returned or you have been forgotten. Building a great relationship with a recruitment consultant can be highly beneficial; they can often become a partner to your career success. To this day I have many candidates still on my books that I first started to work with 8 years ago.
No doubt about it, the job market is a tough place to be right now. While that is enough to get you down, don’t let it derail your goals of landing a great job or getting yourself a promotion. No matter what you do for a living, chances are that with a small amount of effort, you can take the education, skills and work experience you already have and make yourself even more marketable. It’s time to make yourself stand out from the crowd and make your boss or potential future employers take notice of you! Continuous upgrade of knowledge and skills Learning does not stop after you finish school/college. If you view learning as a life-long process, you will in the long run be more marketable than those who do not. Strive to find ways to upgrade yourself. Seize opportunities to learn new skills. Classes and courses can be especially helpful if it teaches you a skill that you don’t already have. But learning can be as simple as taking on a new project at work, or reading an article about a new development in your industry. Become technologically savvy The rapid advancements in IT affect almost every profession, some more so than others. Whether you’re planning a career in health care, law, engineering, sales, marketing, HR or financial services, it is essential that you understand how technology influences your line of work. Technologically savvy employees can more easily comprehend how advances in technology enable them to perform their job duties more efficiently. To accomplish this, make sure you have fundamental knowledge of computer operations, e-commerce, and software applications that relate to your field. Even one or two computer and internet-related classes can significantly add to your knowledge base. Develop skills that are transferable Transferable skills are not specific to a single role. These can be adapted to use in any job such as communications skills, leadership and management skills, planning and research skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills and self-management skills. The best way to gain transferable skills is through experience so put yourself into situations where you can build on these skills. By doing something as simple as volunteering to be chairperson of your local sports club for example, you will be improving your leadership and communication skills as you take charge and chair committee meetings. Promote yourself through social networking sites Us Irish have never been the best for blowing our own trumpet but social networks are a great opportunity to do just so and get yourself noticed. As we’ve mentioned before social networks are being used more and more frequently by recruiters and HR managers alike so just make sure you’ve cleaned up all your online profiles. Also try to widen your network of contacts which will give you a greater chance to be noticed by potential employers. Volunteer for assignments Be bold! Seek out special projects at work even if it falls outside the boundaries of your job description. New projects can be a great learning opportunity (that you can add to your CV) and it will really impress your boss that you’ve taken the initiative to get involved in the project. The work and time invested in the assignment will pay off later, whether in the form of a performance-based bonus, a glowing recommendation, or a new position. Stand out during interviews Do not take job interviews lightly, whatever your years of experience might be. In fact, the higher the position, the higher the expectations. Be prepared to be asked about ideas and improvements you can bring to the table. Most of the time, candidates that succeed are the ones that impress the interviewers with ideas that can be executed right away as though they are already part of the organization. Any time you apply for a job, make sure you can tell a story about your career that shows why you would be the best person for the job.
For many, the impression of switching industries is that it’s no problem to do when you’re at the early stages of your career but the longer you remain in one industry the harder it becomes to make that switch! And yes while it may be more difficult it doesn’t mean it’s not doable even if you are a senior executive who’s spent your entire career in one industry. The key to switching industries is making your skills, competencies and experience relatable. A mistake many jobseekers make is they write their CV without thinking about the job and the company to which they are applying. They fill their CV with acronyms, lingo and jargon that is relevant to their current industry, yet many of these expressions will be of no relevance to a different industry. So how do you sell yourself to a different industry? Research your target industry Make a list of potential industries you would like to work in and research the following; -Is there a demand for professionals of your ability? -Can you find job adverts of positions that you could fit in this industry? Once you’ve decided on an industry that you feel you can add value to, you need to know everything possible about what’s going on in the industry and at each company you apply to. Read industry blogs, learn the lingo and get an understanding of the market. Read job descriptions and find the commonalities between your current role and your target role. Talk to people in your target industry If you can talk to people in your target industry – do! Check your LinkedIn connections and see if any of your network, work in this industry. See how your accomplishments and skills compare to someone doing your target role. Also see how they present their experience, sometimes you could be doing the exact same tasks but they’re called something different in a different industry. Also make connections with people in your target industry. Attend conferences, join LinkedIn groups and connect. Put yourself out there and express an interest in changing industries, you’d be surprised what leads you can get by simply talking to people. Sell your skills Most people do have skills that can transfer fairly easily from one industry to another but you need to spell that out to employers. The key to moving industry is packaging your current skills so they’re appropriate for the industry you’re targeting. Find a job description of a position you’d like, print it, read it and highlight every matching skill/requirement/keyword you have – these keywords are what you need to emphasise in your CV. Show interest and enthusiasm Finally and perhaps most importantly, show enthusiasm for a new industry. Packaging your skills the right way in your CV will get you an interview – but when it comes to the interview you need to show passion and determination to beat your competition. Changing industries is not as hard as you may think. It just requires some strategic and creative thinking!