Boost Your Career with Transferable Skills

After years of honing your top-level professional skills, you may feel trapped in your job because you’re not confident that you’re qualified to do anything else. In fact, many job skills are transferable, if you know what to emphasize when exploring career opportunities in your organization or elsewhere. Here are some tips for identifying skills that can apply to almost any professional pursuit:

• Cast a wide net. Think beyond the workplace. Hobbies, sports, and volunteer activities can build a set of skills that apply to a wide range of jobs. Don’t discount experiences like coordinating a book group or coaching a child’s soccer team.

• Analyze your accomplishments. Look back over your career and list your major accomplishments. Then isolate the specific skills that helped you achieve them—not just technical know-how, but strengths like leading a team or generating creative solutions.

• Brainstorm with colleagues. Ask co-workers, trusted friends, mentors, and even your own manager what you’re best at. Their perspective may pick up some talents you haven’t thought about.

• Highlight the right skills. The most easily transferable habits are commonly thought of as “soft skills.” You’ll want to demonstrate your abilities with examples that focus on such areas as teamwork, leadership, critical thinking, communication, and creativity. Managers are always looking for these strengths, and are usually willing to train employees in the technical skills they need.

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