Transferable Job Skills and Knowledge
Workers become more competent, and therefore productive, in job roles or a “career niche” as they learn, implement and consolidate over a period of time. Worker competence and confidence leads to long term benefits for organizations and their customer/client base. Skill development provides lifetime benefits for workers too. So why do some feel “locked in” to a career path that is losing its appeal?
When individuals have been working in a role or workforce sector for a long period of time, the skills and knowledge developed are applied to a finite range of activities, over and over again. This can lead them to think of themselves as competent in completing a defined task, rather than recognizing competence in applying a skill set to the task. Tasks are very often organization or job specific, resulting in a perception that our competence, whilst evident, has no market value in the broader workforce.
Liberation from the proverbial “rut” starts with a redefinition of ourselves and our contributions to our current jobs. Focus less on the knowledge acquired in a particular context. This knowledge may or may not have value in a different context. Begin to conceptualize your maturity as a worker in terms of skill sets and capacities.
Outside of Company Y, there may be little interest in or need for information about X activity. However, most organizations require sophisticated predictive data in order to make sound decisions. The skill set involved in gathering, analysis and reporting is generic, but valuable, in a wide range of situations. Reconceptualizing our contributions to current job roles is an early step toward effectively marketing our potential in new environments.
Take time to reflect on what you currently do in your workplace.
- Identify the tasks and, one by one, ask yourself “What are the skills or knowledge that I am applying in order to do this task?” This process will begin to build a much more complete picture of yourself as a contributor to the shared goals of a workplace.
- Write down the skills and knowledge that you apply within your role. You will find that as you do this there will be a growing sense of “marketable” attributes for future career options. The tasks you currently undertake will assume importance as simply evidence of your transferable skills and knowledge.
- Include these skills, skill sets and knowledge in your Resume or CV as a “standard item”. This is a quick preview for future employers and assists them in determining the match between their requirements and your capacity.
These processes may well identify areas in which you do not have the same confidence about your abilities. Such insight is the beginning of a personal development plan. Consider ways in which you can work toward strengthening your grip in areas of potential concern.
You will find, at future interviews, when the interviewers ask “Is there anything you’d like to tell us about yourself?” there will be no need for an awkward silence. Your preparation work will give you some useful insights on which you can positively comment. Even those areas you see as deficits can be framed in terms of future potential. Remember, all organizations need individuals who are moving forward in their development.