Are transferrable skills key to getting you the job you want?


Looking back ten years, the workplace was a completely different place.

There are many things that we’re discussing now – from remote working to employee wellbeing and engagement – that simply didn’t exist in the public consciousness just a short while ago. Given these changes, it’s unsurprising to find that candidates and recruiters have a very different attitude to employment as a result. Now, more than ever, it’s about building a personal brand that can see you through your working life, rather than following a dedicated career path. Transferable skills are becoming increasingly important. Here’s why:

Job roles are changing

We’re now entering a post-digital age where technology is not something that’s new or innovative, it’s an absolute requirement, and if you look at the job market, you can see the effect this has had. Digital literacy skills are a ‘must’ for many positions, while some roles have been completely altered. Take marketing for example: ten years ago, would we have seen vacancies for a social media manager, SEO specialist or digital marketing officer? For many employees, the role that they’ve been hired for today won’t be the same in the future, which is why it’s become so important to make sure your skills are transferable.

We no longer have defined career paths

Progressing in the same profession in the same organisation is becoming more of a rarity. In the last 20 years, the number of companies people work for in the five years after they graduate has nearly doubled – that’s according to research from LinkedIn. For many workers, it takes some time to find out what they really enjoy doing and this can only be done by experiencing different roles. A recent study into successful females in business showed that many of these chose to change industries if they were unable to progress in their current job. When you hit a roadblock in your career, switching things around can be a healthy option – and having plenty of transferable skills can help to smooth the transition.

Employers are increasingly placing value on soft skills

Soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problem solving, and conflict resolution are now a key consideration for recruiters. And the good news is that these personal qualities, which come with experience in the workplace, all come under the umbrella of transferable skills. Above all, they show recruiters that candidates can adapt easily to a new working environment. In fact, researchers at the Pew Research Center in America found that the number of jobs requiring these soft skills has increased 83 per cent over the last 30 years. Being able to list these types of attributes on your CV, and provide relevant examples of how you’ve demonstrated these qualities, will certainly come in handy.

Career changes are becoming the new norm

Thanks to an ever-changing job market, career changes are becoming the new norm. If you’re considering switching professions, you’ll find a multitude of articles offering advice, and an increasing number of employers open to providing support. In the past, taking this approach may have been considered a backward step, but now even celebrities like Kim Kardashian are considering a career change. When you’re moving to a different profession, demonstrating how you meet the job description can be difficult without transferable skills. Although you won’t have direct experience within the role, listing times when you’ve coped with a similar situation will help you to come up with a credible answer during interview. As a result, more and more employees are becoming business savvy and thinking about how they can develop their CV to open up a wider variety of avenues.

Kate AllenAbout the author

Kate Allen is the MD of Allen Associates, one of Oxfordshire’s leading independent recruitment agencies, that specialises in Marketing, Finance, PA/Admin and HR roles. In 2018, Allen Associates launched their first London office, specialising in Marketing, HR and PA/Admin roles.

Allen Associates also offer guides to businesses, containing top tips to help your recruitment and hiring process. They also offer guides to candidates, to help then with their job hunt.

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