Connecticut Employment Lawyers Association Weekly (11/15/09)

This week's contents:

Topic of the Week  I Got Skillz... How your skills can transfer to your next job

What are your transferable skills:

• DON’T assume your skills only relate to one job
• DO explore your people skills
• DO explore your data skills
• DO explore your “things” skills.

Your Rant: What are transferable skills?

911 Repair,

Most of us limit our possibilities in a job search because we view our skills far too narrowly. We see ourselves as our current or last job, instead of a set of skills that can adapt to many different jobs. Which reminds me of a time that I took a commuter flight out of LaGuardia Airport. I chatted with the ticket taker. When I got on the plane the pilot stuck his head through the curtain. Yep, you guessed it. It was the same guy who took my ticket.

I hoped that he was trained as a pilot who just happened to pitch in to take tickets, rather than the other way around. But no matter, we’re all pitching in to help in a variety of ways at work today. But most of us tend to view our own skills too narrowly. In reality most of us have skills that easily transfer to a new job, if only we could see them that way. I’ve listed three Do’s and one Don’t to help you get a better grasp of your transferrable skills. For more check out Dick Bolles’ life-changing book, “What Color Is Your Parachute?” (10 Speed, 2010). Sure you read it years ago, but since Bolles updates it yearly, it’s morphed into a book that is chock full of new insight.

DON’T assume your skills only relate to one job. The dictionary of occupational titles lists 28,500 jobs. Yet most of us only think we can do one or two jobs. Most of us can do literally hundreds of jobs, but only when we see our skills as transferring from one job to another. Bolles sees three main areas of skills, people skills, data skills and “things” skills. The more we understand our skills and unique contributions, the easier that it will be to convince an employer.

DO explore your people skills. Some of us are good working with people. We like the give and take and we get energy from being around them. At the top of the skill chart for people is mentoring and negotiating. Toward the middle is supervising. And the most basic skills for working with people are helping and taking instructions. 

DO explore your data skills. Some of us are at our best when we are working with data. Information junkies just love data. At the top of the skill chart for data is synthesizing, innovating and coordinating. Toward the middle is computing and the most basic data skill is comparing.

DO explore your "things" skills. The third major category of skills revolves around things. I always think of people who like to knit or make model airplanes. At the top of the skill chart is setting up and precision working. Toward the middle is manipulating. And the most basic thing skill would be handling.

Use this new insight to turn your transferable skills into your ticket to a high-flying new opportunity at work.

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.com.

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    Beyond a pocket protector…If two candidates are equal, who would the CFO hire?

    • Personality or people skills, in 2009, 31% (in 2004, 1%)
    • Software or technology knowledge, in 2009, 27% (in 2004, 33%)
    • Industry specific experience, in 2009, 20% (in 2004, 41%)
    • Certification or advanced degree, in 2009, 11% (in 2004, 15%)

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