To be successful in the workplace, employees have to possess transferable skills. Knowing about these skills will help teens and adults prepare to be successful in the workplace. Transferable skills are a product of our talents, traits and knowledge. These skills determine how you respond to new activities, work situations or jobs.
Transferable skills are non-job specific skills that you have acquired during any activity or life experiences. Student activities and experiences include campus and community activities, class projects, and assignments, hobbies, athletic activities, internships and summer part-time jobs.
Transferable skills skills fall into three (3) groups: Working with people, working with things, and working with data/information. These terms are defined below:
- Working with people skills happen when people sell, train, advise, and negotiate.
- Working with things skills occur when people repair, operate machinery, sketch, survey, or troubleshoot.
- Working with data/information skills involve budgeting, researching, and analyzing.
The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) is a model for transferable skills resources and web sites. In 1990, a commission of schools, government, unions, and corporations developed five SCAN competencies and three SCAN foundation skills. The five (5) Competencies are: Resources, information, interpersonal, systems, and technology.
The meanings of the competencies are:
- Resources competencies describe the allocation of time, money, material resources, facility resources, and human resources.
- Information competencies involve acquiring, evaluating, organizing, maintaining, interpreting, communicating and processing information.
- Interpersonal competencies include team participation, teaching, customer services, leadership, negotiation, and cultural diversity.
- Systems competencies work with understanding systems, performance monitoring, and systems designs.
- Technology competencies involve the selection, application, maintenance, and troubleshooting of technology.
Besides competencies, there are three (3) Foundation Skills: Basic, thinking, and personal qualities. The terms are explained below.
- Basic skills involve reading, writing, arithmetic, mathematics, listening, and speaking.
- Thinking skills include creative thinking, decision making, problem solving, seeing things in the mind’s eye, knowing how to learn, and reasoning.
- Personal qualities are responsibility, self esteem, sociability, self-management, and integrity/honesty.
Universities and professional organizations, such as California State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Quintessential Careers, and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) agree these transferable skills are important. These organizations have created transferable skills surveys, exercises, and web sites.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) is a professional association connects more than 5,200 college career services professionals at nearly 2,000 college and universities nationwide, and more than 3,000 HR/staffing professionals focused on college relations and recruiting. NACE has compiled the twenty (20) top personal qualities/skills that employers requested the most:
- Analytical skills
- Communication Skills
- Computer skills
- Entrepreneurial skills/risk-taker
- Friendly/outgoing personality
- Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)
- Leadership and management skills
- Organizational and time management skills
- Real Life Experiences
- Strong work ethic
- Teamwork skills (works well with others)
- Technical Skills
Communication skills are the most popular skills listed on the web sites. Communication deals with speaking effectively, writing concisely, listening attentively, and other abilities that result in the expression, transmission and interpretation of knowledge and ideas. Communication skills help you communicate what you know. Examples of communication skills include:
- Selling ideas, products or services
Communication skills are involved in the other skills, such as organizational management, human relations, program administration, research & planning. Organization, management, leadership, and human relations skills are the ability to supervise, direct and guide individuals and groups in the completion of tasks and fulfillment of goals. Organization, management, leadership, and human relations skillsconsist of:
- Making decisions
- Assuming and delegating responsibility
- Organizing people and tasks
- Negotiating agreements
Management and administrative skills organize and coordinate people, projects and events. As a manager, you handle multiple tasks, set priorities, and adapt to changing conditions and work assignments. As leaders, you use skills to motivate individuals and groups to assess, perform, set goals, evaluate, and follow through situations effectively.
Managers and leaders use human relations skills. Human relations, interpersonal, or people skills develop rapport, negotiate, and help people overcome their differences.
In addition to human relations skills, managers and leaders need planning and reasoning skills. Program administration, research and planning skills are essential when you gather information, analyze data, present ideas, and generate solutions.
Analyzing, planning, and reasoning skills are used in the field of research. Research skills help you search for specific knowledge, determine future needs, investigate and record findings, find answers, and evaluate strategies.
Besides planning and reasoning skills, problem solving and creativity activities involve the ability to find solutions to problems using experiences, information, and available resources. Problem solving and goal setting involve assessing a situation, gathering information, identifying key issues, anticipating problems, and generating multiple solutions.
Transferable skills are also called Soft Skills. Simon Fraser University, a leader in management education, lists the ten (10) Soft Skills:
There are surveys, activities, and exercises that help identify your transferable skills. An example of a transferable skills survey is the Transferable Skills Scale.
The Transferable Skills Scale is the only researched and validated assessment on the market focused on transferable skills. The Transferable Skills Scale is a short assessment that identifies an individual’s strongest transferable skills. The eight (8) Transferable Skills are:
- Creative skills
The benefits of the Transferable Skills Scale are –
- Complete in 20-25 minutes
- Is easy to use
- Has color-coded design
- Is Self-scoring and self-interpreting
- Can be used as both a career exploration guide and a job search strategy tool
- Includes suggested resources for career exploration as well as a worksheet for comparing possible careers
- Includes job titles from the most recent O*NET database
- Can be given to groups or individuals
The Transferable Skills Scale has 5 sections –
- Mark Your Answers
- Add Your Scores
- Interpret Your Scores
- Identify Occupations that Match Your Skills
- Explore Occupations that Match Your Skills
Binghamton University, State University of New York, Career Development Center, LSG 500, PO Box 6000, Binghamton, New York, 13902-6000, 607-777-2400
Career Center California State University, Chico Chico, CA 95929-0700, (530) 898-5253
Career Center, Student Affairs, Carnegie Mellon University 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Identify Transferable Skills Exercise. Career Development Services, A Division of Undergraduate Studies, Auburn University, 303 Mary Martin Hall, Auburn, Alabama 36849, (334) 844:4744
Identifying Transferable Skills in Career Planning. William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627:0107
Identify Your Transferable Skills. Career Center University of South Carolina H. WILLIAM CLOSE (BA) BLDG., 6th FL. Columbia, SC 29208 o Phone: (803) 777-7280
Job Outlook 2007, What employers want (and you need to have), National Association of Colleges and Employers, 62 Highland Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18017-9085, 800/544-5272
Quintessential Careers, DeLand, FL 32720
Rochester Institute of Technology, Office of Cooperative Education and Career Services, 57 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623, 585.475.2301
Transferable Skills Checklist. Missouri State University, Career Center, Carrington 309, Glass 103, 901 S. National, Springfield, Missouri 65897, 877:836:JOBS
Transferable Skills Exercise. Wisconsin Job Center, 201 E. Washington Avenue, Madison WI 53702
Transferable Skills Guidebook. Simon Fraser University (SFU) BUSINESS, Career Management Centre, 2361, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, V5A 1S6
Transferable Skills Survey. Career Services, University of Minnesota Duluth, 22 Solon Campus Center, 1117 University Drive, Duluth, MN 55812:3000
University of Alabama Career Center, 330 Ferguson, 205:348:5848
USC Career Planning & Placement Center, 3601 Trousdale Parkway, Student Union 110, Los Angeles, CA 90089:4897, (213) 740:9111