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Transferable skills go a long way

By Heather McAllister
MyCareer

In the past few years I have had several job changes — not because I am unstable but because each move has taken me closer to my "best fit". Interestingly, I have not actually applied for these jobs, but have been "shoulder tapped". Why is this?

Partly because I work for a large organisation, which encompasses a wide range of roles, but mostly because I have a set of transferable skills that give me the flexibility to be very employable. I have also gained the trust of those with whom I work because I have a good track record of successes.

So am I superwoman? No! I've just been around long enough to know what is "gold" for employers. It's very simple. I am reliable — when I am required to fulfil a task, I approach it methodically and see it through to the expected outcome.

I am punctual — when I have meetings and appointments, I arrive on time and am prepared.

I think about how to improve processes and policies to streamline work and make suggestions to my bosses that will benefit outcomes.

I am honest and trustworthy. I network with colleagues and build good relationships with key people around this organisation. I know how to communicate in a positive way and am careful about how I word emails so there is no room for offence. I know how to listen and actually hear what people are saying to me — most of the time!

I am always willing to gain knowledge and learn more about the specific skills required for the role.

I could go on, but the point is that anyone can do this — I have just learnt that these skills are invaluable to employers.

There are no magic formulas, just what amounts to common sense. In fact, it's so simple, people don't always believe that these skills are the key to successful employment. But they are. No matter what job you aspire to or what your career goals are, these skills underpin everything. When you add the specific knowledge of your chosen field of study or vocation, you have a winning combination. And the great thing is, you can start developing these skills now.

Heather McAllister is a philosophical counsellor specialising in life-direction guidance for teenagers and adults. She is the author of the new book Who You Are Is What You Do (Wilkins Farago, $29.99).

Published: 29 September 2012


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