Transferable Skills – Your Secret Weapon

By Zarelsie Van Der Merwe on Oct 30,2016

Building Networks & Relationships, CV & Resumes, Job Hunting, LinkedIn Strategies

We don’t look for jobs every day and this job finding business and adding transferable skills to an immigrant’s CV, is maybe something that most of you have done once, twice or MAYBE three times in their lives and some of you might not ever have done a CV before, and therefore not heard about transferable or technical skills.

Yet, you are required to put your transferable and technical skills on your strategic immigrant’s CV or unique immigrant’s LinkedIn profile when you apply for a job.

What are the differences between transferable skills and technical skills and how to use it effectively on your CV as an immigrant job seeker?

I get this question regularly from the clients that I help write CVs for or help develop LinkedIn profiles for and who are looking for jobs as immigrant job seekers.

So, let’s start with looking at the definitions and differences of each, starting with Transferable Skills.

Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are general skills you can use in many jobs. You gain these skills from previous jobs, projects, voluntary work, sport, your home life, hobbies, and interests. They enable you to be adaptable and flexible in case you need to change your job.

Looking at that definition of Transferable Skills, it tells us a few things:

• You can use it in many jobs. Irrespective of the field of interest industry or job, it can be used virtually anywhere, and in any country where humans reside!  You can even repurpose your existing transferable skills to change career!

• It is gained from, not only jobs or work but also life in general, from hobbies, sport and home life.

That means, that even if you change countries, and even if you change jobs, industries or fields of interest, you can use these skills that you have gained to do another job in another country.

Because these skills are gained throughout your life and your own individual experiences, it is a unique skill set to YOU, no one else has quite the same transferable skills set.

Because of your life span, you have many, many transferable skills, but some of those are your STRONGEST transferable skills.

So, now that we know how transferable skills are gained, let’s look at some examples:

• Negotiating – you have been negotiation with parents, siblings, teachers and co-workers throughout your life, and have gained the skills of negotiation. BUT, if you were in a job for year, where intense negotiating skills were required for the job, for example, a lawyer, a union representative, an HR Advisor or Employee Relations Advisor, etcetera, then you will have not only gained negotiation as a skill, you will have practiced it to perfection and it is not one of your STRONGEST transferable skills.

• Another one – Relationship Building – you have been building relationships since you were born. Same as negotiating. But, if your job required that you build relationships with clients and customers or stakeholders for your business or clients, for example, a personal banker, a sales representative or business development manager, then relationship building is one of your STRONGEST transferable skills

You can use negotiating and relationship building in any job, whether you are a union negotiator or an electrical site supervisor supervising a team or an HR Manager or bank teller or drain layer. In some of those jobs, those skills will just be preferred to be your strongest and others not. But if you changed jobs from a union representative to a buyer for clothing merchant, your negotiating skills will still be required to be one you need to have.

Can you see how you have gained the skill over years, but in a job had to use it on a daily basis and that would have become your strongest transferable skill.

How To Find and Use Transferable Skills

Now, how to you find and list your transferable skills.

First, write down a list of the ones you think you have gained throughout life. Then, write down the ones you have used in your job every day and that you have become good at. If you’re stuck, look at your job description and previous job descriptions, they are listed there as things that are required from a person doing your job, you are doing that job, so you must have been good at those skills to get hired! And then narrow them down to the 4-6 transferable skills which are your best, the ones you get praise for or have won accolades for.

And those are your strongest transferable skills – they will go on your strategic immigrant’s CV.

Right, that is taken care of transferable skills, so now what are technical skills. Let’s look at the definition of technical skills.

Technical Skills

Well, in short, it is just that, some technical skills which you can only learn doing a certain task or a certain group of tasks, which make up a job, for example, an arborist needs to be able to work with a chainsaw. Using a chainsaw is his best technical skill, so is driving for a truck driver, or using SAP Financial Accounting for an accountant or any other specific software package for someone in an office job. They are the skills you gain from using certain tools or performing certain technical tasks in a job.

That’s easy to find out which technical skills you have. What can you work with, what tool, or software or computer program or piece of equipment have you become familiar and good with – that’s your technical skill.

It is also listed on your job description because you would have been hired for it.

That’s the difference between transferable and technical skills.

Transferable skills are often referred to as soft skills and are gained throughout life and can be used in any job and become your strongest when you have had years of practice of it in certain jobs.

Technical skills are skills gained from using specific tools and equipment.

You need a list of each of those, which are your strongest, to put on your strategic immigrant’s CV, and it does not matter whether you have gained that skills in India or Africa or England or Malaysia, you can still you that in your new country, even if you change jobs or field of interest.

Make sure you are clear on your transferable and technical skills and use them correctly on your strategic immigrant’s CV to get to the front of that job queue.

If you have a hard time creating your own strategic immigrant’s CV, we can teach you how to do it:

Or we can create one FOR you:

But, here’s an even better option – join our free webinar here, and learn more about the strategic immigrant’s CV …and you might even get one free 😉

Until next time.


2 thoughts on “Transferable Skills – Your Secret Weapon”

  1. Great web site you have here.. It’s difficult to find excellent writing like
    yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate people like you!
    Take care!!

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