After school or college getting into the labour market is a challenging prospect and that’s without the rapid advances in technology ,minefield of jargon and attitudes that are discriminatory.
Alright – Let’s have a look at that jargon! What exactly are transferable skills? Basically, they are things you can do in one part of your life which can be used somewhere else.
Let’s have a look at an example. As a student, your assignment where they done on time? If your work was late were you able to set up extensions? Did you learn how to use most computer programmes effectively and type quickly? Did you manage to juggle school work, a part-time job as well as your social life?
If your answer was yes to some of the above or all of them, you have showed an extensive range of skills, such as good communication skills, negotiating and effective time management. Well, you may not give them such splendid titles, but you would call them exactly that if you were filling in a job application form.
From the moment you were born you’ve been picking up skills.You take most of your skills for granted and that is the problem. That’s one thing that we need to change! So get a paper and pen, get yourself a cup of tea and let’s begin.
Choose any role you’ve had in your life.
If you are a graduate, you have spent a large part of your life as a student and so we’ll use that in our example. Think of the the skills you developed in your student days or school.
What have you come up with?
As a student you had no chance of surviving – and not so much of a chance passing your exams – if you couldn’t communicate the skills and knowledge that you are at university or college to learn.
This information how did you communicate it? By giving talks or presentations, writing essays, answering questions, delivering a lesson to other students, writing a thesis? You may have interviewed members of the public after creating questionnaires, written articles for a college newsletter or offline or online publication. You’ll have summarised information from books and lectures as well as taken notes. From each subject you studied think about and write a list of the methods of communication you used, both written and oral then write examples of each.
You will have been exposed to group work of some kind as a student – I’m a teacher and i know. You may have had to research a subject for a written assignment, to make a group presentation, or perhaps with classmates you were involved in a community project or produced a class newsletter. If in your spare time you have played any team sports, you definitely know what it takes to work as a member of a team.
Ability to work alone and on your own initiative
In college most of the work you did was not group work, but work you had to do alone and you definitely had to motivate yourself to do it. So, at getting all the work done on time how good were you? You may not have loved it, but if it had to be done, you just had to do it whether you liked it or not. Did you come up with ways in which to make recalling information easier? How did you use your own initiative? Did you come up with innovative ideas to make your work interesting and different? Did you manage finding a job which suited you and enabled you to study? Was the job able to solve some of your financial problems?
Ability to meet deadlines
You definitely had a few deadlines in your student days. Did you meet the deadlines? You may have learned the hard way, staying up all night at the last minute, but a number of people manage to get things in on time. But if you did not, negotiating an alternative solution to this how well did you do it?
At the very least, as a student you may have used, email, word processing packages and the Internet. Your college might have provided free tuition in these and maybe in other programmes like Excel and Powerpoint. You may also have learnt other skills when you were at school or in your own time, such as programming and web design. Include all these to your list.
If you went to university you definitely did some form of research for your thesis, assignments or dissertation. Jot down the methods you used – specialist libraries, internet, journals, using questionnaires, interviewing, doing case studies.
Teamwork, communication skills, ability to use your own initiative and work on your own, ability to meet deadlines, research and IT skills are all high on employers’ lists of important attributes in a graduate employee. Your responsibility is to give examples which prove that you have these skills. So, using the information in this article, make a list of your own specific examples. They will help you stand out both at the interview and on paper.
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