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Transferable Skills: How to Identify and Talk About Them

“What you are bringing to the table is a whole cocktail of crystallised intelligence, emotional intelligence, wisdom, maturity and your particular experience and skills”

Our new Return to Work webinar series kicked off with Zena Everett, leadership coach and author of ‘Mind Flip’, who presented a practical, action-based webinar on Transferable Skills.

Here are some of the top tips we took away:

  • Don’t worry about what you haven’t got. Build on what you have.
  • A good starting point to help you figure out your transferable skills (and the context in which you can best use them) is to reflect on a few times when you felt happy and fulfilled at work in the past:
    • What were you doing?
    • Which elements did you particularly enjoy?
    • What skills were you demonstrating?
    • Who were you working with? What was the organisational context?

Reflect on the different activities you’ve been involved in during your career break too. This will help you to build up a picture of the skills you developed both before and during your break. Talking these examples through with a friend can help you to identify skills you may take for granted.

  • Proactively look for opportunities to accumulate more skills and experience, to make you more confident about what you can bring to an employer. To build your technical skills, either more generally or focused on the areas you’re interested in, check out free online courses (see Women Returners Resource Signposts).
  • Explore your network to access potential opportunities and practice talking about the value you can bring to a role. Think about everybody you could reach out to – your family, friends, parents at the school gates, former colleagues, neighbours. If they’re working in an area you’re interested in, explore if you could get some work experience to refresh your skills.
  • Be specific about the skills you can bring to each potential employer. Do your research and identify a particular challenge they might have.  Consider how you could use your skills and experience to help them to solve their problems.
  • Aim for ‘Action, not Perfection’. Keep moving forwards, and take small steps to build your skills  – as well as your experience, confidence and contacts – as you look to bring your transferable skills to your next role!

Do make sure you’re a member of our Women Returners Professional Network to be able to access future sessions of our free monthly Return to Work Webinar Series.