July 13, 2023

Assessing Your Skills: How to Identify Transferable Skills for a Career Change

If you’re feeling unfulfilled or simply “stuck” in your current job, you’re not alone. Despite feeling unsatisfied at work, it’s all too common for individuals to stay within their comfort zone instead of exploring new territory. A career change can be daunting!

Many feel like they don’t know the steps to pursue a new industry, especially one that they might view as “too” skilled. Careers in IT and technology, specifically, tend to overwhelm job seekers. However, with the industry booming, new opportunities have emerged, and you might be surprised to learn that you possess a number of skills that tech companies are seeking.

What are Transferable Skills?

Many jobs within the tech sector require a blend of hard and soft skills. While most quickly assume that tech jobs require only hard skills like data analysis and coding, many soft skills are sought after. Soft skills include people skills, time management, and strong listening, among many others. In a 2019 LinkedIn Survey of Talent Professionals, 92% reported that “soft skills matter as much or more than hard skills.”

It’s likely that you’ve accumulated a long list of soft skills in your current or previous jobs. Reflect on the communication and people skills that you’ve developed in those positions, and maybe even in hobbies, volunteer settings, or a sports league. Those skills, along with any applicable hard skills, can be potentially transferred into a new career.

Taking Stock of Your Transferable Skills

Once you start recognizing that you have a lot to offer, it may be less intimidating to make the jump into tech. Here are some guiding questions to help you take inventory of your transferable skills:

  1. What are your current job duties and responsibilities?
    Once you make a list of everything you do at your job, you can review each item and think about the skills required to complete them. For instance, if you were responsible for inventory, you likely possess the skill of strong organization.
  2. What are your strengths?
    In what aspects of your job did you get praise? What duties of your job did you perform really well? In considering your best work, you’ll likely begin to see your strengths and what makes you stand out from everyone else. After you identify those, it will bring clarity as you consider how to leverage those strengths in a new career.
  3. What is your education and training?
    From classes, development sessions, trainings, and certifications, where has your knowledge expanded over the years? How might that knowledge and education be applied to a new career?
  4. What are your hobbies, interests, and passions?
    Whether you’re a musician, athlete, or artist, your personal interests can reveal a great deal about you. Likely, it will show you as a committed individual who has developed some soft skills while pursuing that interest or passion. Which of these soft skills might be applicable to your desired new career path?
  5. How can you use feedback from others to better inform you about your strengths?
    Although you may be modest or unsure where your strengths lie, the people in your life will likely be honest with you and help you gain insight into your strengths. Whether you seek input from a former colleague or a family member, they may give you some fresh ideas on what you offer as a professional.
  6. What jobs are out there that grab my interest?
    Start researching some jobs that sound interesting. What skills and qualifications do they require, and how does that list compare to what you can offer?

By assessing your skills and identifying your transferable skills, you can better position yourself for a successful career change. Ultimately, you want to be willing to step outside your comfort zone, remain open to new opportunities, and be willing to learn new skills as you embark on this exciting journey!

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