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The 7 Most Sought-After Transferable Skills
Before you begin your job search, it’s worth knowing what attributes employers are looking for.
A transferable skill is a valued talent developed from work, personal experience, or education that can be applied in a business environment.
It’s one of the big buzzwords in UK recruitment, and for good reason. By highlighting your best transferable skills, it’s possible to excel into a more senior role, or even change your career path.
In this guide, we’ll list the most popular transferable skills, and show how they can apply to different careers – from retail to nursing.
1. Proactive attitude
What it means: A proactive employee understands their job role and has the forethought to prepare for any eventuality – meaning everything is protected if/when things go awry.
Examples of being proactive at work:
- Making copies of important documents;
- Communicating changes ahead of schedule;
- Inviting all relevant team members to a planning session of a new project.
Why employers want proactive employees: Employers value this skill greatly because proactive employees can save time, improve efficiency, and increase customer satisfaction.
2. Listening skills
What it means: A good listener hears their managers’ instructions and customers’ needs, and processes them accordingly. It means you can take on new information, and do things right the first time you have been instructed.
Examples of listening skills at work:
- Receiving new instructions from management and implementing them correctly;
- Hearing a customer complaint and dealing with them in a caring way.
Why employers value good listeners: One of the biggest complaints that managers have is their staff’s inability to listen effectively. Listening skills will help you to understand and process information, and avoid costly mistakes.
3. Innovative approach
What it means: We often see the words “innovative” and “think outside the box” in job ads. These may sound simple, but they refer to something quite complex: a way of improving your work, your department, and maybe the overall business, in a way that hasn’t been thought of before.
It refers to spotting untapped potential, maybe in a team member, or a market opportunity. Deep down, an employer is asking you to know the business inside-out, as well as the industry it is in.
Examples of being innovative at work:
- Recognising a team member is talented in a certain area and assigning them relevant tasks;
- Steering the business in a new direction due to new legislation or other external factors;
- Improving financial results by making small, low-cost changes.
Why employers value innovative thinkers: Innovative employees may well be worth their weight in gold. They spot new ways to market and sell products, increase a business’ earnings, and reduce its costs.
What it means: An accurate employee will get things right first time. They may spend a little extra time being detail-oriented, but it will usually save time in the long-run.
Examples of being accurate at work:
- Double-checking costs before approving supplier estimates;
- Following sign-off procedures to ensure marketing materials are right before going public;
- Cashing up correctly without any discrepancies.
Why employers value accurate employees: An accurate employee provides a good service on behalf of the business, without making mistakes that may take time, money, and a lot of effort to undo.
5. Results-oriented nature
What it means: To be a results-oriented employee means you understand the business from your manager’s perspective, or even the business owner’s perspective. You want to do well, and support the business doing well too. By thinking like a boss, you’ll prioritise tasks differently, and always go where the money is.
Examples of being results-driven:
- Meeting monthly sales targets;
- Increasing customer orders by improving the UX of the company website;
- Making extra sales to customers at the till.
Why employers value results-oriented employees: If you are someone who works hard to achieve targets, the business will thrive. It does rely on managers setting realistic targets though!
What it means: Put simply, being independent means you can work alone. Many job ads will ask for both a “team player” and someone who is “independent“, which may seem counter-intuitive. In fact, it means they want you to work well on projects by yourself, and liaise well with the team around you.
Examples of being independent at work:
- Being left in charge to lock up at the end of a day;
- Researching for a pitch presentation and preparing the team afterwards;
- Visiting clients to make sales alone.
Why employers value an independent employee: Showing you are independent will reassure an employer that you’ll be comfortable working in all environments, and that you’re confident in your work.
7. Communication skills
What it means: Communication skills cover both verbal and written forms. You will need to show instances when you have communicated something important in a quick and efficient way, and to the right people.
Examples of good communication at work:
- Providing friendly and professional sales patter to a customer;
- Warning a manager of a problem in a quick and diligent manner.
Why employers value good communicators: Employers can rely on good communicators to get their point across accurately, in the right manner, and to the right people. They enable the business to run more smoothly.