Imagine how confident you would feel applying for a job or walking into an interview for which you believe you have all the necessary skills.
Whilst it may be difficult to tick every box for every job with one set of skills – every job has different requirements – there is a package of eight skills that are not only relevant, but fundamental to the vast majority of roles, particularly in business.
If you can develop all of these much sought after transferable skills, you’ve got a compelling argument for the ‘why should we hire you?’ question.
Here are the top transferable skills that make up that ultimate workplace package:
1. Business acumen
Business acumen is about having a good understanding of basic finance, market conditions, who the desired customers are and how you can reach them; it’s about understanding the detail and the bigger picture, the wider issues and being able to see them in relation to your company, department and role. To improve your business acumen read trade and industry magazines: ask people in different departments to talk to you about their role; be interested in every facet of the organisation and get to grips with financial jargon.
2. Problem solving skills
One of the most highly desired skills, the ability to analyse and find solutions to potentially serious business issues is vital to any business. Be proactive and resourceful in dealing with problems; don’t moan about them or sit back and let someone else deal with them. Start by looking at the way you deal with smaller, less complex issues. If necessary work on your positivity, big picture view and brainstorming techniques.
3. Basic IT skills
Excel, Word and PowerPoint pervade the professional working environment and a good knowledge of these tools will make you more efficient at your job. You can brush up your skills with online courses or take on work requiring these tools that’s slightly out of your comfort zone. It’s amazing how quickly you’ll find ways to do things when you have to. You can google any questions you have or find someone else in the office you can ask for help.
4. Presentation skills
Getting your head around PowerPoint is pretty much vital if you’re ever going to be great at presenting, but you also need to work on your ability to simplify complex problems and keep your audience engaged. Work on finding the right balance of imagery and text in your slides and getting your tone of voice and body language just right to explain to, persuade or enlighten your audience.
5. Social and other media skills
You need to keep up to date with social media tools and any new and emerging technologies: it’s essential you know how Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Cloud Computing and data visualization tools etc. work and the etiquette that goes with them. These are the business’s communication lines with clients and customers. If you are unsure, chat to tech-savvy friends, spend time googling the tools and try a few simple online walkthroughs; set up your own accounts, downloads apps and just play with them until you feel more confident.
6. Writing skills
All your written communication should be professional, clear and concise, so as an absolute basic it’s essential that every communication you have with your potential employer reflects this. Look out for grammar and punctuation mistakes and never, ever use text-speak such as GR8, LOL or EVRY1. To develop your writing skills you need to read more: consciously acknowledge different styles and new vocabulary and practise synthesising information from multiple sources and condensing and summarising data.
7. Team skills
You need to be able to work on your own, using your own initiative, but you should also be able to work effectively in a team. Key elements to good teamworking skills are the ability to listen, to share ideas, to praise others, to empathise and to adapt your style of communication for different people. Self-awareness is the key to developing team skills: in team situations acknowledge your strengths in these areas and work on your weaknesses.
8. Leadership skills
It is often said that leaders are born and not made, but leadership skills can be acquired and honed, and all the above skills are very necessary for a successful leader. However, leadership skills are not required simply for those in an official position of leadership: at different times different members of a team may be required to lead other members. This helps to keep the organisation flexible, adaptable, innovative and successful. When you feel confident and knowledgeable in a team situation, take the lead, when you have an idea that you think is good, share it and build on it.
If you’re lacking in a particular area – work on it; if you’re strong in an area, truly acknowledge it and where you can share your skill with others to help them develop – it’s not just about good karma, it’s all part of becoming a great team player and a leader.
Abintegro builds better businesses and institutions by unlocking the career potential of their people. With 5 million activities completed on the Abintegro career development platform in 2016, 500,000 people developed their career skills, resilience and made better career decisions.
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