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Transferable Skills – Everywhere You Go, Your Skills Follow

Transferable Skills – Everywhere You Go, Your Skills Follow

By Renée Cohen
Proposal Manager & Contributing Writer at Quantum

Meeting the basic requirements of a job description does not guarantee that a person will be an ideal fit for a role. As representatives of some of Canada’s top employers, Quantum recruiters know that it is important to have more than just a stellar CV and technical proficiency. Employers are also looking for the added value each individual can bring to the table. A core set of transferrable skills can ultimately be the deciding factor when it comes to which candidate gets the offer.

Transferable skills (AKA portable skills) come from many areas of our lives: from our past jobs, schooling, sports, music lessons, travel, volunteer work, and even our home lives. The possibilities of where and how they can be applied are endless.

Often however, it is only in retrospect that we realize how a previous job, activity, or hobby has imparted skills, attributes, and/or values that we carry with us–maybe even unconsciously.

Some transferable skills are obvious:

  • By participating in team sports, we gain discipline and learn about teamwork.
  • By interning, or temping in an office, we acquire basic office skills.

Others, we take for granted:

  • Babysitting and caring for our own children and/or family members can help build responsibility, organizational skills, effective time management, and empathy.
  • Retail, communications, and even technical skills can be developed from time spent volunteering for charitable organizations.

Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life!

We’re all familiar with that old cliché, and we’ve all heard stories about somebody who transformed their passion for cooking into a successful catering business or someone whose car obsession drove them (no pun intended) to open their own garage. But have you considered how to parlay the transferable skills derived from your own favorite hobbies?

Pursuing interests can steer you in the direction of a job or career you love. And if you love what you do, well… you know the rest.

Temporary Jobs: Building Foundations for your Future

Temp work is a great way to discover where your interests and talents lie. While broadening your skill set, temp work can provide a window into a diverse range of fields ─ and shed light upon roles that are of interest─ as well as those that aren’t. Discovery of the latter is key when you are just entering the workforce and still unsure of your direction.

Sometimes the jobs we initially deemed as being inconsequential turn out to be the most impactful.

When interviewing established professionals for profile pieces, I always ask about early work experiences. Transferable skills and qualities tend to feature prominently in most people’s replies.

One such example came from a doctor whose first job ─ although it had nothing to do with medicine ─ endowed her with the self-confidence essential for her current medical role.

While working as a cashier at a fast-food chain, Christine Morton* was promoted to the position of manager ─ the same week the Grey Cup finals took place in her city. Working near the football stadium meant having to deal with an unusually high volume of customers, in addition to managing a stressed-out team.

That first job gave Christine an unwavering confidence in her own abilities. These days, whenever she’s faced with stressful situations in the hospital, Christine admits that she reminds herself, If I could manage a fast-food chain during Grey Cup weekend, I can do anything!

Ready to put your transferable skills to work? Check out our job listings.

*Not her real name.

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