Transferable Skills Analysis

A transferable skills analysis is simply a thorough list of all of the skills and qualifications that you can offer an employer. Knowing this information about yourself is crucial if you intend to make a career change. In fact, you'd probably be surprised by the jobs you could apply to if you just started thinking about yourself (as realted to your career) as a set of skills that you can offer an employer as opposed to a job title.

Remember, this anaylsis is a brainstorming session. You're not judging any of your skills at this point, you're simply cataloging them. If haven't used them for several years, if they were used personally but never professionally or if they are not your favorite skills, don't omit them from the list.

Also, do not omit anything from your transferable skills analysis because you think it is not important. For example, you may think that being organized is not a big deal, but plenty of people struggle to organize their time, and if that's important to the job you are seeking, then it's a valuable ability.

Remember, you want to end up with the most thorough list possible at this point.

Make a list of the following:

All of your work experience
List every responsibility you held and every competency you demonstrated at each job you held.

All of your education
List all of the skills and knowledge you have demonstrated or developed through education. You may have completed an internship while in school, don't forget to include abilities demonstrated in this setting as well.

All of your volunteer experience
List all of the skills you have demonstrated though your community involvement.

All of your personal interests and hobbies
Again, list all of the competencies you have demonstrated through your personal interests and hobbies.

Those categories typically cover it for most people, but if there is any other area where you've developed and demonstrated transferable skills, (perhaps you were in the military or self employed) brainstorm those as well.

People typically get stuck when brainstorming work related skills for a transferable skills analysis. In fact, it can be surprisingly difficult to sit down and describe the skills you use at work every day. There are several resources you can use to help yourself complete a thorough picture of the abilities you possess as a result of your work experience.

1. Your Job Description
Get a copy of your job description. If it is thorough and well-written, it will include all of your responsiblities and will help to remind you of all of the things you do automatically and all of the skills that you take for granted because you use them every day.

2. Ask a Trusted Colleague
The people you work with often do a better job of describing your strengths than you will yourself. They work closely with you, so they understand what you do every day, and they are less biased than you are. Of course, if you need to be discreet about your career change plans, you'll also need to be very careful about asking colleagues this type of question.

3. O*Net and NOC
O*Net is an American listing of hundreds of job titles, and the NOC is the Canadian equivalent. Both can be accessed for free online, and both provide excellent information about job descriptions. I would suggest reviewing your job title in both resources. Simply look up your job title on each site, read the job descriptions, ask yourself if you completed those tasks or demonstrated those skills at work, and if you did, and them to your transferable skills analysis.

Search O*Net
Type your job title into the space at the top right beside "Occupation Quick Search" and choose the most appropriate option from the search results.
Search the NOC
Type your job title into the space at the top left under "Quick Search" and choose the most appropriate option from the search results.

If you live outside of Canada or the U.S., these tools can still be useful to you when completing a transferable skills analysis. If it is reasonable to assume your job duties would be similar in a different country (which will be true for many, but not all jobs), then it is reasonable to look at these resources for information about typical job duties to brainstorm for your transferable skills analysis. One caveat for those outside of Canada and the U.S.: While it's often resonable to use these resources to brainstorm your abilities if you live in a different country, they are not reliable sources for labour market information and required qualifications in different countries.

For example, if you were a business systems analyst who worked in the U.S. and you wanted to continue to work in the U.S., it would be perfectly reasonable for you to use O*Net to brainstorm your exisiting abilities, to determine the projected employment outlook (that is, whether there will be jobs in this field in the future), to assess the required education and qualifications to work in the field, and to determine average wages for someone in this field. It's fair to assume that all of this information on O*Net is accurate for the U.S.

However, if you were a business systems analyst who worked outside of the U.S. and you wanted to continue to work outside of the U.S., it would be reasonable to use O*Net to brainstrom for a transferable skills analysis. It would not be reasonable to use O*Net to determine the projected employment outlook for your country, to assess the required education and qualifications to work as a business systems analyst in your country, or to determine average wages for someone in this field outside of the U.S.

International labor market information is beyond the scope of O*Net. There's too much variation from country to country on these factors to rely on information that is not local.

To search for a similar tool for countries other than Canada and the U.S., use a search engine and search for labor (or labour, depending on where your live) market information and the name of your country or job descriptions and the name of your country.

4. Career Cruising
Career Cruising can also be accessed online, but if it neither free nor is it inexpensive. Career Cruising can be used to research detailed information about a wide variety of jobs in Canada and the United States.

Many libraries and employment resource centres have subscriptions to Career Cruising (or similar career software). Simply contact your local library or employment resource center if you'd like to use this resource to help as you brainstorm for your transferable skills analysis.

Understanding your skills may sound simple enough, but it's really surprising how many people don't fully understand all of the competencies they can offer an employer. Typically people either under-value their skills, or if they've been doing a job for a long time, things come so naturally to them, they aren't aware of all of the skills they use on a day to day basis.

Take some time to complete a thorough transferable skills analysis. Understand all of the skills you can offer an employer and begin to think of yourself in terms of your skills and not just your job title, and you will likely open up a world of career options that you had not considered in the past.

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