Soft Skills can Transfer Across Jobs

Editor's Comments: I think it is great that soft skills are finally being recognized as highly valuable to organizations. For too long jobs have zeroed in on specific skills without looking at the big picture. In my own experience transferrable skills have allowed me to change industries without missing a beat.

'Human,' or soft, skills are able to transfer across jobs and industries.

By: Jarin Schmidt | June 2, 2021 • 5 min read

Many industries have started hiring again, creating job opportunities for workers displaced by COVID-19. As a result, a lot of people are looking outside their old fields and venturing into new industries. For example, workers might want to make the leap from project management in construction to project management at a software company, believing they possess the core skills for the role.

In some cases, companies are evaluating their existing workforce to see how they can deploy talent in new ways, filling gaps without slogging through the entire hiring process. Finding areas where generalists with a wide range of knowledge and specialists, those with very specific talents, will both work best can move new and existing employees into different roles.

To help surface the best talent, organizations are now actively reassessing the outdated proxies they once used to rely on to narrow talent pools and make human capital decisions, like college degrees or years of experience in the field. Instead, many are turning to a new way to re-evaluate candidates with a fresh perspective is to look for those with transferable skills.

What are Transferable Skills?

Every role requires some combination of skills. What defines transferable skills is their ability to be used across multiple job functions, and even across seemingly disparate industries. Some transferable skills are technical competencies, while others—like leadership, curiosity, grit and time management—would be classified as human skills or, more commonly, soft skills. Transferable skills have been trending for a while, but the pandemic accelerated the demand for them. Transferable skills will be essential in both the hiring process and employee engagement strategies from now on.

Generalists in any field have a wide range of skills, making them excellent candidates for jobs covering a lot of different work. In the hospitality field, for example, a generalist would have experience with computers, sales and likely some conflict resolution; any or all of these skills transfer well to different customer service roles. Specialists, on the other hand, are experts in a particular area of work. Though lacking some of the broader skills a generalist has, specialists can still transfer their expertise into new fields through online courses, digital credentials and hands-on experience.

Read the entire article here: Why soft skills will be essential |

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