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To be successful in the workplace, employees have to possess transferable skills. Knowing about these skills will help teens and adults prepare to be successful in the workplace. Transferable skills are a product of our talents, traits and knowledge. These skills determine how you respond to new activities, work situations or jobs.

Transferable skills are non-job specific skills that you have acquired during any activity or life experiences. Student activities and experiences include campus and community activities, class projects, and assignments, hobbies, athletic activities, internships and summer part-time jobs.

Transferable skills skills fall into three (3) groups: Working with people, working with things, and working with data/information. These terms are defined below:

  • Working with people skills happen when people sell, train, advise, and negotiate.
  • Working with things skills occur when people repair, operate machinery, sketch, survey, or troubleshoot.
  • Working with data/information skills involve budgeting, researching, and analyzing.

The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) is a model for transferable skills resources and web sites. In 1990, a commission of schools, government, unions, and corporations developed five SCAN competencies and three SCAN foundation skills. The five (5) Competencies are: Resources, information, interpersonal, systems, and technology.

The meanings of the competencies are:

  • Resources competencies describe the allocation of time, money, material resources, facility resources, and human resources.
  • Information competencies involve acquiring, evaluating, organizing, maintaining, interpreting, communicating and processing information.
  • Interpersonal competencies include team participation, teaching, customer services, leadership, negotiation, and cultural diversity.
  • Systems competencies work with understanding systems, performance monitoring, and systems designs.
  • Technology competencies involve the selection, application, maintenance, and troubleshooting of technology.

Besides competencies, there are three (3) Foundation Skills: Basic, thinking, and personal qualities. The terms are explained below.

  • Basic skills involve reading, writing, arithmetic, mathematics, listening, and speaking.
  • Thinking skills include creative thinking, decision making, problem solving, seeing things in the mind’s eye, knowing how to learn, and reasoning.
  • Personal qualities are responsibility, self esteem, sociability, self-management, and integrity/honesty.

Universities and professional organizations, such as California State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Quintessential Careers, and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) agree these transferable skills are important. These organizations have created transferable skills surveys, exercises, and web sites.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) is a professional association connects more than 5,200 college career services professionals at nearly 2,000 college and universities nationwide, and more than 3,000 HR/staffing professionals focused on college relations and recruiting. NACE has compiled the twenty (20) top personal qualities/skills that employers requested the most:

  1. Analytical skills
  2. Communication Skills
  3. Computer skills
  4. Creativity
  5. Detail-oriented
  6. Entrepreneurial skills/risk-taker
  7. Flexibility/adaptability
  8. Friendly/outgoing personality
  9. Honesty/integrity
  10. Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)
  11. Leadership and management skills
  12. Motivation/initiative
  13. Organizational and time management skills
  14. Real Life Experiences
  15. Self-confidence
  16. Strong work ethic
  17. Tactfulness
  18. Teamwork skills (works well with others)
  19. Technical Skills
  20. Well-mannered/polite

Communication skills are the most popular skills listed on the web sites. Communication deals with speaking effectively, writing concisely, listening attentively, and other abilities that result in the expression, transmission and interpretation of knowledge and ideas. Communication skills help you communicate what you know. Examples of communication skills include:

  • Collaborating
  • Forecasting
  • Negotiating
  • Projecting
  • Publicized
  • Selling ideas, products or services
  • Speaking
  • Translating
  • Writing

Communication skills are involved in the other skills, such as organizational management, human relations, program administration, research & planning. Organization, management, leadership, and human relations skills are the ability to supervise, direct and guide individuals and groups in the completion of tasks and fulfillment of goals. Organization, management, leadership, and human relations skills consist of:

  • Making decisions
  • Assuming and delegating responsibility
  • Organizing people and tasks
  • Negotiating agreements

Management and administrative skills organize and coordinate people, projects and events. As a manager, you handle multiple tasks, set priorities, and adapt to changing conditions and work assignments. As leaders, you use skills to motivate individuals and groups to assess, perform, set goals, evaluate, and follow through situations effectively.

Managers and leaders use human relations skills. Human relations, interpersonal, or people skills develop rapport, negotiate, and help people overcome their differences.

In addition to human relations skills, managers and leaders need planning and reasoning skills. Program administration, research and planning skills are essential when you gather information, analyze data, present ideas, and generate solutions.

Analyzing, planning, and reasoning skills are used in the field of research. Research skills help you search for specific knowledge, determine future needs, investigate and record findings, find answers, and evaluate strategies.

Besides planning and reasoning skills, problem solving and creativity activities involve the ability to find solutions to problems using experiences, information, and available resources. Problem solving and goal setting involve assessing a situation, gathering information, identifying key issues, anticipating problems, and generating multiple solutions.

Transferable skills are also called Soft Skills. Simon Fraser University, a leader in management education, lists the ten (10) Soft Skills:

  1. Adaptability
  2. Communication
  3. Dedication
  4. Dependability
  5. Energy
  6. Flexibility
  7. Hard-working
  8. Honesty
  9. Integrity
  10. Leadership

There are surveys, activities, and exercises that help identify your transferable skills. Two Transferable Skills resources are –

  • Binghamton University, State University of New York, Career Development Center
  • Career Center California State University, Chico Chico, CA

An example of a transferable skills survey is the Transferable Skills Scale.

Transferable Skills Scale

Transferable Skills Scale
The Transferable Skills (TS) Scale is a researched and validated assessment. The TS Scale is a short assessment that identifies an individual’s strongest transferable skills. The eight (8) TS Skills are:

  • Analytical
  • Numerical
  • Interpersonal
  • Organizational
  • Physical
  • Informational
  • Communicative
  • Creative skills

The benefits of the TS Scale are –

  • Complete in 20-25 minutes
  • Is easy to use
  • Has color-coded design
  • Is Self-scoring and self-interpreting
  • Can be used as both a career exploration guide and a job search strategy tool
  • Includes suggested resources for career exploration as well as a worksheet for comparing possible careers
  • Includes job titles from the most recent O*NET database
  • Can be given to groups or individuals

The TS Scale has 5 sections –

  1. Mark Your Answers
  2. Add Your Scores
  3. Interpret Your Scores
  4. Identify Occupations that Match Your Skills
  5. Explore Occupations that Match Your Skills

Reference material for the The TS Scale lists the relationship between Transferable Skills and Holland Codes –

Holland Career Model Areas

Holland Codes

Holland Code Letters

Transferable Skills

Things

Realistic

R

5. Physical

Ideas and things

Investigative

I

1. Analytical

People and ideas

Artistic

A

8. Creative

People

Social

S

3. Interpersonal
7. Communicative

People and data

Enterprising

E

4. Organizational

Things and data

Conventional

C

2. Numerical
6. Informational

Read about more Transferable Skills tests, web sites, and resources…..

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