Transferable skills are abilities and expertises that you can use in different situations or roles. As a PhD student, a post doc or a researcher, you use many skills that are very attractive in the industry. At the same time, you may have developed an attitude, a mind-set and working habits that might not fit well in industry.
By identifying transferable skills, you will help yourself identify job areas that you will find interesting as well as good matches with your interests. You will also understand what motivates and demotivates you. Overall, you will get a better understanding of what type of job you should start looking for.
Common transferable skills in academics include: pedagogical skills, presentation, innovation, writing, problem solving, analytical thinking, coordination, big picture thinking, organization, summarizing information, writing, etc. By reflecting over your various work experiences and your own work habits, you will better define and understand what you want, be able to write a clearer CV and produce your own elevator pitch. If you want to get your dream job, the key is to start working on your transferable skills.
Example: Stina thought it was fun to attend conferences, present her research at seminars and got energy out of teaching. She finds it easy to learn new methods and she has worked with several different instruments, techniques, and methods during her PhD. By identifying her transferable skills, Stina came across the job tile: Application Scientist – a job where Stina meets customers, travels, and teaches different methods and techniques. In this way, Stina successfully transformed her academic experience into a job that suits her in industry.
What did you enjoy doing during your PhD or your research? What motivated you and what demotivated you? It’s time to start reflecting!
- What is a transferable skill?
- Why is it important to know your transferable skills?
- Strategy to identify your transferable skills
- How to match your transferable skills to industry jobs
- How to address your transferable skills on your LinkedIn Profile to increase attention