In my last article, I wrote about the steps that you need to take to become employable for life, rather than, employed for life. One of the steps listed out the activities that you would need to perform to build or grow your skill-set. This article will provide more detail on how you can do that, specifically transferable skills. 

I previously wrote about defining your unique selling proposition (USP). Thinking about this, how many of the skills you identified were specific to your existing or previous roles? How many skills were transferable? That is, which skills could you easily utilise when changing jobs, role, or even careers. It is these transferable skills you should be focusing on. This is very important, because these skills give you the power to choose your direction of travel, and make the value that you can offer, more appealing. 

You may well have also highlighted some gaps. This is good because it provides you with an understanding of where you need to focus your attention. Because your USP is, well, unique, so will your gaps be. You need to decide which gaps you think are important to fill and which are not. While some of these might relate to the functional aspects of your existing or desired role, others will be more generic. Here are the top skills you should focus on.

  • Developing a growth mindset. This can sometimes be a challenge because it is easier to stick with things you know, rather than challenging yourself to learn new things. Be conscious of this and actively seek out new activities that will challenge you. What else is important when developing a growth mindset? Thinking about failures as opportunities to grow. Actively seeking feedback. Understanding that you can learn anything you want to learn. Also, understanding the more effort you put in, the greater the rewards will be. 
  • Building resilience is a key skill. Not only will this allow you to deal with setbacks, but it will allow you to build on those setbacks. This goes hand-in-hand with having a growth mindset. The sorts of things you will need to focus on here are problem-solving skills, learning to set goals and track progress against them, learning from mistakes, dealing with challenges, building self-esteem, and being an optimistic thinker. 
  • Being solution-oriented. This means working with the end goal in mind and using your critical thinking skills to plan your way and overcome any challenges you might face. Rather than just doing tasks, question why you are doing that task? Is it helping you achieve that end goal? No? Then don’t do it. When working to an end goal or trying to overcome a challenge, you also need to be able to sometimes step back from the detail and understand the broader picture, rather than just churning. 
  • Networking. This is the key to growth. It is a well-known fact that many jobs are not advertised but rather found via networking. Networking is also important as it helps you surround yourself with new ideas, skills that you aspire to, and thought leadership. It also helps get your brand out there. You’ll recall that personal branding was covered in my last article. Networking shouldn’t only be considered as a tool to help you, you should be using it as a platform to help others. Networking will also help grow your confidence.
  • Leading yourself. This is probably the most important skill to develop because without being able to lead yourself, it will be difficult to develop these other skills. In summary, the means being able to set goals, define a clear path to achieve those goals, and manage your way to hitting those goals. This means that first, you need to understand yourself. You will need to be disciplined and not easily distracted, especially by shiny new objects. Have you ever sat down to write a document or presentation and obsessed over the document template for an hour? Then you’ll know what I mean! You will need to be accountable, not necessarily to others, but to yourself. Improving your emotional intelligence and mindfulness are good building blocks too.

This article has covered a lot and the best way to get started is using the outputs from “Take stock of your current situation” that was covered in my last article and use this to start building your development plan.

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