Transferable skills

We hear it in the news daily – another high street retailer in trouble and at risk of going into administration.  BHS and Toys ‘R’ Us have gone the way of the dodo with potentially more to follow, or at the very least the closing of many more stores nationwide.  One major reason for this, as you will probably know, is the dramatic increase in online shopping.  Consumers are more likely to click a few buttons than travel to the shops, through convenience as much as anything, and if other high street retailers want to survive they will need to restrategise.

A major side effect of these closures is that many people will lose their jobs, some of whom will have been in the retail industry for the whole of their careers.  Being made redundant is a daunting enough prospect, but add to that the anxiety of not believing you have the skill set to secure a job in an evolving sector, then it is easy to understand why these individuals have extra concerns.  This is when it is important to reflect on your working life and the transferable skills you can take into a new role and/or industry.  Sometimes you just cannot see the wood for the trees; you don’t fully appreciate all of your attributes and how they could add value in a new working environment.

Here are some transferable skills that most of us of a certain age have acquired (this list is by no means exhaustive):

Teamwork – unless you have worked your whole career in a stand-alone role with absolutely no human interaction you will have had to work with and rely on others to help you achieve a common goal.

Leadership – this is one people don’t realise they are doing a lot of the time.  It can come in many different forms – everything from direct instructions to a colleague to leading by example and setting a benchmark.

Problem-solving – day to day working life is a problem-solving exercise.  How do I word an email so I don’t come across as overly assertive?  How can I meet the deadline set by my boss when I don’t have the necessary tools at my disposal to do so? etc

Data analysis – there’s never been more data at our fingertips.  We are constantly analysing and filtering data based on our interests or the requirements of our job.

Communication – effective communication in most jobs is an absolute must and you will have had to adapt your level of communication based on your audience.

Time management – how you structure your day and prioritise tasks is a staple of most if not all jobs.

Work ethic – this goes without saying really.  Whatever your profession a solid work ethic is a must.

Business strategy – with experience comes the knowledge of what works for your business and where new avenues need to be explored.

As recruiters we don’t have all of the answers, or a secret recipe for success, but it is worth noting that most of the team at OX Seven were not in recruitment before we joined the business.  We come from a varied working background, but what we share is a transferable skill set that adds value.  So hopefully those in the retail sector who’s future looks uncertain, as well as other job seekers, can take solace in the fact that their skills can be utilised across a whole host of different roles – it’s just about knowing how to apply them.

Adam Williams

Technical & Engineering Consultant

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