5 Transferable Skills You Probably Didn’t Know You Had
Transferable skills are gained through professional and personal life experiences. And chances are, you might not even realise that you have them. Are you looking for a career in the charity sector? Do you feel like you don’t have the skills required? You might want to rethink!
Transferable skills are vital to all sectors, including the charity sector, which means you can gain them in nearly any job and any industry—it’s just about knowing how to make it clear why these skills are important in your application. So don’t shy away from including them on your CV. They demonstrate that you’re adaptable and that you could be a potential asset to the organisation.
What are transferable skills?
In short, transferable skills are a general set of qualities which aren’t job-specific as they can be transferred from one profession to another. They aren’t just gained through on the job experience either.
You can develop them from life experiences too. Just think about all the things you learn when you travel or volunteer. And what about the hobbies you have—how do they shape your skillset? Perhaps you play for a football team which enables you to develop team working skills or you have your own blog which gives you communication skills. This all builds you into a more effective employee.
Why are transferable skills important?
Success is no longer defined by just having ‘good grades’ which is why transferable skills are so important. They’re general and can be used across different areas and departments of an organisation.
Including these skills in your CV can be the difference between landing a job in the charity sector or facing job search rejection. Not sure which ones you have? Here are five that you probably didn’t know you had:
Communication is the key to success in many organisations and it’s no different for charities. You’ll need to be clear and able to adapt a sincere tone of voice. Whether you’re working at a charity shop, creating marketing strategies for persuading donors—communication plays a vital role, especially when you’re dealing with vulnerable people.
CV example: ‘During my previous roles in business, I had to communicate effectively with suppliers to ensure deliveries were made when required. This was important in making sure we had the correct amount of stock. I was also responsible for communicating directly with customers, which illustrated my versatility in communication.’
If you don’t have any prior work experience, you can use examples from education, for example:
‘During my time in education, I developed excellent communication skills, both written and verbal. I worked on projects which required me to present in a clear and precise manner, often communicating complicated data and information in an easy-to-digest way.’
Don't miss another post, sign up to our weekly newsletter
2. Enthusiasm and dedication
Enthusiasm and dedication are vital in the charity sector—probably more so than most other sectors because you need to exhibit a clear connection to the organisation. Hiring managers want to see that you’re passionate about your chosen charity and want to help the cause. And the more passionate you are, the better the culture fit will be because it’s likely that everyone who works there is just as dedicated to the organisation,
CV example: ‘I have participated in over fifteen fundraising events for [name of cause] over the last five years. Last year, I did a sponsored run for X charity and raised £XXX. This demonstrates that I am passionate about the charity and share their values. I want to help the cause in any way possible, even if I’m not being paid to do so.’
3. Organisational skills
From meeting deadlines to following set processes, organisation skills are crucial in charity work—small charities especially as you may be asked to take on the responsibilities of several different roles. You’ll often be working under pressure to do things like organise the shop floor or manage external communications that inform sponsors of what your charity is up to.
If you’re not organised, things can fall apart quite quickly, and the charity may not have the resources to help you sort it out. So make this skill crystal clear from the get-go.
CV example: ‘During my current job, I use my organisational skills to manage my workload and ensure that I am working effectively with the rest of my team. To do this, I create daily to-do lists that prioritise tasks and monitor the time spent on each project to ensure I am on track. This is important for me to do so all tasks are completed to a high standard and on time.’
Employees in the charity sector need to work together to raise funds and make a difference in their community. That’s why a diverse workforce is essential to achieving the charity’s purpose.
Every person brings different skills to the table, but when they come together to apply individual perspectives it leads to innovation and creative problem-solving. Charities need to attract volunteers, donators and trustees, and employees need to work together to adapt to new government policies and overcome challenges like limited resources. So the more of a team-player you are, the more attractive your application will be.
CV example: ‘At university, I was part of the student union. We had to work together to plan fundraisers and communicate the needs of the students back to the university. This helped me understand the importance of learning from failures and why teamwork is important. At times, I wanted to take control and do things myself, but I learned to be patient and consider all perspectives and ideas in order to find the best solution.’
5. Interpersonal skills
Interpersonal skills are how we interact with others. From having the confidence to deal with a challenging situation to having a strong work ethic and being able to build solid relationships with colleagues and potential donors.
Working in the charity sector means you’ll need a positive attitude, empathy and the emotional intelligence to engage with customers and donors. That’s why honing your interpersonal skills really is essential.
CV example: ‘In my previous role in hospitality, I built authentic and lasting relationships with customers and ensured they had an enjoyable experience so they would return to the restaurant on a regular basis. This involved making sure I was approachable at all times and attentive when taking orders, dealing effectively with any issues.’
Think of transferable skills as your unique selling point. Identifying skills like teamwork, communication and organisational skills will set the foundations for you to land your dream job in the charity sector.
Feel like you tick the box of the skills above? If so, then you have transferable skills. Apply these to your previous professional and life experiences and you’ll be able to nail your charity sector job application.
Sharon Walpole is Director of Careermap, an online jobs board with a difference. They tell stories to bring vacancies to life for young people and their influencers. Careermap is committed to providing quality up-to-date information about careers and qualifications to help navigate through careers of the future.