Job Search Expert’s Tip of the Month – January

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5 Must-Have Transferable Skills for Entry-Level Job Seekers

Transferable skills have always been important during the job hunt, but I believe their importance has increased 10-fold since this recession began. For those who don’t know, transferable skills are exactly what they sound like — skills that are not job-specific but rather can be transferred and applied to most jobs.

If you’re a recent grad still looking to secure an entry-level position, here are five important transferable skills to acquire in the meantime:

1. Business writing. The ability to write well and professionally — from memos to reports to e-mails – is useful at just about any job.
2. Second language. This is something I sorely wish I had. Lucky for you, Livemocha is a free alternative to the popular Rosetta Stone. I definitely recommend you check it out!
3. Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel and other Office applications. Believe it or not, you’re going to be entering a workforce that wasn’t raised with Microsoft Office. So, having a strong knowledge of these programs can quickly make you a go-to person when it comes to charts, reports and presentations — which isn’t a bad thing! Didn’t learn Microsoft Office in college or high school? No problem — there are plenty of tutorials online.
4. Customer/client relations. Businesses that don’t make their customers/clients happy won’t make money. So, maybe that part-time job you held at a customer service desk throughout college was worth it after all!
5. Problem solving. Managers would far rather you came to them with solutions than problems. The ability to recognize a problem and then come up with one or more possible solutions to present to your boss is extremely valuable — and could save the organization money.

(A hat tip to Scot Herrick for this blog post about using transferable skills during your job search.)

What other transferable skills do you feel are incredibly important in today’s job market?

~ Heather Huhman, Job Search Expert, Campus Calm

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