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Talking Transferable Skills with CILIP North East

Cilip north eastIt's always good to get out and about, and I was very pleased to be invited to Newcastle on 27th February to lead a workshop for CILIP North East on transferable skills.

"Redundant, Refurbish and Recyle", our session at Northumbria University, started with the various methods for assessing our skills, whether through detailed personality tests such as Myers Briggs, or more prosaic skills audit exercises.

Having identified a wide portfolio of transferable skills, the group discussed which of these might be most applicable in either private or public sectors. It was of little surprise that we discovered that all employers, regardless of sector, are looking for a combination of the the following top ten skills: verbal communication, teamwork, commercial awareness (or business focus), analysing & investigating, initiative/self-motivation, drive, written communication, planning & organising, flexibility and time management. Certainly there are cultural differences between different employers, but these are often as much related to their size and the nature of their leadership as to their area of work.

We went on to consider how employers expect to see job hunters' credentials presented, taking into account not only the format and content of CVs and application forms, but where else evidence of our careers and experience might be researched (social media etc). A lively discussion ensued around the relative merits of some sample CVs, when a skills-based or career-based format is most appropriate, and how much or little detail to provide on different aspects of our skills and experience.

We concluded by underlining the importance of thorough research and preparation during any job application, and the importance of being explicit about the value of transferable skills to a potential employer. It is vital not only to research the organisation and show that you understand the language that they use, but also to lay out for them the connection between your experience and their needs.

Thank you to CILIP North East for the excellent organisation of the afternoon, and thank you to all the participants for contributing to such an enjoyable event.

– Donald Lickley

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