Many people have the misconception that due to their academic background, and work experience, they are pigeon-holed in their careers.
That there is no option but to press on in a mundane position, with no sign of change, or advancement.
What many may not realize is that the education, skills, and experiences acquired over the course of our career, to this point, are far more valuable, and adaptable to a multitude of occupational settings. With some, low risk, strategic career planning, and targeted training, those skills can be repurposed to help redirect your career path, and set yourself apart from your peers. This in turn can make you far more marketable to hiring managers.
Let me give you an example…
I am a perfect example of someone who had been educated, and employed in a very specialized occupation for many years, before taking an entirely new direction, and reinventing my career.
I began my career journey in the aviation industry as an aircraft avionics engineer (A&P in the US). I worked exclusively in this industry for many years, and gained extremely valuable experience, before moving into a role in quality. It was during this time, while performing audits, and assessments of many diverse organizations, and internal departments, that I came to understand that my skill set was far more adaptable than I had previously realized.
This realization brought about huge change in the way I viewed the trajectory of my professional future. It was the catalyst that sparked my motivation to explore beyond my familiar environment, and allowed me the freedom to challenge myself, and take on corporate roles in engineering, and construction management.
Making the transition…
How was I able to make the transition and reinvent my career?
Armed with the awareness that my skill set could be adapted to any industry or position, I complemented the those skills, and experiences I had amassed during my years as an AME, with information gathered through online research, strategically selected independent course work, and networking with people outside of my circle of professional contacts.
Directly targeting the skill set required for a career in quality management (While my focus is primarily on quality management, this strategy could be utilized for any number of career interests, or industry sectors). By doing so, I was able to break the industry barriers, effectively position myself in my new discipline, and become more appealing, and visible to my target hiring managers.
I have come to realize that the skills we perceive as far too industry specific to be useful in any other career path, are much more valuable, and transferable than ever believed possible.
Let me get specific for a moment…
One of my main roles as an AME was troubleshooting. Taking large complex aircraft electrical systems, breaking them down into manageable subsystems, and identifying a single faulty circuit, or software malfunction.
Sounds very job specific right?
Is this not the role of a quality professional when performing procedural audits on a companies quality management system(QMS)? Assessing the organizations overall processes, and breaking them down into individual procedures, or work instructions. Working with process stakeholders – the people who own the process and procedures and use them on a regular bases – and pinpointing the exact step at which improvements are required, fixing a specific problem area, or promoting continuous improvement.
This is a skill that can be adapted to practically any situation. If you have an analytical mind, and are capable of segmenting, and interpreting a situation, arriving at the root cause of a problem, you have a very desirable skill set. This skill can be utilized in a technical, corporate or any number of professional applications.
10 Transferable Skills You Already Have…
I have put together a list of 10 highly transferable skills, some or all of which, you likely have acquired in your career so far. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I encourage you to evaluate your own experiences, expertise, and education to develop your own list.
- Communication Skills
- Teamwork Skills
- Computer/software based Skills
- Administrative Skills
- Time/Project Management Skills
- Listening Skills
- Problem-Solving Skills
- Creativity Skills
- Organizational Skills
- Leadership Skills.
Once you recognize that you already possess these extremely valuable, but many times overlooked, skill sets, you can then repurpose those skills or adapt them to fit your any occupational endeavor.
What are Your Transferable Skills?
Give some thought to each of the above skills, and how they relate to your own career. How can you adapt your specific skill set to a new role or career path? I think you will be very surprised at just how marketable you really are.
Would you like to learn more about systems that will help you advance your career from someone who has spent countless hours researching and implementing these strategies? Just provide your name and email address on my website, and you’ll get access to my private email list, including strategies and tactics I won’t share anywhere else. Plus receive my free guide to “5 Little Known but Massively Valuable Career Benefits of Quality Management”.