APPRENTICE star and vice-chairperson of West Ham FC Karren Brady answers all your careers questions.
Today she helps out a woman who's not sure what "transferable skills" are and a concerned mother whose daughter wants to get into acting.
Q: I'VE worked in a general admin role for several years and I’d like to move into a more specialist, challenging industry.
I’ve heard a lot about “transferable skills” and how important they are when going for a new job, but I’m not exactly sure what they are and why they matter – please help!
Beth, via email
A: It is great that you are ready to take the next step in your career!
Transferable skills are talents and abilities that you don’t learn specifically for or from one job, but have picked up during your lifetime. Examples are leadership, time management, good communication, organisation and the ability to prioritise.
You could have gained these skills from previous jobs, but also from your home life and education. They are sometimes referred to as “soft skills”, but there is nothing soft about them – they are incredibly valuable and demonstrate what you can bring to a role, and I can assure you most employers are looking for candidates who have them.
Examples of leadership would be managing a team or project, mentoring people and developing others, or even via hobbies such as team sports. Time management shows you can work to deadlines, finish assignments on time and prioritise what’s important.
Communication is key to any role and examples include how you deal with customers, motivate colleagues and resolve issues, whether at home or at work.
To demonstrate these skills on your CV, you need to give specifics of how you’ve used them in your current role.
Instead of just saying, “I have great communication skills”, say something that proves you have these skills, such as: “Excellent communication skills, demonstrated when I successfully dealt with a major customer issue by meeting with my colleagues, speaking to stakeholders and presenting proposed solutions.” Good luck!
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Q: My daughter has been studying drama and now she really wants to go into acting after she finishes her A levels.
I want to support her in her ambitions, but I’m also realistic about how difficult an industry it is and how tough it is to make a decent living – whereas I worry she has her head in the clouds.
How can I help guide her in her future without stamping all over her dreams?
Chrissie, via email
A: First, it is absolutely fantastic that your daughter has an idea of what she wants to do when she finishes education, as most young people don’t.
The hardest transition we all make in life is leaving education and going into work, so having a focus is really important and is a great place for her to start.
I would do all you can to encourage her, as it’s important that she understands her ambitions and dreams really do matter.
If you love what you do, it will lead to a fulfilling life – so much of our lives is taken up by working, and there is nothing better than being passionate about what you do! While it’s true that acting and entertainment is a tough industry, many people do make it and have fabulous careers.
So help your daughter research the best ways forward when she leaves college, stand by her, pick her up when she gets knocked down and give her the support to follow her dreams.
- Got a careers question you want Karren to answer? Email [email protected]
Compiled by: Claire Frost
Karren can not answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.
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