Transferable Skills Mind Meld
Whether you are destined to graduate this Spring or heading warp speed into the final frontier of your UMBC academic experience, we aim to provide you with what is perhaps one of the most critical job search and graduate school admission concepts. The concept of “transferable skills” is really quite logical when you break it down into simple terms.
Essentially, progressive employers and competitive admissions committees are seeking the brightest, most energetic, versatile, technologically savvy, articulate and passionate candidates to join their organizations and institutions. Moreover, leading edge employers and graduate schools have very specific skills, aptitudes and personal values they are seeking in finalist candidates.
Your mission is to provide concrete examples in cover letters, resumes, essays and interviews of how you:
a. genuinely possess these traits and skills
b. can strategically illustrate how your traits and skills TRANSFER to the specific goals and objectives of each employer or graduate/professional school
Universal Translator of Transferable Traits and Skills
Fortunately, the most important traits and skills are universal across the galaxy and almost all professional fields. Here are the big ones according to career development specialists Randall and Katherine Hansen:
- Human Relations – using interpersonal skills for relating to and helping people, and for resolving conflict
Transferable skill example: As a resident assistant at UMBC you were able to develop rapport and actively listen to your residents while cooperating with other members of your community, sharing credit with fellow RA’s, yet ultimately asserting authority when it was required.
- Communication – the proficient expression, transmission and interpretation of ideas and knowledge
Transferable skill example: As an SGA senator at UMBC you spoke effectively on behalf of your student constituents, facilitating group discussions regarding various areas of concern. Throughout your term of service, you negotiated with and persuaded University administrators by expressing your ideas, providing appropriate feedback, and reporting information on a monthly basis.
- Planning & Research – the search for specific knowledge and the ability to conceptualize future needs and solutions for meeting those needs
Transferable skill example: As a Center for Women in Technology (CWIT) Scholar, you identified problems associated with your mechanical engineering team project, gathered information about possible improvements in design, analyzed additional data, and imagined further alternatives. After setting new goals, forecasting and predicting how the original design could improve, your team was better able to define needs associated with the project – ultimately leading to the development of evaluation strategies required for final submission.
- Organization, Management and Leadership – the ability to supervise, direct and guide individuals and groups in the completion of tasks and fulfillment of goals
Transferable skill example: As the Vice-President of the Pre-Pharmacy Society, you initiated new ideas about the scope and nature of programs for the 2013/14 academic year, handling details associated with securing new guest speakers, coordinating high level task and delegating other responsibilities to other officers. Throughout your tenure, you promoted change, managed conflict, and enjoyed teaching, counseling and coaching all members of the society.
- Work Survival – the day-to-day skills that assist in promoting effective production and work satisfaction
Transferable skill example: As a student Peer Advisor in the Office for Academic & Pre-Professional Advising, you accepted responsibility for helping to enforce policies of the University. Moreover, you enlisted the help of your fellow staff members (peer and professional) in the implementation of programs and delivery of critical services. Finally, you were recognized for being punctual, managing your time effectively, and setting and meeting deadlines, which ultimately helped the office meet and exceed goals and objectives.
So in order to keep your post-graduation plans from falling “Into Darkness” we highly recommend that you take stock of your transferable skills as you develop your career and graduate school plans. Doing so will enable you to live long and prosper.
Just for Fun
The International Star Trek Fan Association, Inc. (sponsors of scholarships!)
EXTRA CREDIT DISCUSSION QUESTION:
What transferable skills have you developed as a student here at UMBC? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.