Secrets of Success   ̶   Transitional Skills  

What are Transitional Skills

Transitional Skills are skills that are acquired through the successful application of knowledge over time that can be easily applied to a new work environment. As such they could be one of the most essential of the four Secrets of Success - particularly when you’re forced to look outside you current organization for that next promotion.

If at some time you find yourself unexpectedly unemployed you will rely heavily on your Transitional skills to safely land in a new position. For example, during a lengthy recession, you will find that your education and employment experience may not be sufficient to land a new job in a heavily competitive environment. Also you may have to look for employment in areas outside of your comfort zone, where you have little or no experience. You will find in these cases that you're competing with large numbers of candidates; some of whom will have greater direct experience. However, if you are able to demonstrate how the skills you developed in your former position can be transitioned your new employer, your chances of success within the recruitment process will be improved greatly. You will also rely on your transitional skills when you are proactively seeking a new position with greater responsibilities and compensation.

Identify Your Transitional Skills
Identifying your transitional skills will require some thought and may take some time initially. First, consider the generic qualities that you possess, perhaps qualities or skills that others comment on. Your friends may frequently comment on your punctuality or your ability to organize a group of people or an event. You may have been unemployed for some time but if you have managed to keep a structure to your day, then this shows a definite degree of self motivation. These are all examples of transitional skills that employers are happy to find in a potential employee.  Second, identify the technical skills that you possess. These may initially seem to be very job specific from a previous role but if you analyze the actual skills used you may find these are transitional skills that could be applied to a completely different role.

Document Transitional Skills and Experience
Often when we are totally engrossed doing our current job we neglect to adequately document our successes including those skills that made us successful.   For many years I have personally documented my accomplishments every few months using a simple, concise structure. I call this system SARs which is an acronym for:
Situation. Action Taken, Result, (SAR). Over the years II have encouraged each of my direct reports to document their accomplishments using this simple format.  You should take the time to document your successes at least once per month. And at least once per year you should get your supervisor to sign off on each of your accomplishments. Don't fall into the trap that leads you to believe that nothing you did this month was worthy of documenting. Think hard - reflect on everything and write at least one SAR per month.  You will be surprised that what you think is insignificant is seen as impressive to an interview panel. Also don't put this off. If you wait too long you will forget what you did a few months ago or overlook the significant details that will be needed to discuss your accomplishments at a job-interview panel. Select the Buttons below to see some real life examples of how I documented my Accomplishments as a Director at Seneca College and as the Vice President Finance at Cambrian College.

Another important characteristic  that employers often look for is whether or not you've demonstrated a "Continuous Pursuit of Knowledge" or commitment to "Life-Long Learning. As you  may have noticed when reviewing my background I've truly been a life long learn. I've attended a total of seven education institutions and earned three degrees in the process. More importantly I earned my last degree in 2004 at the age of 55. In addition to attending formal education institutions throughout my life I've also pursued knowledge through self-study. Although you won't get a certificate at the end of your studies, knowledge obtained through self study will be an important element to your success.
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