Know the true value of your skills

By Mick O’Connor, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers Athlone

Mick O’Connor
Mick O’Connor, Tel: 090 64 03003

Last year I had a conversation with a job-seeker while presenting at a careers fair. He made a

comment that prompted a conversation I hope was ultimately of benefit to him. He stated that “my CV really isn’t that good because the only thing I’ve ever done was manage a pub for the last 20 years”.

He genuinely felt that this was the only career path he could follow and was worried that the economic pressures faced by the pub trade meant he might never get a similar job again. This led to a conversation where we discussed and analysed the power of transferrable skills.

I began to ask him questions such as:

“Would I be right in saying that you managed the pub on behalf of the owner”?

He answered “yes”.

I asked “would it be fair to say that the owner wasn’t there a lot of the time and you managed the business day to day”?

He answered “yes”.

I asked “would I be correct in saying that you handled all the ordering, stock rotation, stock taking, and associated financial transactions”?

He answered “yes”.

I asked “did you handle all the staffing issues including recruitment, training, rostering, disciplinary issues and so on”?

He answered “yes”.

I asked “were you in charge of hygiene management for the premises”?

He answered “yes”.

Finally, I asked “were you in charge of every aspect of health and safety management for your staff and customers”?

And again he answered “yes”.

This brief conversation led me to the belief that this man was selling himself short by thinking he could only ever work in or manage a pub. What we had actually identified was a skill set which equipped him for numerous career opportunities. Essentially, he had all the skills necessary to run a small business but just hadn’t realised that.

This is the power of transferrable skills. We shouldn’t pigeon hole ourselves into thinking that we are only suitable for one thing.

Always look at your entire skill set and begin to tell yourself that the skills and experience you have gained to date can more than likely be used just as effectively in a new environment. Most skills can transfer across different work environments and what you should be doing as a job-seeker is constantly thinking about how your pervious skills and experience can be utilised and matched to the requirements of the new career you wish to start.

Problem solving, planning, team development, management and supervision, motivation, training, and communication are just some of the skills which we will acquire during our careers and can easily be transferred to a new environment.

I’m not sure which career this man ultimately ended up in but I’m convinced he went away feeling that he had more to offer a potential employer than he had originally thought.

So let’s stop selling ourselves short and begin to value what we have done before by convincing new employers that we can do it again, just in a different setting.

Best of luck, Mick O’Connor.

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Mick O’Connor is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers and works out of Athlone. You can read more about him, and make a booking HERE for CV Preparation and Interview Training.

More articles from his blog can be accessed HERE