Why transferrable skills can go further than you think

Skills Apr 01, 2020

You’ve probably heard the term 'transferable skills’ - but what does it actually mean? And which skills are most transferrable? How do you even measure transferability?!

Sometimes called ‘portable skills’, transferable skills are skills or qualities that you take with you from one job to another.

While they’re considered to be applicable across many different roles, occupations and careers, there are often two challenges people face when trying to assess their own transferable skills: it’s hard to see how widely they really can be applied (we don’t know what we don’t know); and some are so broad that dozens or even hundreds of roles will demand them.

We think about these challenges a lot here at Fondo - after all, we believe the world of work is an ecosystem of industries, careers, jobs, and projects that are all connected by skills. We also believe being versatile and adaptable is key to being successful in the future of work.

One way we’ve been helping people explore skills in new ways is through the Fondo Filter. This nifty little feature lets you explore jobs in the Fondo ecosystem via particular industries, as well as seeing the jobs that are Hot, Green, Ahead of the Curve, or poised for future growth.

The Fondo Filter in action

The part of the filter that’s perhaps most valuable is the ability to see jobs filtered by skill.

Rather than using our full skill inventory (you can check out the full skill inventory here), the filter uses our 18 core skill clusters to categorize jobs. We’ve found this throws up more interesting results; diving into too-specific skills - i.e. ‘.Net server development’ or ‘sketching using fine-liner pens’ - would give a user too-specific results.

While being too specific can be useful for pin-pointing particular paths or steps, using the clusters helps a user zoom out and see interesting areas of crossover between industries, jobs and disciplines that they probably wouldn’t normally think are connected.

In upcoming posts we’ll cover a few different skill clusters and how we think they can help you think about transferring skills into interesting places; in this post we’re going to get into the ‘Facilitation’ skill cluster.

Skill Cluster: Facilitation

Facilitation is the art and science of guiding groups of people towards goals and outcomes in ways that enable them to collaborate, innovate, and excel. It’s been most commonly seen in roles that touch training & development, consulting, and teaching.

Not many traditional taxonomies include facilitation in their core list of skills, but we believe facilitation skills are going to be increasingly important in the future of work. If you look at LinkedIn’s list of the most valuable soft skills, facilitation features in nearly all of them!

Some of the Fondo jobs that benefit from facilitation skills include:

Music Therapist

Music therapy is an established health care intervention method. The Certification Board for Music Therapists defines music therapy as:

'the specialized use of music by a credentialed professional who develops individualized treatment and supportive interventions for people of all ages and ability levels to address their social, communication, emotional, physical, cognitive, sensory, and spiritual needs.’

Music therapists assess emotional well-being, physical health, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses; and design music sessions for individuals and groups based on client needs.

Music Therapists use a variety of one-on-one and group facilitation skills to help the people they work with learn new concepts, improve communication abilities, and build confidence.

Professional Sports Scout

Sports scouts identify and recruit athletes to sports teams. They're usually employed by a professional sports team, but may also work for a professional sports agency or a college or university.

They're out in the field to look for the best players and help their organization fill spaces on their rosters. Scouts are a key part of any sports team's development - particularly when it comes to long-term investment into young talent.

Scouts don't just evaluate athletes' physical skills - they look at attitude, resilience, and other factors that could determine how well an athlete could fare with the team.

Scouts facilitate conversations with athletes, coaches, parents and other stakeholders. They also facilitate environments like training sessions, or even help an athlete to relocate when moving to a new team or location.

Parole Officer

Parole officers supervise parolees and try to ensure that they're able to reintegrate back into society and adjust to their new lives.

Their work often starts before an inmate is released; a parole officer will develop a post-release plan covering areas such as accommodation, finding work, and reconnecting with friends and family.

Parole officers' ultimate goals are to reintegrate their parolees into society, keep them out of prison, reduce crime rates, and help keep citizens safe.

Parole officers use facilitation skills to help their parolees overcome challenges, integrate into society at a pace that’s right for them, and to conduct sometimes challenging conversations with a parolees’ friends and family.

Harbor Master

Harbormasters are responsible for the operation of port and harbor facilities. They ensure the safety of navigation, the security of the harbor, coordinate responses to emergencies, inspect vessels and oversee pilotage services.

Historically all harbormasters were naval officers; today they can also be civilians, but must have some seafaring knowledge and experience through the merchant or armed navy.

A harbor master may use facilitation skills in a number of ways; for example, they’re responsible for ships navigating smoothly and safely through port, and carefully managing the varying agendas each stakeholder may have requires deft facilitation.

Facilitation also comes into play when responding to emergencies; a harbor master needs to communicate clearly, know when it’s the right time to lead or take a step back, and to create the necessary space for emergency services to act quickly and decisively.

Next steps

While these roles look very different on the surface, they’re not as far apart as many people think. The facilitation skill cluster is hugely valuable across industries as varied as education, sports, politics, and shipping and transportation.

Of course, this is just a starting point - once you’ve started to make some new connections you’ll probably want to dive into more specific skills you may want to develop for a role, learn more about how a role fits into an industry, or connect with an established professional working in that area.

The next time you hear about transferrable skills, don’t just look at the move that’s one across or one up - perhaps you can take your skill set and apply it to a job or industry you’d never considered before.