The Importance of Transferable Skills

Written By: Audrey Graser

Ah, spring: Time for the start of a new semester, cold temperatures, and starting to think about summer plans: internships, part-time jobs, careers, oh my!

But not to worry, the things you’re doing right now could be the key to helping you lock down those summer plans. If you’re a member of a club or organization, part of a sports club or team, working on campus, volunteering in your community, serving in a leadership capacity, or getting involved in any other way, you’re already halfway there. That involvement on campus is your golden ticket to the summer plans of your dream.

On-campus involvement is a great way to build skills. Take a second to think critically about what you’re actually doing in your campus involvement. Many times, you’ll be surprised by the amount of transferable skills you’ve gained. Transferable skills are skills that you’re learning in one area of your life that can be translated to the workplace, and they often include things like teamwork, public speaking, and written and oral communication. As you review your involvement, consider the following questions:

  • Are you building your people-skills by engaging in teamwork?
  • Do you hold a position or did you organize a large event or project in a way that would demonstrate leadership?
  • Are you learning new technical skills such as financial management, computer skills, event planning experience, project management, fundraising, and more?

Really think critically about what you are doing beyond just the obvious here. It’s easy to downplay what you’re actually doing and say something like “attended events and meetings”, but what were you learning and doing during those events? Ideally you were learning and practicing soft skills and contributing to the success of the organization. If not, get out there and make the most of your experience!

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