Faculty News

Using Transferable Skills

Michigan Minds season 3 episode 45

In this episode of Michigan Minds, Center for the Education of Women+ social worker Courtney Reid discusses how she helps members of the U-M community identify meaningful goals and utilize transferable skills to refine educational and professional pursuits.

“One of my favorite questions, actually, to ask participants in our appointments is, ‘In the future when you’re looking back, what’s the story you want to be able to tell about this point in your journey?’ And then following up inquiring about how I can support them in this moment so they can make it to that point where they can tell the story that they’d like to tell,” she says. 

Transferable skills are exactly what they sound like, says Reid: skills that can be transferred from one setting to another. These skills can come from former employment, volunteer work, coursework, extracurricular activities, and more. 

“Transferable skills are important because they help us conceptualize that common thread in what we’ve done in the past, what we’re doing currently in the present, and what we hope to do in the future,” she says, adding that they can be useful in launching a career search when someone isn’t quite sure what they want to do. She recommends asking oneself: “What’s in your arsenal and what needs development?”

Reid explores how relevant this is during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many are navigating transitions for a variety of reasons.

“Regardless of the reason, being able to speak to the skills that your experiences have equipped you with and how they’ll help you be successful in the next step is an important skill in and of itself,” Reid says.

She encourages everyone to think about their transferable skills and give kudos to oneself when credit is due. Whether individuals are seeking an academic or career change, seeking a promotion, or just looking to expand their skillset—there are myriad resources available from CEW+ on their website to help provide support and a reflective space for this topic and more. 

Learn more in this episode of Michigan Minds