by Rachel Vilsack
Understanding your skills is an important part of the job search process. Many skills, like time management, critical thinking, and problem-solving, demonstrate how we approach – and do – our work. We call these transferable skills because they stay with us as we move to a different job or new career. If you are in job transition, you may be looking for opportunities in a different industry or occupation than you’ve previously worked. No jobs are exactly alike, but many jobs require common skills. And these might be skills you already possess.
If I asked you to write a list of 20 jobs that use the same types of skills, knowledge, and abilities as your current or previous occupation, could you do it? Like me, you could probably come up with a list of your skills. But unless you know all the skills that are used in every other occupation, this task becomes difficult.
Here’s an example. As a market research analyst, I use mathematics daily on my job. Other occupations, like cashiers, accountants, and physicists also use math. But the levels of math skills used by each of these occupations differ. While mathematical knowledge is transferable, I may not have the level of math skills needed to work as an accountant or a physicist.
So, what occupations are good matches to your skill levels? A new web tool – www.MySkillsMyFuture.org – can help you identify the occupations that use similar skill levels given your previous experience.
The tool is easy to use. Just enter your current or previous job title, and view a list of 20 career matches. For each occupation listed, you can compare your skills and knowledge, salaries, levels of training, licensing, and certification requirements. Some jobs that are a good career match may require additional training or certification, so local training opportunities are included.
Finally – and one of the greatest features of MySkillsMyFuture – you get a list of job openings for each career match. You can sort the jobs by city or ZIP code to find local openings and start using the strengths of your transferable skills now.
When I entered market research analyst, the tool matched my skills to a survey researcher, public relations specialist, financial analyst, librarian, marketing manger, and more. I was surprised that many of my career matches were jobs that I’d never considered before. I didn’t know my skills were related to those jobs!
Keep in mind that there are a lot of ways to describe job titles, so you may not find an exact match. Instead, think generally. You might not find a match for “Director of First Impressions” but you will for a receptionist or information clerk.
Try the web tool out. Whether you are actively searching for a job or just interested in exploring your options, you might be surprised at what you find.
Rachel Vilsack (Rachel.Vilsack@state.mn.us) is a regional labor market analyst at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.