Adaptation – Top Transferable Skill in 2020

By Enniio Vita-Finzi

Many people seeking employment feel they cannot meet all the required skills listed in an advertisement. They stop considering it and don’t even apply for the position because they believe that the expertise outlined in the advertisement is set in stone. The reality is that what the potential employer is asking for is only an idealistic outline.

The expression “Transferable skills” means that we all have a range of abilities acquired in previous jobs or activities that could still meet many of the requirements of the new job opportunity.

Management experience

For example, if the job outline states a need for “management skills” and we have never managed staff, we might not apply for fear of rejection. However, in High School or College we may have led (and therefore managed) the winning Debating team, or were elected Class president, or convinced others to join in creating a musical group, or helped to coach a sports team or contributed to, or even edited a newsletter…. any of these activities would have required considerable organisational, managerial and/or relational people-skills. The ability to interact with others successfully can be considered a “management” ability that could be applied to the new job being sought.

Self evaluation

My favourite teacher used to tell us that a positive attitude and the ability to adapt to a new situation were the most valuable skills required for a fulfilling and happy career.

Fortunately during my formative years I was able to subconsciously adjust to new environments and developed a positive attitude to life. Because of my father’s career, by my teenage years I had found a way to fit into new cultures and languages, attending several schools in different countries with acceptable academic results.

Now that I am retired, my past jobs and track record prove my old teacher was right. How else to explain that without a University degree or related experience I have been a successful salesman for a steel manufacturer and a textile company, an event coordinator for a major airline, a senior government trade commissioner abroad, the president of a national organisation, a lecturer at two universities, an entrepreneur and now a published author.

2020 adaptation

While adaptability is a valuable transferable skill when seeking employment, it is also a skill that can help us in our current battle against an unwelcome virus. Many argue that the 2020 health restrictions imposed on society are unacceptable, defiantly mingling with others barefaced, claiming a right to freedom of choice.

And yet, not too long ago when it was proven that wearing a seat-belt in a car saved countless lives, we adapted. When we were shown that smoking was dangerous to our health, we adapted.

Why not rely on the same transferable skill to meet our current challenge?