Recently I commiserated with a friend whose boss, the CEO of a large organization, had charged her with learning to do fundraising. That word alone makes some people cringe, doesn’t it?
My friend protested to the CEO, coming up with every excuse to not accept the assignment. But, she’s an introvert! But, she knows marketing, not fundraising! But she hates asking people for money! But! But! But!
But here’s what the CEO knew that she didn’t: He was giving her the opportunity to build another transferrable skill – one that would benefit her greatly in the future. After all of her squeals of protest, he told her, “Fundraising is about people. You know people and can read them well, which is why you’re in marketing. You have the aptitude for this and, believe it or not, it will boost other parts of your resume, you just can’t see that now.”
In her fear, my friend only saw fundraising as asking strangers for large sums of money. Later she learned it’s really about asking people to help you and offering to help them too. Sound familiar? That’s because we’ve been talking about reading people, making connections and finding ways to help each other already!
Here’s the thing: Having a clear vision of what you want to do is very important (have I mentioned having a plan?) But, you may miss an opportunity because you think you don’t have the skills set. So, think about it, when is the last time you have done a true inventory of your transferrable skills? You know those skills that work across lines-like knowing people, communication, etc. For my friend, fundraising came down to skills she already had, she just needed to be shoved into it. She used her leadership skills, organizational skills, persuasive speaking skills, and ability to read people. And she was very successful at it too!
Are you working from home? Or staying home with kids? That takes a lot of focus, patience and dedication. Those are some very transferable skills! Working as a barista and want to get a job as an account exec? Embrace your skills of organization, customer service, taking direction from multiple people at once, prioritization and communication!
Transferable skills are simply a set of skills and abilities that transcend a specific title or role. A skill that’s valuable in parenting could also be valuable in leading an accounting department or organizing a fundraiser – the skills are common among the jobs. And the bonus is, they are so easy to weave into a conversation! These are your key selling points so pitch them!
So how do you start to recognize and celebrate your skills? First, make a list of your skills. Don’t look strictly at skills and knowledge acquired at work or school – think about classes you’ve taken – even those from the rec center! Have hobbies that require a skill? Of course, you do! Love to knit? That’s patience, problem-solving and planning! Play sports? Right there is teamwork, communication and adaptability! You see where I’m going.
Next, list examples of moments when those skills have really shined. Ideally have more than one example for each skill you have. Finally, match those skills to your plan for what you need or want and how your skills can benefit someone else. Is your plan to land that raise? Or raise enough money for the local animal shelter? What skills do you have that would be assets to those goals?
Now think about those skills you need to hone… What can you do to learn more? Who can help? And before you know it, you’ve launched your plan along with the way you’re going to “sell” it to someone else. Pat yourself on the back because you just made a pretty great way to accomplish your plan!