Transferable Skills that Make Valuable Employees
The skilled trades encompass a wide range of jobs, from construction trades such as electricians, carpenters, and plumbers to industrial trades such as machinists, tool and die makers, and millwrights. There are also service trades, such as dental hygienists, automotive technicians, large equipment mechanics and culinary chefs.
At first glance, many of these careers in the trades don’t have much in common, and it is true that every trade has its own specific set of technical skills and knowledge. But whether you want to advance in your current trade, or change trades to work in a different field, there are some skills that carry over to any job.
These are called “transferable skills,” which are skills and experience gained through school, internships, and jobs that are useful no matter what trade you work in.
Whether you are a roofer, an electrician, or a crane operator, communication skills are one of the most essential transferable skills. While it is important to hone your technical abilities, every successful workplace relies on strong and clear communication between coworkers, clients, and supervisors. You have to be able to both explain a problem and understand the solution, write reports and maintain records, and communicate with many different people each day, all of whom will have different levels of knowledge. Being a strong communicator is a transferable skill that will always serve you well.
Usually going hand in hand with communication skills, having solid listening skills is something that will be useful in any trade. This involves being able to listen to clients and coworkers when they share knowledge or explain a problem, paying close attention when being trained on a new task, and will help you become a more knowledgeable employee.
Another essential transferable skill is knowing how to work well in a team. Every workplace involves working with many diverse people in order to complete tasks and projects. This means cooperating, being considerate and respectful of other people and their ideas, and both doing your part to the best of your ability as well as helping others as needed. Employers want tradespeople with strong teamwork skills because they know these people will make good employees.
This is a vital skill for any job, and one of the primary qualities necessary for people working in the trades who want to advance in their career. For people in the trades, having strong leadership skills means that even if you change the trade you’re working in, you will still make a good team leader, project manager, or supervisor.