Transferrable Skills

Understanding How Your Customers Skills Will Transfer

When dealing with a variety of customers coming from all different industries, it is hard to have a complete understanding of what each IT position a new client is seeking would require.  In order to provide guidance to that customer, it is important to understand what they did in their previous job versus what an IT employer is looking for them to do in that new role.  By understanding these two factors you can help that customer pinpoint their transferrable skills and what areas they would need to improve in order to secure that new position. Additionally, Burning Glass’s Focus Suite tools and Opportunities for Chicago’s IT Landscape slide deck will help immeasurably in identifying transferrable skills.  These resources can be found here.


Here is a link to O*Net Online, which is a portal developed in partnership by the American Job Center Network and the Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration.  The O*Net database is constantly surveying a broad range of workers to provide content used to explore information about all occupations. O*Net can also be used to understand transferrable skills between one job and the next by reviewing key sections within the Summary Report for past job and a future position titles.  Here are some key areas to review:

  • Sample of reported job titles
    • It is important to review these titles because it may give suggestions when helping a customer think about their previous role in a different way.  If they are looking for work, it may also provide a way to search for open opportunities using different keyword titles to the same role.
  • Tasks
    • To help understand what a customer did in their last position, reviewing the tasks section can provide an idea about responsibilities they may have had in their role, which can lead to more probing questions during your assessment.  This can be useful in pulling out transferrable skills for their future position, as well as helping to define their previous role on a resume.  This works well for a customer who has held the same role for a long time and struggles to describe what they did in their job.
  • Tools and technology
    • This area can help pinpoint hardware and software the customer might have used that can be similar to (or a stepping stone into) what they would be using in a future IT position.  Once again, this can also help them to better develop their resume towards that future IT position by using these transferrable skills.  An example of this would be a sales associate using a Point of Sale (POS) Machine on a daily basis.  From that skill, you can decipher transferrable skills such as troubleshooting hardware, ability to utilize functions to get specific outcomes, and understanding and fixing connectivity issues to maintain proper reporting, and customer service skills.  These transferrable skills would be beneficial in a customer support help desk role in IT.
  • Skills section and abilities section
    • These two areas can help you to discuss your clients’ soft skills that might be transferrable between their previous job and their future position.  This is a good way to make sure that they also incorporate these soft skills in their resume or cover letter as well as prepare for their future interview.

Careers, Wages, and Trends

To utilize this tool, hover over “Explore Careers” in the top left corner of Illinois workNet’s home page, then select “Careers, Wages and Trends”. Once redirected, scroll down and select Information Technology from the Explore Career Pathways section.

Select the title of the position to be explored.

The three tabs across the top lead to more information for this position. Here is a breakdown of the key areas to review on these pages:

  • Job Demand & Wages - This tab has 4 areas to review: 
    1. Overview: Gives a quick breakdown of the position and what to expect on a daily basis. It also gives a quick review of experience, education and reported median salary earnings. 
    2. Employment Outlook: Gives a breakdown of what type of employers hire this type of worker as well as what to expect for future growth in this type of position in Illinois vs. the US.
    3. Wages & Trends: Provides a look at entry level, median and high experienced wage expectations by county in Illinois.
    4. Resources:  Used to review where this information was generated.
  • Skills and Training - This tab has 5 areas to review:
    1. Interests:  This section can be used to see if this type of work would be a good fit based on interests. 
    2. Knowledge:  This area gives knowledge on basic skills needed in this position.
    3. Licensing & Certification: This is used to see if certifications will be needed for employment.
    4. Skills & Abilities:  This section can be used to list transferrable skills. Keywords/skills listed here that are similar to previous experiences in any variation should be reflected in a current resume.
    5. Training Programs:  Gives sample titles of training programs applicable for this type of work. There is also an accessible link that leads to the Illinois workNet tool used to search for training providers/programs.
  • Find Jobs & Information - This tab has 7 areas to review. 
    • These are all geared towards seeking a position in this field.

Related Resources