‘Transferable skills’ are skills developed through experience, which can be used in the workplace. Describe two transferable skills a student will acquire at university and evaluate their importance to a future employer. Justify your answer with reference to relevant literature. The definition of ‘skill’ can be described as ‘the ability to do something from one’s knowledge and experience’. Benjamin Franklin once stated that “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. Without knowledge one limits their skill ability for full potential which is why the experiences that a university student has is so essential for their future prospects of employment. As claimed by The United States Department of Labour (2011) having a bachelor’s degree will earn you more than the average medium weekly income at $782, whilst those with lower levels of education are kept below this weekly average. Transferable skills are crucial for success in the competitive market place that we are in now. These are the skills that are applicable from job to job and to a variety of work settings.
In business and management courses, skills are divided into two categories; the first category is Soft Skills which are skills that are people oriented; the second category is Hard Skills which are skills that are technical in nature. According to Carl Gilleard (2006) “employers are likely to be looking to graduates who can demonstrate softer skills”, therefore, the combination of communication skills and teamwork skills are emphasized among employers as basic skills for everyone in this competitive job market. Communication skills are important in the business sphere.
These skills include; writing skills, speech skills, listening skills and non-verbal skills. Be it an interview or dealing with the project leader or working out a solution with a team or writing a report, getting across the point effectively is what matters. Communication is a key factor, without it, no-one would know what you are requesting, requiring, or thinking. Good communication passes information along; If a student can communicate effectively, others will understand you much better without being misunderstood. In business, this can prevent mistakes from being made by people who thought you said something else.
Communication helps you what you need as you are more likely to convince others to agree with you in a persuasive setting. Individual problems which act as a barrier for effective communication for a student could be that some students write well however they aren’t able to express themselves orally; some speak fluently, but cannot write without grammatical errors, or perhaps some face problems with their body language and use inappropriate with others; some find it difficult to maintain eye contact. Body language is a very important aspect of communication.
When communicating to colleges or clients, one needs to be aware of the body position. For example, having your arms crossed could imply that you are being defensive or keeping your hands in your pockets illustrate nerves and could lead other employees to question if you have something to hide. Although the example given is very specific, students learn from universities the appropriate etiquette. With guidance from the university, students can improve their confidence around others and increase stability to engage in the business environment.
This is due to the opportunities, such as societies that are provided from the student union and general socializing. Knowledge, confidence and delivery are the fundamental elements of an effective speaker; one has to improve self-confidence and try to eliminate fear of public speaking in order to get the message across easily. By demonstrating importance to the subject and modulating your tone as per topic, others can understand you well and can be persuaded. When persuading, it is not just by logic but also by emotions.
Regardless whether verbal or non verbal communication is being used, feelings and emotions can act as a communication barrier. As said by Daniel Goleman (1995), “If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far”. Listening skills are one of the important parts of communication processes.
Empathic listening is a structured listening and questioning technique, which help develop and enhance relationships through a stronger understanding of what is being conveyed both intellectually and emotionally, for example; Team aspirations can be met only by proper listening. This gives a chance to think of better ideas both at individual and team levels. In addition to communication, working in teams at university will help students enhance their communication skills by sharing their ideas and knowledge with others and will prepare to work with others.
Teamwork is important in business because it helps achieve goals. It increases individual learning; when team members work together as a team, they can learn the skills and capabilities of each other and progress their knowledge. Moreover, the ability to work in a team and resolve any conflicts, in order to resolve business conflicts the knowledge and understanding of all the group members can be used efficiently for determining solutions to the problems. The business can also think of incorporating ideas suggested by the team members.
Another very good advantage of teamwork in business is that a person is able to specialize in one specific field. Students can optimize the quality of the work that they do, and can also work with their maximum possible efficiency. This ensures a high quality output from all individuals and the whole team. At university, students can understand the importance of teamwork; therefore students realize that it is very important for business to work as a group of people with one motive and goal rather than a group of people with different motives.
Bergstrom (2011) believes that “teamwork separates good firms from bad”; when employees help others out, there is a spirit of unity that makes the company proud. When it comes to team spirit, there needs to be motivation, and therefore the team leader can encourage other team members to success rather than pushing the team. At universities there are many students from around the world; therefore students will understand cultural issues within team work. A student will experience cultural differences between others and therefore can be an advantage when working in groups at a company.
For some students who are not used to working in teams, they will be trained to communicate with everyone in the team, adopt a ‘no-blame’ culture, agree and move on, celebrate success and help each other. Since working as part of a team can improve learning, universities have planned out tasks and guidance in seminar groups and therefore the professor can create team exercises which can be a valuable learning experience. Besides knowing how to develop group ideas, students also need to know their roles so that they are productive and can complete their task successfully Group members are able to give and receive feedback about ideas.
Giving constructive feedback involves focusing on ideas, instead of and offering suggestions for improvement. Students will acquire how to plan and manage a task and how to manage their time. For example, they make sure that goals are set, that a plan is constructed and followed, and that everyone has an opportunity to participate. Without teamwork, goals won’t be achieved, problems won’t be solved hence the importance of team working. Employers are looking for graduates who can quickly adapt to companies and can give value to the company.
Not only do students learn transferable skills but also must know how to describe their transferable skill for everyone. The notion of transferable skills is critical when applying for jobs. It is a technique that all students should apprehend and improve throughout their years of studying business and management at university. Communication skills are important in every aspect of business. The information must be clear and accurate. One must be able to explain company policies to customers as they will not understand technical terms within a company.
Teamwork is also important because it can speed up processes and make things run more efficiently. Throughout the years at university, students will have good networking skills which allow you to be more aware and will give you access to information that will evidentially allow you to perform your role more effectively. Being able to demonstrate your transferable skills will increase your chances to get a job and will help you to perform better on the job once you get it.