Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are gathered techniques and areas of expertise that can be applied to many different tasks/jobs/aspects of study. The development of these skills is what allows us to find work in areas other than our specialist subject, and cover any requirements demanded of us by our chosen subject of study. For example; the ability to handle a computer well using programs such as Microsoft Office and emailing applications is essential for almost all computer-based work, from a student studying their GCSEs, to the highest paid lawyer, whereas skills with a football are only really useful for one profession.

Throughout my studies so far, many of my transferable skills have been tested and have required further development. This post is to outline some of them, show how they have been used, and identify how I plan to increase their effectiveness for my future endeavours.

PowerPoint

Presentations using programs like Microsoft PowerPoint are a great way of delivering information, in a student’s case for showing our tutors the work we have done towards the completion of our tasks. I preparation for the presentations I have done so far in my course, I came across a few tips [1,2,3] on their delivery and organisation, such as:

  • Only having a few sentences at most on each slide, bullet points that simply underline the points you’re trying to make. Knowing the information you’re delivering well enough to use these small, on-screen prompts shows confidence in your own research, and in turn helps keep the attention and confidence of your audience.
  • Try to slow down your speech; talking fast during a presentation is a sign of both inexperience and nervousness, both of which can cause your audience to lose faith in you as, essentially, a lecturer.
  • Try and avoid simply delivering facts in a monotonous voice, being mildly humorous and being more enthusiastic shows belief in your subject and confidence.
  • Do a real-time run through of your presentation. If you have a time-limit you need to make sure you can get through everything you need to in the time provided. This also reduces how ‘on the spot’ you feel during your presentation.

Since looking into these techniques and others, I have done two presentations through my course, and have felt much more confident and prepared whilst doing so, and I plan to continue to build my skills in this area by continued research into presentation techniques.

Blogging techniques

This blog is the required form of submission for this module of my studies, so I researched ‘good blogging etiquette’ to help make it as successful as possible. Some of the tips I found [4,5] include;

  • Hyperlinks – by using hyperlinks to other posts or web pages you mention within your post, you can help the reader navigate your blog and also to find the information you are outsourcing faster.
  • Pronounced headings – a prominent title to your post helps readers find exactly what they are looking for, and subheadings help them to jump straight to their desired subject area, preventing them from getting bored.
  • Tags – creating search tags for your blog is essential, for instance: if you write a blog post on Critical Thinking and add tags for both ‘Critical’ and ‘thinking’, then anyone searching for media on this subject can find your post easier.

These techniques may seem specialist rather than transferable, but understanding the way blogs work and how they are organised will help me to find information I need for future study, as lots of professionals use blogs which can be cited within my own written work, making this knowledge transferable to any task requiring online research.

Writing techniques

Essential for students and professionals alike is the ability to write concisely and legibly. It seems like a fairly simple skill, but the higher you progress in education the more demanding the requirements for academia, and within any career there will be occasions that call for the formal communication of information, whether it be by letter or email. In order to ensure my ability to write to this standard is achieved, I am researching some key aspects of this subject [6,7,8]:

  • Structure – every form of written work should have a beginning, middle and end. Keeping to a carefully planned structure helps underline the points you want to make in your work, and stops the reader from getting lost and confused. Writing a plan before beginning can help keep this structure under control and avoid red-herrings.
  • Emphasis – To quote a teacher of mine from my BTEC; “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them.” [8].  Interpreting this into writing, a good technique is to drive the main point of an essay in the introduction, go on to elaborate on each aspect of it, then end with a conclusion which ties everything up. I have used this before in my writing and it has      proven quite effective.
  • Harvard Referencing – demanded by almost all academic work within higher education, the ability to reference your sources of information correctly not only adds value to your work, but helps avoid your work being flagged up as having been copied from another source of literature. Further information on this technique can be found in my blog post on the subject (http://ppd1calvert.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/harvard-referencing-a-short-introduction), as I am currently researching it using the guide entitled ‘Quote, Unquote’, a Leeds Metropolitan University handbook explaining the skill’s parameters.

All of these transferable skills are essential for my desired career as a teacher; from creating and delivering effective presentations to writing student handbooks and unit guides understandable by my future students. Presently, their development is essential for my degree, and so I will continue to improve these skills by researching the many sources of academia on the subject and steadily adding to the list of techniques I am able to use in each form of work submission, ensuring that my ability to communicate information is of the highest standard by the time I begin looking for academic employment.

References:

[1] http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/18-tips-for-killer-presentations.html

[2] http://www.timetomarket.co.uk/writing-a-presentation.php

[3] Interpersonal Skills at Work, J Hayes (2002)

[4] http://www.bloggingbasics101.com/2009/08/1639/

[5] http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/26-tips-for-writing-great-blog-posts/

[6] http://lklivingston.tripod.com/essay/

[7] http://www.schoolatoz.nsw.edu.au/homework-and-study/homework-tips/10-tips-for-writing-an-essay

[8] Karl Martin – Level 2 course leader and Lecturer in Music at HullCollege.

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