Master those transferable skills

smart way

The world is changing more quickly than ever before, as the acquisition of knowledge and the evolution of technology speeds up.

In the future, businesses will probably favour contractors over employees because permanent staff cost more money and are harder to get rid of if things don’t work out. Whether you are a contractor or an employee, you will have to be adaptable, therefore the most important skills for you to master as a teen are ‘transferable skills’ that are valuable in any role. Here are some key transferable skills that you will need.


If you are a contractor, you will need to have the ability to pitch a proposal for a contract, correctly understand the brief, offer the right skills and realistically estimate the length of time it will take to deliver what you have promised. You will also need to be very organised and punctual and take responsibility for yourself. At university, they might not care if you turn up late, or turn up at all. But in the working world, being even five minutes late is unacceptable.

Organise yourself to arrive on time, and be ready to work. Even if you don’t already have a job, start developing self-management habits now. One good tip I learned from time management ex- pert, Robyn Pearce, is to get yourself ready first, and then do other things if time allows. She also recommends not doing that ‘one last thing’. You think you are going to be on time, so you do that last thing which ends up making you late.

Without humility, you are unable to learn

Capacity and work ethic

Going from school or university into the full-time workforce requires a lot of adjustment. It may take a month or so for you to get into the rhythm of working a full day and learning new skills at the same time. Do yourself a favour – get enough sleep and eat properly. If you’re using alcohol or any other substance to wind down at night, quit these so you can have a clear head in the mornings. Once you get into the swing of things, work hard and give your best effort to your boss.


Many young people are brimming with confidence, overflowing with great ideas and ready to put their talents and skills to work. But be humble. Laslo Bock, the head of People Operations at Google, once commented that he is more interested in a person’s willingness to learn than in their intellectual brilliance.

‘Humility and ownership. It’s feeling the sense of responsibility, the sense of ownership, to step in,’ he said, ‘to try to solve any problem — and the humility to step back and embrace the better ideas of others. Your end goal,’ explained Bock, ‘is what we can do together to problem-solve.

‘And it is not just humility in creating space for others to contribute,’ says Bock, ‘it’s intellectual humility. Without humility, you are unable to learn. It is why research shows that many graduates from hotshot business schools plateau. Successful bright people rarely experience failure, and so they don’t know how to learn from that failure,’ said Bock. (Source: Excerpt from a New York Times interview)

So, ‘good values and old-fashioned virtues’ are still important if you want to be noticed and taken seriously by those who have the power to employ and promote you.

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