We've all seen sports videos capturing amazing plays: The stunning half-court buzzer beater that wins the basketball game. The Hail Mary touchdown with no time remaining.
But the flashy players aren't always the most valuable on the team. If you're in the NFL, you're basically playing at the same level as other players. What sets you apart (and makes you an MVP) is whether you can play as part of the team, and if you continue to learn, improve and strive to be your best.
How transferable skills make you a ‘Most Valuable Employee'
If you want to be an MVE (Most Valuable Employee), you have to act like an MVP and bring teamwork and a great work ethic to your job.
Those are great transferrable skills - not to be confused with job qualifications. Qualifications are the certificates, degrees and experience you bring to a specific position. Transferrable skills are the qualities that you bring to any role, such as leadership, a willingness to learn, or self-motivation.
If you're looking for a new job or a promotion, your qualifications will get your resume in the door, but your transferrable skills will likely be what sets you apart from the rest.
That's why it's key for employees to work on their transferrable skills.
And if you're a manager, you want to help employees work on those skills, too. It's great to be known as the manager who has a talented team, but it's better to be known as the manager who develops and promotes talent. That's the department everyone wants to be in (and the one that the boss brags about).
What are the most valued job skills?
So what are the transferrable skills employees should be working on? I came across this article on LinkedIn that compiled 40 studies from 2012-14 on the job skills most valued by employers. Here are the top 5:
- Enthusiastic/ Positive attitude
- Good communication skills
- Self-motivated/ Initiative
- Works well with others
The good news is you don't need an expensive degree to achieve those skills. The challenge: some of these skills may come naturally, while others need work. Often the best way is to find someone who embodies those traits and emulate them, or ask them for advice (hint: mentors are great for this!).
Tips for employees
- Try to see challenges as opportunities to learn rather than catastrophes (and mentors can be a huge help when you're taking on something new).
- Listen more than you talk.
- Take action - make suggestions in meetings and look for things that need to be done - and do them.
- Admit to mistakes before they become larger issues - and if you're going to your boss with a problem, always have some suggestions on how it can be solved or mitigated.
- Be the person that you would want to work with.
Tips for managers
- Lead by example: Approach work with a positive attitude and you'll inspire the same.
- Have those difficult conversations about skill development and career advancement: they're critical for keeping employees engaged and retaining them in the company.
- Give employees the opportunity to ask questions and suggest solutions, and show appreciation for their contributions.
- Bosses make mistakes, too. Owning up to them shows employees it's okay to make a misstep.
- Teambuilding goes a long way to creating an engaged workforce.
Touchdown: transferrable skills are your competitive advantage
If you refine your transferrable skills, they'll be your trump card for life. They will help you in any position you ever take on.
And managers: employees with strong transferrable skills have the potential to be an asset in any role in your organization - and having an MVE like that gives your business a competitive advantage.
So it's game on: are you going to play to win, or sit on the sidelines?