Skill Portability: Direct Skill Portability

(9/17/2016 – These posts have been expanded in a book, Skill Portability: A Guide To Moving Skills Between Jobs)

So my little guide to “how to do Skill Portability” is an acronym, DARE.  This is not just because I love acronyms, but because it’s handy to remember that skills fit into four categories that let you determine how you can use them in your career.  Be it training plans or a resume, you want to think about what your skills mean to your career.

The D?  That stands for the easiest kind of portability – Direct.

Directly portable skills are those that are directly relevant to your future job, career or promotion.  They’re the ones you’re going to use as part of that job/move and use most of the time.  Sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it?

No, actually it’s not.  It’s too easy to forget what you can do, what’s relevant to your career plans, and what people want.  Then again, that’s why you take inventory and read article like this.

So how do you determine if a skill is Directly portable?

  1. Ask if it’s relevant to the job in question.  Don’t look at a job posting or a skill listing, but ask if it’s actually going to be directly useful.  Remember, those listings are often incomplete.  However . . .
  2. Ask if it’s in the job skill list anyway.  Even if you’re not entirely sure it’s relevant to the job despite it being there, it helps convince the job posters you can do it.  Besides, your assessment for #1 might be a bit off.
  3. Ask if the skill is developed to the proper level to be “ported over” (if not it may be in the other categories).  It may be good – but it may not be.
  4. Ask if the skill is properly honed for the job/client in question.  You might have developed a skill in a way that might not be quite what’s wanted (which may need other kinds of skills we’ll discuss later).

Most Directly portable skills are incredibly obvious.  Just in case, be sure to take time to inventory your skills for portability.  As noted, it’s not always obvious . . .

Progeek Portability Tip:  Direct Portability
For those of us who develop large skillets as part of our geek, fan, or otaku interests, we face a few interesting challenges and have a few advantages to consider.


  • We have to assess our skills as objectively as possible – since we’re passionate about them and also used to them.  Solution – honest self-assessment and get the opinions of others.
  • Our skills that we develop in part or because of our fan interests may be developed under circumstances others may find odd.  Solution – learn how to communicate those circumstances in a way the target audience understands.


  • As Progeeks some of our skills are developed to a level that is professional in the “work” world.   We literally have side jobs.  This can be very impressive – and can mean we have plenty of skills that fit the Direct category.
  • As Progeeks we have solid evidence we know the Direct skills.  We run conventions, publish books, maintain websites, etc.  Used right these can be powerful “finishers” in a job search or landing a client.
  • As Progeeks we can demonstrate our passion for Direct skills.  It’s hard to argue with your commitment when you’re so into your subject you do it as a hobby.

There you go, be sure when you do a skill inventory, look for Direct Portability.  Next up we’ll discuss the “A” in DARE – Advantageous.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at