/ Transferable skills you have gained through climbing

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MikeLell - on 12 Sep 2013
Can anyone give examples of skills or qualities they have developed through climbing, hill-walking and mountaineering that could be worth mentioning in a job application or at an appropriate point in an interview.

So far I've come up with:
Confidence
Team working
Self-reliance
Fast and effective decision making
Organisation - route planning, expedition preparations etc.
Passing skills and knowledge on to less experienced people.

Any replies would be kindly appreciated.
Blue Straggler - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

Goal-setting and self-motivation (including the identification of attainable and unattainable targets)

Contingency plans


Noble retreats (knowing when you are beaten and to cut your losses)! :-)
Jon Stewart - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

I think that it's great to put climbing down on the interests bit of a CV as it's quite unusual and says that you've got energy and the commitment to learn something skillful, something that most people can't do and might be impressed by.

But if you go on about it/try to stretch it, it'll be obvious that you care a whole load more about going climbing than you do about the shitty boring job you're applying for.

I have emphasised taking responsibility for someone else's life in relation to climbing on my CV, as I'm training in a healthcare profession where if I cock it up someone could die (or go blind or what have you).

To be honest about it, I don't think that the skills I have as a climber are really of any use to my employer. The fact that I have the commitment and confidence to ab into a zawn where the easiest way out is E4 does not mean that I can be bothered to get out of bed to go to work. The fact that I train all winter because I care deeply about achieving my goals of onsighting classic extreme routes does not mean that I give a toss about a company's profits or that I will try any harder than the absolute minimum to contribute to them.

Recruitment is all smoke, mirrors and bullshit. Come up with some evidence that you're actually competent and can get stuff done in your field, or if you're not experienced convince them that you're a bright guy with enthusiasm for the job. The rest, IMHO, is fluff.
Timmd on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell: Problem solving - lateral thinking.
altirando - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell: Interesting. I spent my working life in the fast moving field of advertising where everything had a tight deadline. It is only looking back that I realise I never ever panicked, just had total confidence in myself to make the right decisions. I suppose if your life has depended on this, not missing a deadline is easy.
Robert Durran - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

Staying calm in near misses (eg when driving).
I've noticed in a couple of near nasty incidents on the road that I have the ability to shrug it off and continue with barely a raised pulse, like you have to do when, say, narrowly missed by stonefall on an alpine climb.
Jon Stewart - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

I don't particularly give a shit about nearly dying. I just put that down to my personality rather than something I've learnt through climbing though.
ice.solo - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

Climbing thru the 80s and 90s gave me the ability to look beyond the superfucal attributes of men with moustaches wearing tights and expensive shoe and see their true abilities.

Im also good at not criticizing others for narcissistic or pointlessly dangerous lifestyles.
MikeLell - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell: Cheers for all the contributions, keep them coming.
Trevers - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

It's worth mentioning on your CV or on an interview, but don't try and make your assessment of yourself revolve around skills gained while climbing, since your motivations (or lack of in an office environment) will be completely different.
John Lewis - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell: Coming up with elaborate excuses.
ice.solo - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

comfortable hanging about with men in tight pants wearing expensive shoes.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

Hanging about and giving up. Knowing when to jump. Also first aid.
Bob Hughes - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell: staring up the a*rse of someone above you as they f*ck up. :)
Neil Williams - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

An ability to make safety critical decisions quickly yet methodically.

Neil
Bob Hughes - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to Trevers:
> (In reply to MikeLell)
>
> It's worth mentioning on your CV or on an interview, but don't try and make your assessment of yourself revolve around skills gained while climbing, since your motivations (or lack of in an office environment) will be completely different.

While true, I don't think this matters.
The majority of people recruiting in office jobs aren't climbers so they don't have a clue how it translates. The OP isn't trying to find genuinely transferable skills, they are looking for a story which sounds convincing enough to get them the job.
Bob Hughes - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell: Rather than come up with a long list of qualities, I'd try to come up with one (ormax two) qualities and build a really good argument around that. e.g. Responsibility for someone's life. If your leader falls and you have not tied in properly or you are not concentrating or are not prepared there is a very real possibility of serious injury or someone dying.
StuMsg - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

patience - and lots of it
1poundSOCKS - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell: One arm pull-ups.
jkarran - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to ice.solo:

> Im also good at not criticizing others for narcissistic or pointlessly dangerous lifestyles.

That's got to be one of the big benefits from climbing :)
jk
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aultguish on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:
Be prepared for the "Why should we invest in someone who could potentially have a lot of time off, due to injuries obtained whilst performing a dangerous sport?" question.
the sheep - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I don't particularly give a shit about nearly dying. I just put that down to my personality rather than something I've learnt through climbing though.

Its always the nearly bit thats important.

elsewhere on 13 Sep 2013
Problem anti-solving: follow a difficult and unlikely solution whilst ignoring the business solution from a kid who shouts "you can walk round the side".
MikeYouCanClimb - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> The fact that I have the commitment and confidence to ab into a zawn where the easiest way out is E4 does not mean that I can be bothered to get out of bed to go to work.

I don't agree and I doubt it applies to you really. Having confidence and commitment in a hobby that requires such skill and mental capacity is very often a transferable skill to other areas of life such as work.

It is only an indicator, but it is more likey then not that you will put a similar amount of effort in to work that you do your hobby. I have found that those who perform activities in their spare time to a good standard generally are very good employees as well.
teflonpete - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to John Lewis:
> (In reply to MikeLell) Coming up with elaborate excuses.

Coming up with excuses that everyone can see straight through and not giving a shit. ;0)
deacondeacon - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:
1-4-7 innit
1-5-9 and the head hunters chase you!
1poundSOCKS - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeYouCanClimb: I kind of agree with Jon. My comment about one arm pull-ups was serious to a point. Climbing has changed my life in a lot of ways, but I think that's more down to the lifestyle I've adopted to give me more time to climb. I think it's had a reverse effect in a some cases, I take work less seriously (because my 'hobby' has far more serious consequences).
Skyfall - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

As JS says, I'd be a little careful. Having both been interviewee and interviewer on many occasions, I can honestly say that, even if a climber sat in front of me at interview, I wouldn't be swayed and I might indeed take the view they may be more keen on climbing than working.

Also, bear in mind, the one that gets thrown at you a fair bit as a climber in interview (I had this on a number of occasions) is "are you a bit of a loner then?". Whilst you can counter this by the teamwork/loyalty side of things, what the employer is often interested in is whether you are sociable and can work in large groups.

Maybe taking a pro-active approach is a good thing but personally I wouldn't overdo it.
MikeYouCanClimb - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:
>I take work less seriously (because my 'hobby' has far more serious consequences).

You might be right, but generally I think you will find that the level at which you think is less serious will actually be a higher level than one of your peers who does no other work, sport or hobby that requires skills such as commitment, dedication etc.

As for climbing an employer might think you are a risk and they might lose you or they might consider you to be irresponsible, but thatís another story and best for the OP to concentrate on the positive.
Jon Stewart - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:
> (In reply to MikeYouCanClimb) My comment about one arm pull-ups was serious

You've been training hard then!
1poundSOCKS - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart: Lol, not in that way, but I'm suspecting you know that. :) I have been training hard (for me), but results are coming slowly.
Jon Stewart - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeYouCanClimb:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
> [...]

> It is only an indicator, but it is more likey then not that you will put a similar amount of effort in to work that you do your hobby. I have found that those who perform activities in their spare time to a good standard generally are very good employees as well.

I do agree with this to an extent, but I don't think it's easy to get across in the context of recruitment. If I try to demonstrate to someone that I'm a 'serious' climber who's taken the time to get to a reasonable level and that I do stuff that demands really knowing what I'm doing to avoid catastrophe, I'll just sound very boring or arrogant; you can't really explain what the difference is between Carn Gowla and the indoor wall to a potential employer.

I think it's best to keep it to a simple bullet point on the CV (dedication, responsibility, problem-solving, whatever is most relevant) and not to go on about it at interview. Many of the pitfalls have been pointed out: after all, climbers are often quite surly, anti-social people who'd much rather be completely alone, 100% absorbed in figuring out a problem that matters only to them, and who care about pursuing that experience far more than they do about their jobs, wives, friends, etc. It is best to leave the potential employer in ignorance of this.
Skyfall - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeYouCanClimb:

> As for climbing an employer might think you are a risk and they might lose you or they might consider you to be irresponsible

I agree with this (I've even had clients refer to this and get concerned if they know I am away on a long trip or something) and, together with some of the other negative connotations of doing a sport/activity which is often perceived as for loners, this makes it dangerous to big it up too much imho. I think it's probably a good thing to put on a CV (simply as something different which might make you stand out) but I wouldn't go into it too much unless asked, and would then be prepared for some of the awkward questions you might get asked.
teflonpete - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to Skyfall:

Better to say you like hill walking / mountain climbing and bring it down to a level your interviewer is likely to understand. Drive and ambition to reach the top and all that self motivational drivel. HR like that.
Tony Naylor on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:
Drinking like a fish.
GrahamD - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

Being able to open jam jars.
llechwedd - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:
A proven ability to organise and distribute data in a concise format. Fully conversant with modern specialist software

(i.e. emailing your A4 Memory Maps to work so you don't have to pay for a colour print cartridge)

Conflict resolution - ( Don Whillans School of..)

Regularly updated Equality and Diversity Training (UKC Forums)
Carolyn - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

(Dynamic) risk assessment.
Coaching (if you've had a less experienced partner, and developed them into a more skilled climber)

But I agree, don't over egg it. I'd chose a couple of the suggestions that are particularly relevant to the job (and that you can expand on with an example at interview if needs be) and leave it at that.
John Stainforth - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

The biggest lesson I got out of climbing was learning the power of utter focus and commitment. One of the things that fascinated me was power of psyching oneself up before leaving the ground: the process of convincing oneself that one can and will succeed, even before before starting up. In this way one turns a desirable into an imperative. I've found that that crosses over into most endeavors.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

Ability to convincingly retaliate when minor executives attempt to demonstrate their exalted status with a crushing handshake.
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tlm - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

I never really mention to people that I climb, simply because to them I might as well say I like competitive bungy jumping. They thing it is all about being a thrill seeker, which is very far from what it means to me. I went to a party recently where everyone got a label, and he put 'mountaineer' on mine, and I really wasn't too keen on the reaction that it drew...

As to what I have gained from climbing, I think it is that thing where you look at a route from the bottom, and it looks completely impossible. But the first move looks ok, so you do that, then a bit more, then a bit more... at times, you really can't even work out how to do the next move, but you just can move one foot up a bit higher, which then in turn uncovers the next move....

and eventually you get to the end of the route! I sometimes look down a route that I have climbed cleanly and think - there is NO WAY that I would solo that, and yet, physically, I am perfectly capable of doing so!

Now, when I have any impossible seeming tasks in life, I don't worry too much about reaching the end point or having a grand overall plan for getting to the end. I just do the little bit that seems possible, and the solutions to the task reveal themselves as I go.
Jon Stewart - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to John Stainforth:
> (In reply to MikeLell)
>
> The biggest lesson I got out of climbing was learning the power of utter focus and commitment. One of the things that fascinated me was power of psyching oneself up before leaving the ground: the process of convincing oneself that one can and will succeed, even before before starting up. In this way one turns a desirable into an imperative. I've found that that crosses over into most endeavors.

I've never really got the hang of this.

Moving away from what I'd say on a job application, one skill I use in climbing a lot is accepting uncomfortable facts and dealing with it. I can think of a couple of routes lately, one internal dialogue went along the lines of, "look, that pathetic microwire will not hold, there is no gear, and these are the holds - can you do it? Yes." Another was "there are no footholds for a long way, this is going to be hard. [Shouts down to belayer, "this is really hard!"]. Is the gear OK? Yes. Is there any reason not to try, and maybe fall off if you can't do it? No."

I use this process of objective analysis, and don't do any positive thinking at all, it is what it is - the only time I believe I can do something is when the facts make it clear. Which is why I don't do anything competitive or strive to get to the next grade, it's just not me.
doz - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:
Convincing self( and anyone else in close proximity) everything's fine when it clearly ain't
butteredfrog - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

Elvis impersonation!
andymac - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell:

Positive thinking.

I used to do my fair share of the opposite.
Troy Tempest - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeLell: Being perfectly comfortable with sleeping under a boulder for extended periods of time.

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