How to use transferable skills in your new jobs?

Transferable skills are competencies and abilities that are relevant and valuable across different areas of life: socially and professionally. Also known as ‘portable skills,’ they can be transferred from one job to another, and could also extend to and include one’s hobbies, sports, volunteer work, or other important life experiences.

In other words, transferable skills include any talent developed and able to be used in future employment. Many of these skills are actually ‘soft-skills’ and as senior managers, these gain critical importance as you go ahead in your career and manage teams and people.

List: The top 10 transferable skills

  1. Communication skills
  2. Teamwork skills
  3. Time management skills
  4. Problem-solving skills
  5. Organization skills
  6. Learning skills
  7. Computer skills (well. Yes. This too)
  8. Listening skills
  9. Creativity skills
  10. Leadership skills

No matter what one’s technical skills are, employers are always looking out for an employee’s transferable skills. That’s why it is important that when applying for a new job, an employee highlights examples of transferable skills that he/she has developed along the way.

These versatile soft skills go a long way in demonstrating to a prospective employer one’s initiative, creativity, and integrity. Organizations usually have some form of psychometric testing as part of their selection procedure by way of which they assess a candidate’s potential rather than pure experience.

Write yourself a skill-based resume for job applications

When applying for a job, however, it is important to remember that the transferable skills being highlighted by you are closely related to the position for which you are applying. Basically what’s key is to create a résumé and cover letter specific to each job you apply for. You could write a skill-based resume for yourself – one that combines your chronological resume with your skills.

You could also list some of the following transferable skills in your resume:

  1. Plan and arrange events and activities
  2. Delegate responsibility
  3. Motivate others
  4. Attend to visual detail
  5. Assess and evaluate my own work
  6. Assess and evaluate others’ work
  7. Deal with obstacles and crises
  8. Multitask
  9. Present written material
  10. Present material orally
  11. Repair equipment or machinery
  12. Keep records
  13. Handle complaints
  14. Coordinate fundraising activities
  15. Coach
  16. Research
  17. Build or construct
  18. Manage finances
  19. Speak a foreign language (specify language)
  20. Utilize computer software (specify programs)

Self-awareness gained through systematic self-assessment allows one to analyze their own personal strengths and weaknesses. You could also go through a skills checklist and tick all the ones that you are confident apply to you. Through this process, you can identify what your transferable skills are. For instance, if you work really well with other people and make lots of friends in the workplace then you could have good interpersonal skills.

Think through & add credibility to your transferable skills

Says Dawn Clare, a career and life coach,

“Asking yourself questions like ‘What are my three favorite accomplishments?’ or ‘What activities make me the happiest?’ will help you find your transferable skills easily. Evaluate your whole life, not just professional experiences. The point is to determine skill strengths. Use a framework of school, job, personal and organizational activities to determine your relevant accomplishments.”

Kevin Donlin, résumé writer and creator of, says,

“Start with the job you seek and identify the three most important abilities you’ll need to do that job well. Then look over your experience and describe what you’ve done before in terms of what you want to do next.”

To add credibility, Donlin suggests adding a quote to your résumé from past managers or clients to emphasize your transferable skills. “A third party endorsement of you is many times more credible and interesting than anything you could say about yourself,” he says. “You must do all the thinking for the person reading your résumé. Never expect anyone to figure out your relevant skills or how valuable they are.”

We hope you are able to think through these skill-sets and develop your self-assessment along these lines. Hopefully with these skills in the bag, you’re going places!

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