The Importance of Transferable Skills

Published: Dec 13, 2022

 Resumes & Cover Letters       
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Whether you’re looking for your first job or you’re a job search expert, you might have heard about transferable skills by now. These types of skills are great if you don’t have a lot of work experience, if you want to change careers, or during an economic recession when demand is low. Today we’re going to talk all about transferable skills, and how they can help you score your next great job. Let’s begin.

What Are Transferable Skills?

Transferable skills are just that; they are skills that are applicable to any job, regardless of the field you’re working in, or your position. Transferable skills can be both hard and soft skills. For example, time management is a transferable skill that is also a soft skill, while working knowledge of computer programs such as Microsoft Excel is a transferable skill that is also a hard skill.

Try to imagine your transferable skills as being similar to the items in Batman’s utility belt—you can carry them around with you all the time and they will help you in pretty much any situation. That said, transferable skills will not help you to be a vigilante, so uh, don’t do that. Transferable skills can be gained through career experience, internships, and even during school.

When identifying your transferable skills, think back to your previous experience. Have you been particularly good at taking on multiple tasks at once? If so, you can include your ability to multitask on your resume. If you’re great with writing emails or speaking in front of large groups of people, you can say you’ve got excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Examples of Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are attractive to potential employers because they won’t have to spend time training a new hire in any number of areas, and a new employee with certain transferable skills can start off making meaningful contributions to the organization on their very first day.

One of the best transferable skills you can have is the ability to effectively solve problems. If you’re particularly adept at assessing a situation and thinking creatively on your feet to come up with a feasible solution, you’re pretty much golden. All employers and bosses love people who can solve problems, so you should seek to develop this skill right away. When talking about your ability to solve problems on your resume, include any relevant examples you might have.

Working well with others is another fine attribute that most employers are looking for. If you’re a real team player and you show up every day ready, willing and able to help your team accomplish their goals, you’re a valuable asset to any organization. Along with this, if you’re the type of person who isn’t afraid to take the lead and rally your team towards success, then you’ve displayed the qualities of a leader. Indeed, possessing teamwork and leadership skills will set you apart from many other applicants.

Having experience with managing projects is invaluable, as employers are always looking for project leads. If you’re skilled with working efficiently and overseeing projects to meet deadlines, add it to your resume. As always, make sure you include examples. In any job, the ability to communicate effectively is incredibly important. Speaking confidently and concisely, and explaining intricate ideas in a way that is easy for others to digest is an excellent skill to have. Along with this, seek to develop your written communication skills. For more about how to level up your communication skills, check out our previous blog on the subject.

Hard skills such as knowledge of various project management software, the Microsoft Suite, the Adobe Suite, or any number of other computer programs are great to have. Remember, if an employer doesn’t have to train you they’ll be more likely to hire you since you can effectively start right away. Over time as you navigate your career, you’ll be able to more easily recognize your transferable skills so you can leverage them, which leads us to our next point of interest.

Leveraging Transferable Skills

There will always be ups and downs in your career, there’s no way around it. The great thing about transferable skills is that no matter what happens, you’ll never lose them—they’re like a gift that keeps on giving! For starters, transferable skills are great if you don’t have a whole lot of work experience, as they will demonstrate to potential employers that you’ve got the relevant skills they’re looking for, even if you’re just starting out and don’t already have several years under your belt.

If you’re looking to change careers, transferable skills can be leveraged to get the job you want. Let’s say you’re a graphic designer but you want to be a project manager. In this scenario, if you’ve got proven experience in managing other designers, or taking the initiative to help your team complete a major project, you have the transferable skills necessary to make that change. If you look at it this way, you’re never really pigeonholing yourself in your career; you’ve just got to learn to identify the relevant transferable skills that you’ll need to make a career change.

During an economic downturn, it can be difficult to find employment. Having a bunch of valuable transferable skills makes you more resistant to the effects of a recession, as you’ll have more flexibility in the jobs you can apply for, which greatly improves the chances of finding a steady paycheck.

Yes friends, transferable skills are extremely valuable. Whether you’re looking to change careers, or you need a job in a pinch, they’re always there to help you see it through. Make sure you take note of any transferable skills you’ve learned along the way, as they’ll likely make you stand out from other applicants next time you’re looking for a job.