Transferable skills are skills that you have acquired through the many activities in your life.  You may have acquired them through jobs, coursework, projects, volunteering, sports, hobbies, etc.

What makes them transferable is that they can apply to many different situations and to many different careers.

Examples of Transferable Career Skills

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Organization
  • Negotiation
  • Management
  • Advocating
  • Delegating
  • Planning
  • Working well under pressure
  • Speaking foreign a language
  • Coordinating events
  • Teaching/Training others
  • Writing
  • Flexibility/Adaptability
  • Decision-making
  • Creative thinking

Importance to a Job Search

When you are reviewing different positions to apply for, uncover transferable career and job skills review the job responsibilities, required skills and qualifications.  When you consider what skills you have, don’t forget to look at the skills you gained outside your current or former job. You have gained skills from many aspects of your life and you shouldn’t discount them because they were not gained during a specific job.

For example, the job you are applying for requires you to be able to effectively delegate tasks.  You are concerned because you are an “individual contributor” at your company and never really delegated tasks to other individuals.

However, at your volunteer organization, you are in charge of the fundraising committee. Part of your job is to delegate tasks to the committee members so the overall goals are met.  In this case, you can clearly demonstrate your delegation skills even though you do not practice it at your job.

Uncovering Your Transferable Job Skills

In order to identify what transferable skills you have, brainstorm on all of your experiences and write down how you demonstrated your skills.  Review your jobs, volunteer activities, hobbies, etc.

Think through each activity and write down the transferable skills you gained. Do certain skills appear more than others?  Those are some of strengths.  Are there some skills that you would like to grow and develop?  Great! Look for ways you can develop those skills either at your job or outside of your job.

Whether we are at work or not, we are always gaining skills.  The important thing is to be able to recognize which of those skills can translate to many different opportunities and, most importantly, be able to demonstrate how they apply to your next opportunity.