Transferable skills are a specific set of skills that crossover into multiple job roles and positions. These skills are general and can be used in multiple industries: blue collar, white collar, and in life. Transferable skills are valued by many corporations and organizations because they can be used and applied companywide.

Transferable skills included, but not limited to: problem solving, teamwork, leadership, time management, and personal motivation. Let’s break down the examples:

  • Being a problem solver means you are a critical thinker; this means you likely excel at strategy.
  • Good leadership skills means you can take charge and motivate other employees.
  • Having good time management skills means that you can organize and prioritize which means you are productive.
  • Being personally motivated means that you are a self-starter and can work with minimal supervision.

Interpersonal skills, in my opinion, are the core of transferable skills. A few examples are:

  • Dependable means the company can rely on you to get the job done.
  • Active listening means that you can secure information because you are present, in the room, and not in your head.
  • Communication means that you can communicate clearly and effectively- both verbally and in writing.

A few examples were mentioned and described above. In addition to those, these 13 transferable skills should be developed and pointed out in your resume and cover letter.

The list of transferable skills below can be used and transferred between multiple job types and industries.

1. Cross-Functional Collaboration

It means that you have the ability to collaborate with multiple departments on initiatives that impact the full organization.

2. Personal Development

It means that you have the ability to take ownership of your development, you take ownership of growing and progressing.

3. Analytical Skills

It means that you have the ability to analyze and evaluate critical information.

4. Adaptability

It means that you have the ability to learn quickly and adapt to change- which is the only constant in life and in a business organization.

5. Organization

It means that you have the ability to organize tasks which means you have the ability to meet important deadlines.

6. Public Speaking

It means that you have the ability to lead meetings and speak in front of groups.

7. Relationship Building / Management

It means that you have the ability to establish and nurture relationships which means you have the ability to network.

8. Coaching / Mentoring

It means that you have the ability to develop and train other employees.

9. Customer Service

It means that you have the ability to interact with people in a professional manner. Even if the position doesn’t work with the general public, internal customers are just as important. For example: IT services an entire organization of people.

10. Bilingual / Multi-lingual

It means that you have the ability to communicate and translate between international partners, customers, sponsors, etc.

11. Planning

It means that you have the ability to identify problems, develop strategies, and define requirements.

12. Project Management

Although this is an actual job/ position, it means that you have the ability to manage projects and initiatives. And that you have the ability to manage the project finances and reporting.

13. Negotiating

It means that you have the ability to debate, deliberate, and reach agreements.

So there you go, 13 transferable skills that are important for your career success. But maybe you still have a lot of questions in your mind about transferable skills. So here’re some of the commonly asked questions that may help you.

Commonly Asked Questions about Transferable Skills

1. How to Develop Transferable Skills?

Naturally, transferable skills are developed at every stage of life; they enhance and get better with time.

Let’s walk through life starting with teenage years:

  • High School: being a member of clubs/organizations helps build teamwork skills.
  • College: being a college student helps build time management skills.
  • Volunteer work: this helps build empathy and personal motivation.
  • Internships: this is the entry way into the workforce and helps strengthen communication.
  • Entry level jobs: this helps strengthen dependability and leadership.

Check out this piece on honing in on transferable skills: How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

2. How to Highlight Transferable Skills on a Resume and Cover Letter?

Always review the job posting or job requisition thoroughly to determine the skill set required/desired by the employer.

As discussed in this DIY resume guide below, applicant tracking systems rule everything when you “apply now”. Your resume and cover letter should be specific to the job being applied to. Let’s take a look at the resume guide here:

Job Scan says the following about ATS:

Applicant tracking systems are used by corporations to assist with recruitment and hiring processes. Each system offers a different combination and scope of features, but ATS are primarily used to help hiring companies collect, organize, and filter applicants. Corporate recruiters can have their ATS automatically extract information from an applicant’s resume to build a digital applicant profile that can be searched, filtered, and/or ranked. The goal is to quickly cull out anyone who is under-qualified, make the applicant pool smaller, and quickly identify the top candidates.

Highlighting transferable skills within your qualifications summary and area of expertise is recommended. Also, further elaboration on the cover letter is recommended. Here’s an example for each:

A resume sentence for the qualification’s summary:

History of success managing client relationships by evaluating client’s needs and recommending solutions and services that are suitable.

A cover letter sentence:

I am accustomed to the rigors of fast-paced, regulated environments requiring sharp attention to detail, consummate accuracy, and exceptional communication skills.

3. How to Highlight Transferable Skills When Changing Careers?

This is where transferable skills help the most. For someone seeking a career change, transferable skills take lead in resume and cover letter development strategy.

If you are currently a bank teller, and you are wanting to transition into an office manager role, you want to make sure to highlight the transferable skills that apply to both roles: customer service, organization, filing paperwork, and financial transactions to name a few.

Keep in mind that no matter what, the first step is to determine the skills needed by thoroughly reviewing the job posting. You want to highlight the transferred skills required and desired because your resume and cover letter must speak to the job being applied to – because ATS rules the recruiting process.

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