Transferable Skills: Definition, Examples & How To Develop Them
A transferable skill is a skill that can be used to do different types of jobs. Having the right transferable skills can bring you success in your career and allow you to be more flexible and versatile. The problem with many people is that they are too specialized in one area of work.
They spend years learning the same skill-set which ends up limiting them to a handful of jobs or even worse, it limits their income potential. Transferable skills provide you with more options and allow you to get promoted faster.
In this article, I have listed 11 transferable skills that can be used in almost any job. By the end of the article, you should have a better understanding of transferable skills and how to identify them during your job search.
What are Transferable Skills? Definition & Meaning
Let’s dive deep into what I mean by transferable skills. To make it simple, let’s take an example of a salesperson. Sales is a very competitive industry and there are thousands of people who would like to land that dream job.
Having transferable skills in sales can give you a leg up on the competition. For example, if you know how to sell and you get hired as an entry-level salesperson, you would start getting paid for your skills right away.
You wouldn’t have to wait until you develop new skills to do the job. On the other hand, imagine that same person with no experience or transferable skills applying for a job at one of the top sales companies in the world.
Chances are that he will be rejected. We all know that we live in a competitive economy and we only get so many chances before we get left behind. Transferable skills allow us to use our existing talents and knowledge for types of jobs and companies within that field or even completely outside of that field.
List with 11 Examples of Transferable Skills
Let’s now look at some examples of transferable skills. These skills will make you more marketable and they will increase your chances of getting a job. I have listed them in random order – although some skills might seem more important than others, all of them are equally important.
- Time Management
- Conflict Resolution
- Public Speaking
- Project Management
- Creativity & Problem Solving
- Writing & Communication
- Analytical Thinking
- Coaching & Mentoring
Why are Transferable Skills Important?
The reasons are two-fold – one, it allows you to get into the job market faster. When people see that you have transferable skills, they are more likely to hire you for a job. The second reason is even more important – having a variety of transferable skills can make you a valuable asset at your company and this causes you to climb up the corporate ladder faster.
To clarify using a specific example, imagine that as a software development company, your co-workers have been doing that same thing for 5 years and never had a promotion, whereas you already got promoted after 2 months, whilst having the exact same technical skills.
The reason might have something to do with the fact that your transferable skills allowed you to get into a higher-paying position quickly. Your manager realized that due to your skills, they don’t have to wait 5 years before you are experienced enough for the next step.
The top 10 benefits of having are transferable skills are as follows:
- Increased chances of getting a job
- Fast track career advancement
- You learn things faster and better
- Increased salary possibilities
- More flexibility in your career path
- Finding a new job will be easier along with changing careers later on
- Less stress and more free time
- Ability to take more responsibility
- You’ll get satisfaction from training others to become better at what they do
- You’ll be able to adapt no matter what happens in your professional life
Transferable Skills vs Soft Skills
Transferable skills and soft skills sound very similar and that’s why they are most likely used in conjunction with each other. A lot of people confuse transferable skills for soft skills, but they are two different things altogether.
Soft Skills: The “softer” side of you decides how well you get on with your co-workers or employers. Soft skills also cover your interpersonal relationship so it includes behavior, motivation, communication style, etc. It covers all the skills that make you a better person to work with.
Transferable Skills: The basic set of general abilities required to perform either specific tasks or certain types of jobs regardless of their actual function while still being effective in an organization.
The main difference between the two is that soft skills help you in any kind of job, while transferable skills can be more appropriate for specific career paths.
Examples of Transferable Skills:
- Time management
- Analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities
- Planning and organizing work activities
Examples of Soft Skills:
- Relationship building
- Conflict Avoidance
Transferable Skills for Teachers
As a teacher, you need to be able to master and manage a classroom, understand people and motivate them. You also need good communication skills and problem-solving abilities. In teaching, as in other businesses, transferable skills are those which help you do your job well no matter what environment you go into.
Transferable skills for teachers include:
- Creative thinking
- Time management
You might notice that most of these are soft skills – even the seemingly more “technical” ones like time management can easily be combined with soft skills such as motivation or teamwork. This is because a lot of the real value that a teacher brings into a classroom is their personality and how they deal with people.
As a teacher, having transferable skills will also help you to have a better understanding of the school’s goals and plans so that you will be able to fit in even if your teaching methods are somewhat different from what students are used to.
How to Highlight Transferable Skills in Your Resume
Learning how to highlight transferable skills in a CV is crucial to get your foot in the door. This can be done by following these steps.
Step 1: List down all of your skills.
The best way to do this is to make a list which you can then use to compare with the job description. Also, just because a job description doesn’t mention specific skills that you might have, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t highlight such skills – if you feel they are relevant to the job you’re applying for (more on this in the next step).
Step 2: Determine the usefulness of each skill
Now take each skill one by one and determine how important each one of them is for this specific position or industry. Use the following scale to do this:
- Not important at all (you won’t use it in this potential position at all)
- Important, but not essential (you will use this skill occasionally)
- Very important (i.e. without this skill, this job becomes much more difficult to do successfully / without it you will be doing things manually and inefficiently)
Step 3: Put these skills into your CV.
So let’s say that the first skill that we have on our list is “Project Management”. We then put this in the relevant experiences section of our CV together with a short description of how we used it.
We write something along the lines of “Managed several projects, each containing numerous sub-projects”. If this sounds appropriate to the hiring manager’s requirements, then you have an edge over others who do not possess this skill.
Step 4: Highlight these skills in your cover letter and interview later on.
Now that you have decided which of the transferable skills are the most important (and the most valued by your potential employer), write about how they can be useful for them in your cover letter and during the interview.
For example, if the skill in question is public speaking, don’t say “I’m confident in public speaking” or “I like to speak in front of big crowds”.
Instead, show them why you are good at it (for example “Have spoken with hundreds of people doing sales training”) and explain how this is an extremely valuable skill for their company because they need someone who can address all kinds of people.
If you are still in doubt, then just remember that employers want to see your potential value for their company – so show them what you have to offer. Don’t be shy and make it all about how your skills will benefit their company.
Frequently Asked Questions About Transferable Skills
How do you prove transferable skills?
There are several ways to prove transferable skills on your resume. The most important thing is to let potential employers know that you have the right set of skills for their organization.
When describing your responsibilities in previous jobs, highlight the skills they involved and explain how you applied them. You could also include relevant courses or modules you took at various points in your career.
Overall Conclusion Of Transferable Skills
In conclusion, it’s always better if you can find a way to combine your soft skills with your transferable skills, because the more things you can do, the greater are your chances of getting hired.
You can even emphasize these skills in your CV by describing them in the “Skills” section or including a separate “Transferable Skills” list which will make it easier for potential employers to see how versatile you are.
You also need to remember that what makes you stand out is not just having all these qualifications but being a well-rounded person who has interests outside of work and lives an interesting life.
So don’t be afraid to show off some other traits that might not be easily defined – in the end, anything can be used to better the potential company you’ll be working for down the line.
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