Identifying your transferable skills

Posted by : Pearl Parsons on June 26, 2020 10:02 am

Pearl ParsonsYou are constantly developing new skills throughout your life and professional experiences. Many of these can be defined as transferable (or portable) skills that you can take from job to job.

You may already possess many transferable skills that employees want, such as strong communication skills, resilience, organisational skills, creativity, and teamwork.

Why are transferable skills important?

Understanding and identifying your transferable skills and applying them appropriately to your job application can really help make your application stand out. They can even increase your employability. Employers are often looking for the right attitude and potential, as well as hard skills and experience. It is vital, therefore, that you sell your potential by demonstrating the transferable skills that you have developed already.

Examples of transferable skills:

Communication – Strong and effective communication skills include actively listening, understanding the importance of non-verbal communication, asking questions, the ability to be able to express ideas effectively, and being clear and succinct. These skills can show that you can work well with others and move projects forward.

Resilience – The ability to deal with difficult situations while maintaining performance and seeking support from others when necessary demonstrates strong coping skills and resilience. Demonstrating these skills highlights you can remain productive in the face of challenges.

Organisation – Validating to a potential employer that you’re well-organised and can meet deadlines helps verify that you can complete projects efficiently.

Innovation – Demonstrating the ability to evaluate new and more efficient ways of doing things to respond to demands can be an attractive attribute for employers.

Teamwork – The ability to interact with people effectively and being able and willing to share and receive information, shows positively that you’re a team player.

This list is not exhaustive. Other transferable skills could include decision making, high work ethic and standards, motivation, reliability, problem solving, adaptability, integrity, initiative, and so on.

Highlighting your transferable skills in a job application:

When it comes to highlighting your transferable skills throughout a job application, there are a few ways you can do this.

Firstly, always review the job description carefully to identify which of your transferable skills are most relevant to the position, and then clearly articulate them throughout your application.

On your resume there are a few options when deciding where to include these key transferable skills. You can refer to your transferable skills in the summary (use the most relevant for the position), you can highlight them in your employment history (describe relevant accomplishments that may include several different skills), or you can create a skills list (a great way to show this is with a scale, such as a Likert scale, where employers can immediately see where your fortes lay).

When writing your cover letter, focus on one or two of your transferable skills that the employer has included in the job description. In the body paragraphs of your letter, write about when you’ve used these skills in past work experiences.

During your interview, use examples of when you’ve used relevant transferable skills to answer your interviewer’s questions by providing specific stories of when you used your skills successfully.

Spending a bit of time and effort understanding your transferable skills can really help with your job application. But be specific, and pinpoint exactly how your transferable skills relate to the job you are applying for.

Get in touch

If you are looking for guidance and support during your job search, that’s where the team at Asset can help. We’re experienced in helping people identify their strengths and providing guidance when exploring your next career move. We work with you and our clients to ensure we find the best fit for both parties. So, if you’re looking to make a change, get in touch.


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