What are transferable skills?
Transferable skills, sometimes called portable skills, are the skills you have developed that can be transferred from one job to another, like good communication or time management skills. It’s useful to recognise your transferable skills, particularly if you are looking for a new type of role or a job in a different industry. You might not feel qualified but you already have many of the skills that employers can be looking for.
Transferable skills can be developed in your job, from hobbies, at home or voluntary work. For example, if you have been working as a production line operative you will have developed skills such as working as part of a team, communication skills and adaptability as well as working under pressure and to targets. These are all skills that can be used in a different sector or job role and are valued by many employers in different industries.
Working out your transferable skills
If you are struggling to think of the transferable skills you have, ask a friend or colleague to help you identify them. You can look through your current job description at the key skills that are required in your current job role. You can also take a short skills assessment on websites such as National Careers Service.
Here are some examples of transferable skills to get you started:
In every job, you will have communicated with people in some way, whether that is on the telephone, in person or via email. If you have worked with colleagues you will be used to developing your communication skills on a daily basis as you may be explaining things, discussing things, selling or planning.
This ability to communicate with a range of people, clearly – verbally and/or in writing – will be valued in any job or industry so is a key transferable skill to have.
Tip: Use phrases like ‘able to confidently communicate at any level’, ‘excellent listening skills’, ‘ability to compile and share reports and information’, ‘approachable’, in CV, application forms and covering letters to demonstrate communication skills.
You may have experience of using software such as Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint, using in-house computer-based systems or collaboration tools such as Trello, Asana, Slack or Microsoft Teams. In most jobs there will be a computer used in some way. For example, in a garage workshop there may be technology to diagnose faults, make bookings or take payments. Any experience you have of using IT is a valuable skill as it shows to employers you are able to use technology.
Tip: Phrases like ‘Microsoft Office proficient’, ‘diagnostic testing’ and ‘customer booking system’ all demonstrate IT skills.
If you have experience of handling change well, adapting to new ways of doing things or working with different teams and in different places, you have demonstrated flexibility. This is valued as a skill in any industry. Think of examples when you have had to adapt to change in some way and use this to demonstrate that you will be able to adapt to a new employer or in a new industry.
Tip: Use phrases such as ‘adaptable to meet the business’ needs’, ‘supported other departments’, ‘supported implementation of a new system’, are some ways to demonstrate flexibility in your CV or application.
Teamwork and people skills
Many roles will need you to work as part of a team so this is an essential skill that many employers will want to see. Have you worked as a part of a team, lead a project team or worked with others to reach a goal and make a difference? Teamwork is really valued across different sectors and job roles. Equally, if you have experience working with people or customers, there will be a range of skills you have developed such as good listening and questioning skills that can be used in any job that is customer facing, whether face to face or over the phone.
Tip: Phrases such as ‘together we achieved’, ‘collaborated with’, ‘worked alongside’, ‘supported with’, are all good ways to demonstrate teamwork and people skills.
Are you the sort of person that can be relied on to turn up and on time? Do you plan your work so you can meet deadlines or targets? Time management is something you may do naturally, whether this is in work or your home life, but is a great transferable skill to have in any workplace. Using time efficiently and ensuring jobs are completed on time is a major strength to have.
Tip: Use phrases such as ‘planning and organisation’, ‘efficient’, ‘problem solving’, ‘dependable’, ‘excellent diary management’, ‘target driven’ to show this.
If you need some help identifying your transferable skills or anything else, call us free on 08081 311 333 or chat with us online - we're here to help!
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