When you read job adverts, you probably notice the same words over and over again. That’s because employers understand that no matter what the job role, skills like leadership, communication and people management are essential for any career.
This transferability of skills is great news if you’re thinking of changing your career. Even if you want to move into a new industry or role, previous skills acquired will help you take an effective first step.
What are transferable skills?
Skill transfer is the reason employers put so much value on experience. When you move from one job to another, you take certain sets of skills with you. Some of these might be very specific to the job you’ve just left but others will be useful in any role. These make up your transferable skills list.
Why are transferable skills important?
Transferable skills tend to be associated with self-determination and working easily with other people. Employers see them as an indicator of your potential. If you don’t have the specific abilities required for a job role, your transferable skills
can demonstrate your capacity and willingness to learn.
This is why it’s vital to include all your transferable skills on your resume.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember when you’re considering your personal job skills list is that your transferable skills are the ones most likely to help you move from career to career.
What is an example of a transferable skill?
In the busy and often complicated world of work, one great example of a transferable skill would be the ability to multitask.
People who are good at multitasking can complete several actions at the same time. This means they can be relied on to get results when that’s what’s really needed. Being able to multitask is particularly important when you start a new role because you’ll initially have so much to learn.
Imagine yourself on your first day in a new job. You’ll probably need to learn everyone’s name, understand new processes, contact customers, and even work out where the bathroom is. Unless you can multitask, you’re going to find all of that difficult. New employers really value multitasking because work environments are so busy.
You might even find you get asked a question about it at an interview.
What are the top 10 transferable skills?
As well as multitasking there are plenty of other transferable skills that can take you from one job to another. Have a look at our top ten job skills list below. Think about which you already have and how you could demonstrate them at an interview. If there were any you are unsure about, it would be a really good idea to think about how further training could help you start to develop them.
Good team players always do their share of the work. They are also good at empathising with other people, understanding strengths and weaknesses and making necessary compromises. An effective team
is one of the most important assets in any organisation. You’ll almost certainly be asked about this one at the interview.
No matter what the job role, problems will inevitably occur. Problem-solving can involve specific skills but it’s also about having the right mental attitude. Bosses are always looking for the ‘bring me a solution’ approach from employees because it relieves some of the pressure on them.
Even in non-management roles, you’d be surprised how often you’re required to take a lead in some way.
Whether you’re leading other people or overseeing a project, good leadership involves vision, organisation and influence. It’s easy to see why this one is so near the top of many employers’ transferable skills checklist.
Being able to communicate well isn’t just about making sure the job gets done. Good communication skills will also help you to better understand the people you are working with. Leading directly into great leadership and teamwork, good communication is essential for productivity; in whichever industry you want to work in.
If you’re thinking of making a career move into a new field or industry, adaptability is going to be really important. Many of today’s businesses are experiencing a time of rapid change. Learning new skills and ways of working can be hard work, especially if you have to do it quickly. Just like anything however, you can get better at adaptability with practice.
Attention to detail
All bosses like accuracy and consistency. Getting things right the first time ultimately saves money. Missing small errors can sometimes lead to big costs. The thoroughness you’ve learned in your current job will almost certainly serve you well in your next one.
Although there are plenty of creative jobs out there - creativity isn’t just about being artistic. In the workplace, creative people are an asset because they have interesting ideas and come up with innovative ways to solve problems. If you can demonstrate an ability to think outside the box, you’re likely to impress any employer in any industry.
When you make a career change you have a lot of learning to do. This is made easier with good critical thinking skills. A critical thinker likes to understand the links between ideas and is adept at balancing facts and opinions. Critical thinking is a transferable skill because it can be applied to problem solving in a whole range of situations.
Active listening involves the ability to focus completely on what someone else is saying. It’s not hard to see the benefits this can bring to any workplace. Not only do active listeners help other people feel heard, they can also help you be seen as a trusted and collaborative colleague.
Being confident can be a mixed blessing, especially in the workplace. Overconfidence can sometimes be confused with arrogance. However, self-confidence is all about understanding what you are good at. The more of that you can bring to a workplace, the better your communication, assertiveness and productivity will be.
Get ready for your new career
Don’t be surprised if you recognise gaps in your transferable skills list. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, you might be really creative but need to work on your communication skills. One of the best ways to improve your transferable skillset is to study for a new nationally-recognised qualification.
Upskilled's online courses provide plenty of opportunities to do this and are often transferable between careers. The other great thing about online learning is that it gives you the flexibility to study when you can fit it in. Something you’ll be grateful for as you prepare for your next great career move.
Fi is a professional copywriter based in Devon, England. She specialises in education, careers, travel and outdoor writing and is the co-author of the popular daily outdoor blog 'Two Blondes Walking'. Fi has written three children's books and, when she isn't writing, Fi loves to gather inspiration from long walks, early morning sea swims and winter wild camps.