Transferable skills are typically general skills you can use across multiple jobs and sectors. You gain these skills from previous employment, voluntary work, your home life, sports, hobbies, school and further education, just about anywhere. They enable you to be adaptable and flexible in case you need to change jobs in the future.
The good news is you already have transferable skills; you’ve been developing such skills throughout your life. Even if you’ve never had a job before, you will have a set of transferable skills.
Lack of direct experience isn’t necessarily a barrier to a new job. If you’re changing careers, have recently graduated or are looking for your first job, you’ll be pleased to know that employers are often looking for potential. It is vital that you sell your potential to employers by demonstrating the transferable skills that you have already developed.
Employers are usually looking for abilities and qualities that they recognise to be present in the most effective employees. These soft skills, such as being able to communicate effectively, showing initiative, creativity, having a good work attitude etc are all valuable skills suited to all jobs and sectors.
How Do I know What Transferable Skills I Already Have?
You can use this activity to help you identify some of your transferable skills needed to improve your employability. By rating yourself on these skills, you can see where your strengths and weaknesses lie. You can then use this information to look for opportunities to practice your undeveloped skills so that in an interview you will be able to provide the employer with examples of the skills they’re looking for.
You can download the activity sheet here and print it.
While doing the exercise, consider all of your experience to date. This can come from school, college or university, hobbies, previous work experience, voluntary work, raising a child; think outside of the box.
Now you have a clearer picture of your transferable skills, you can use these in your future job applications to aid you in your job search. If you have some skills marked as “Some Experience” or “No Experience”, take the opportunity to look for ways to grow these skills. A great way to do this is through voluntary work as this will give you evidence of a working environment, further enhancing your chances of securing employment.
If you’re struggling to write a great CV then use our FREE CV Builder to get you started.
Other soft skills employers may be looking for are:
Speaking in a group
Getting people to talk
A good listener
Proof reading accurately
Putting across another’s viewpoint
Using words appropriately
Following written instructions
Good at maths
An eye for detail
Able to use own initiative
Good team player
Able to supervise others
Work well under pressure
Driving a car
Applying first aid
Finding out how things work
Good hand/eye co-ordination
Co-operation with others
Leading a group
Working in a group