Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are skills you have acquired during various activities and aspects in your life that are transferable and applicable to your job search. In other words, they are skills that you already have that you can use in your new field of work or in the job position you are applying for. Don’t forget the skills that you use at your current job as well. Just because it may be a different line of work than the position you are applying for doesn’t mean another employer will not benefit.

Even though you may not realize it, you have a plethora of skills that you use daily, such as time management, leadership, multi-tasking, and so on.

Identifying Transferable Skills

This process begins by reflecting on all of your relevant experiences that may include work experience, academics, extracurricular activities, and life experiences. When identifying your transferable skills, consider these categories:

  • Communication (oral and written)
  • Interpersonal
  • Leadership
  • Organizational
  • Work Ethic & Personality Traits

Using Transferable Skills

Many of these categories are used in jobs that you will be applying for. Therefore, it would be to your benefit to include the skills you possess in these categories in your cover letter and on your resume, as these documents as well as interviews are the best ways to convey your transferable skills.

The goal is to show the employer that you have the skills needed to do the job. Evaluate the transferable skills you possess and choose the skills that you would use in the job you are applying for. Use these when creating your cover letter to demonstrate you are qualified for the position. When preparing for an interview, practice giving examples of situations in which you used these skills.

Examples of Transferable Skills

As a student, you use multi-tasking skills when balancing homework between several classes. You are able to meet deadlines when you turn a paper in on time. You conduct research for projects and papers. Additionally, you reach goals by working hard and earning the grades you want.

What if you are working at a job already but do not feel your skills will transfer to the job you want? Think again! Let’s use the example of a waitress who is applying for a secretarial position. A waitress uses multi-tasking skills by balancing the needs of several tables at once, provides customer service to her guests through conversation and handling conflicts, listens attentively as the guest requests food and beverage items and relays food orders from the guest to the cook staff. A secretary uses these skills everyday! A secretary uses multi-tasking skills when answering phones and assisting individuals in the office, customer service skills when working on the frontlines with customers to make a positive first impression, listening skills when determining customers’ and supervisors’ needs and relays information from customers to supervisors.

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