Using Transferable Skills to Land the Job You Want

transferable skills

When you look at a job posting, you will usually see a summary of what the job is and what you’d be doing in the role, then there is also a section listing the skills and experience the ideal candidate should have. While there is usually a handful of job or industry-specific skills on that list, you will typically also find a lot of general hard and soft skills like working collaboratively, public speaking, and basic computer knowledge. Transferable skills are what you can take with you to any job regardless of the role or industry. 

As an employee, when, where, and how you mastered these general skills is irrelevant. All that matters is that you possess them and bring them into the office with you to perform your job well. Once you’ve mastered these types of skills, you can take and use them anywhere, which is why they’re referred to as transferable. These are the kinds of skills that can serve you just as well at home or in your social life as they do at work, and you probably have a lot more of them than you realize. 

What Are Transferable Skills?

Transferable skills are both hard and soft skills that you’ve acquired throughout your life in various settings. Some of these skills you may have mastered before you even graduated high school, others from managing a family calendar, and others you learned on the job. These skills can benefit you in multiple areas of life and you take them with you wherever you go—including your career. Some common transferable skills include:

  • Typing 

  • Basic Math

  • Time Management

  • Motivation / Drive

  • Delegation 

  • Troubleshooting and Problem Solving

  • Written and Verbal Communication

  • Public Speaking

  • Customer Service and Relationship Management

  • Teamwork

  • Sales

  • Conflict Management

  • Accounting / Bookkeeping 

  • Researching and Data Gathering

  • Collaboration 

  • Budget Management and Oversight

  • Supervision and Leadership

  • Contract Negotiations 

  • Basic Computer Skills 

  • Record Management

  • Data Entry

  • Organization 

  • Prioritization 

  • Vendor Management 

  • Event Planning 

  • Record Keeping 

📖Read more: Learn how to add new skills to your resume by reframing your experience. 

Identifying Your Transferable Skills 

There are so many different transferable skills that it’s easy to overlook all of yours. Getting your kids dropped off at school and making it to your desk on time every morning may seem like everyday life for you, but that’s a perfect example of time management. Coordinating your neighborhood’s annual summer party might be something you just enjoy doing. Still, you may also be using your skills in event planning, scheduling, and possibly vendor management and or contract negotiation. Transferable skills often hide in the routines that seem unremarkable. You just have to know how to find them. 

Pull up a few different job descriptions. They don’t have to relate to a job type or industry (in fact, it’s better if they aren’t),, but they should have a list of required skills. Take a look at them all and see where there are overlaps, and remember that basically anything that is not specific to that role could be considered a transferable skill. Now, make a list of what you find, even if you don’t think you possess some skills. 

Next, think about your day-to-day life on this list. Go through your day from start to finish, including everything you do at home and work. Are you the one responsible for managing your family spending and making sure all of the bills are paid on time? That’s essential budget management. Do you strategically schedule your kids’ doctor appointments based on your and or your partner’s work calendars? That’s time management, and in some cases, may even be problem-solving. 

Finally, look at the things you do outside of your daily routine. Things like volunteering at your kids’ school or coaching their sports teams, the annual records audit you do at work, serving on your HOA board, planning fundraisers for a non-profit you’re a part of. All of these little things that might seem like one-off occurrences require specific skills to do them successfully, and chances are high that many of those skills could be considered transferable. 

So, if you’ve taken a career pause, don’t disregard all that you’ve been doing during this time because there are probably still plenty of skills you’ve mastered that will help you succeed professionally (and help a company achieve its goals).

transferable skills

The key here is to remember that these skills do not have to come from the workplace. The key here is to remember that these skills do not have to come from the workplace. Every experience counts when it comes to transferable skills. 

Showcasing Your Transferable Skills

Though some of these skills may seem pretty generic, they’re still going to help you land the job you want, so you want to make sure potential employers see them. There are a few places and ways to share this information, which are equally as important as the next. 

Personal Website: If you have a personal website or online portfolio, create an “About Me” page where recruiters and hiring managers can click and get a brief glimpse of who you are and what you bring to the table. This section should be a little less formal (but still professional) than the summary on your resume because you’ll likely be adding more personal touches to it. However, it should still include a similar overview that highlights your skills and experience. 

Resume: There are many different layout options for a resume, but all of them should include a section dedicated to your skillset. Even if you’re trying to condense as much as possible to fit more career accomplishments onto the page, do not skip over this section. It is a quick and easy way for a hiring manager to see whether or not you have the skills needed for the job. If your resume clarifies that you do possess the necessary skills, then it’s much more likely that a recruiter or hiring manager will keep reading to learn more. 

📖Read more: Discover how to write your resume to sell your story and get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers. 

LinkedIn: There are many parts to a LinkedIn profile, so it’s easy to miss the “Skills & Endorsements” section at the bottom of the page. That doesn’t mean the section isn’t essential, though because it is and even if the casual job seeker overlooks it, a recruiter won’t. So, fill it out and put your most important skills at the top so that they stand out. Also, reach out to coworkers or other people in your network to see if they’d be willing to endorse any of those skills to help add authority to them. 

In-Person: Whether you’re at a professional event or in an interview, you will probably have an opportunity to talk a little about yourself and your experience (or give your elevator pitch). Undoubtedly, there are many highlights you’d like to cover, but since you should try to keep it under a minute long, prioritize what you share and sprinkle in some of your skills when telling the story. Just remember to make sure all of the information flows well together and that none of the skills you mention seem out of the left field for the conversation. 

Transferable Skills Acknowledge How Hard You Work

Since transferable skills are often so general and can come from something as mundane as managing your family’s calendar, it’s easy to minimize or dismiss them entirely. By doing this, you’re not only hurting your chances of landing a job, but you’re also diminishing all of the hard work you do (and yes, flawlessly managing a family calendar is tough work).

transferable skills

Collectively, these skills are what make you so valuable to an employer, and it doesn’t matter how you mastered them as long as you can implement them into your work. Those skills help you do so much for so many people, so let them help you grow professionally, too. 

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