One often overlooked aspect of resume writing is properly highlighting transferable skills. In an effort to demonstrate their job-specific skills, many candidates disregard the fact that a good list of transferable skills can be just as important.
Showcasing such abilities in your resume is one of the best ways to portray yourself as a versatile and adaptable candidate. In this article, we’ll explore what exactly makes these skills valuable, how to identify which transferable skills you own, and how to communicate that information effectively in your resume.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Transferable skills are also known as soft or interpersonal skills. They are a combination of personal traits and abilities that make you more efficient, communicative, productive, and so on.
You can identify your soft skills in many ways—through practicing self-reflection, relying on online resources, asking others for feedback, examining your hobbies and interests, and more.
There are many different transferable skills, with some of the most sought-after being problem-solving, communication, management, flexibility, critical thinking, etc.
You should demonstrate your transferable skills by linking them to relevant achievements in your resume work history, objective, and summary, as well as adding them to a skills section.
What Are Transferable Skills & Why Are They Important?
Transferable skills are abilities that can be applied to various jobs and industries. Or, as their name suggests, they can be transferred from one role or situation to another.
They are also known as soft or interpersonal skills, and you can develop them both in your personal and professional lives. As a result, everyone has some transferable skills, meaning everyone could add some to their resume. They represent a mix of personality traits, personal attributes, and social graces that allow you to interact with others and be more efficient.
Transferable skills can make you easier to work with, more productive, communicative, efficient, and so on. However, the benefits of listing these skills on your resume go beyond describing those particular abilities.
For example, if you’re changing jobs or even switching careers entirely, you can highlight certain transferable skills you picked up in your previous jobs to make your resume more impactful. Moreover, they are also great at portraying you as a flexible and multi-skilled candidate.
How to Identify Your Transferable Skills
Unlike hard skills, which are often easily measured (through tests or quizzes) and proven (through diplomas or certifications), soft, transferable skills are much harder to assess and evaluate.
Not only that, but it can sometimes be challenging to identify which transferable skills you have, which is why we compiled a list of tips to help you do that:
You can reflect on your past experiences and examine the tasks and responsibilities you’ve had. Then you can deduce which transferable skills you used to perform those tasks.
Feel free to ask your former colleagues and supervisors or even your friends to tell you which soft skills they recognize in you.
Examine your hobbies and interests to find out which abilities you actually use in your personal life. For example, if you’re good at planning and organizing big family vacations, you could consider adding transferable organizational skills to your resume.
There are plenty of online resources that can help you identify your soft skills and even illuminate areas that can be improved.
You should always review the job posting. That will help you create a list of skills recruiters are looking for and also discover ones you might not have known you had.
Top 13 Essential Transferable Skills To Include in Your Resume
Not only are there a lot of transferable skills that can be used in almost any job on the market, but many of them are also linked together. That means that proficiency in a certain transferable skill usually indicates that you have several other related abilities as well.
Let’s see some of the best ones you can include in your resume.
Problem-solving refers to a person’s ability to identify and analyze the problem before finding a solution. It’s a complex and valuable skill that requires several key abilities, including critical thinking, creativity, decision-making, and reasoning.
All this makes problem-solving beneficial in many different contexts, both in the workplace and in personal life. Being able to effectively solve problems can help you drive success, whether you’re facing a technical challenge, an interpersonal conflict, or a difficult decision.
In essence, problem-solving skills represent a strong foundation for other soft skills. They can help you overcome challenges with confidence and resilience.
Communication is often a critical soft skill that involves the exchange of information and ideas. In the workplace, strong communication skills can help you build and maintain good relationships, collaborate with others effectively, and achieve goals more easily.
To be effective at communicating, you need several other vital abilities, such as:
To some degree, communication and its related abilities are used in every profession and every job. However, if you work in fields like healthcare, law, sales, marketing, management, or education, all of these transferable skills are pretty much a must-have.
Now that we've mentioned management as a career, it’s only fair we talk about management as a transferable skill, as it’s a more prominent one. It involves effective coordination of people, resources, and processes to reach particular goals.
Management is another complex and multifaceted transferable skill. By demonstrating it on your resume, you also convey that you have strong technical and interpersonal skills and a good sense of strategy.
Effective management also includes the following abilities:
Management skills are valued in many industries and positions, not just strictly management roles, and often play crucial roles in the success of teams and organizations.
Flexibility describes your ability to adapt to new situations and face challenges in a positive and effective manner. It’s becoming one of the most sought-after transferable skills in today’s fast-paced work environment, where problems, obstacles, and conditions can come up and change quickly.
To be flexible at work, you usually need to have a number of other important soft skills, such as:
#5. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking involves analyzing and evaluating information systematically and objectively. It’s a valuable transferable skill that can help you understand complex concepts, make informed decisions, and solve difficult problems.
Critical Thinking Skills
Like many other soft skills, critical thinking encompasses a number of other abilities, including:
Collaboration is an essential skill in team-oriented professional environments. It enables you to effectively work with others to reach a common goal. This ability involves proper communication, cooperation, and coordination among team members, as well as the power to balance everyone’s interests.
In addition to communication and coordination, collaboration also relates to some of the following skills:
All of these skills are highly valued in many industries. However, you particularly want to emphasize collaboration on your resume if you’re going for a position that involves working on team projects, leading a group of people, or even interacting with coworkers and supervisors frequently.
#7. Analytical Skills
Analytical skills involve making informed decisions by understanding large amounts of data. By utilizing this ability, you can break down complex information into smaller parts, evaluate data, find patterns, and discover relationships between different elements.
They are particularly useful in the fields of finance, research, management, and data analysis, making them perfect when you’re writing a resume for a role in one of those careers. On top of that, by demonstrating them on your resume, you’re also indirectly conveying that you possess other transferable skills, such as:
Analytical Skills Examples
Attention to detail
Teamwork as a skill is rather similar to collaboration in many ways. It’s also a complex combination of abilities that allows you to communicate, cooperate, and coordinate with others toward a common goal. It also shows that you are good at resolving conflicts and that you are a flexible person.
However, there’s one key difference between collaboration and teamwork. Collaboration involves multiple people working on the same project collaboratively. On the other hand, teamwork combines the individual efforts of multiple members of the same team to accomplish a mutual goal.
Depending on the role that you’re applying for and your responsibilities, you’ll want to list one or the other.
#9. Attention To Detail
Attention to detail is a skill that involves closely concentrating on the smallest details in a task, project, or situation. It gives you the ability to look at information carefully and make sure nothing is missed.
Attention To Detail Skills
Effective attention to detail requires several important abilities, including:
If you’re in the industries like finance, quality assurance, or data analysis, transferable skills such as attention to detail will allow you to do sought-after high-quality and precise work.
#10. Creative Thinking
The ability to think creatively allows you to generate new and innovative ideas. It can also help you approach challenges and obstacles in imaginative ways to potentially come up with better solutions.
This makes this transferable skill particularly wanted in creative fields like design, marketing, and product development. Furthermore, by including creative thinking in your resume, you also highlight other relevant traits and abilities, such as:
Creative Thinking Skills
Organization can be a crucial transferable skill whether you’re managing complex projects, leading large-scale teams, or simply trying to stay on top of your daily tasks. It enables you to manage time and resources effectively and make sure that everything is in order.
Here are some examples of transferable skills highly related to organization:
Attention to detail
#12. Stress Management
Stress management is another skill that’s becoming increasingly important in a modern, fast-paced, and ever-changing work environment. It can help you effectively cope with stress and requires a combination of physical, emotional, and mental strategies to maintain a balance between professional work and personal life.
Stress Management Skills
The benefits of proper stress management are numerous, including:
Maintaining overall well-being
Improving long-term performance and productivity
#13. Emotional Intelligence
In essence, emotional intelligence allows you tounderstand and manage your own emotions. In turn, that can help you effectively interact with others. It’s a complex mixture of traits and abilities that involves several competencies, like:
Emotional Intelligence Skills
Emotional intelligence and empathy can be instrumental in building effective relationships and resolving conflicts, as well as leading and motivating others. That makes them essential for managers, healthcare workers, sales specialists, and more.
How to Demonstrate Transferable Skills in Your Resume
Transferable skills are usually a must-have for a good resume. They can be particularly important if you lack enough relevant hard skills, which happens when you’re switching careers or beginning your professional journey, for example.
However, we've already said that it can be hard to measure transferable skills, which makes it even more important to show them in relation to concrete, real-world examples.
Let’s start by learning how to choose which transferable skills to add to your resume. You can do that in three easy steps:
Research the job ad and make a list of skills recruiters are looking for
Create a comprehensive list of your transferable skills
Compare those two lists, and you’ll have the right set of transferable skills
Once your collection of transferable skills is ready, you can start showcasing the most important ones throughout your resume. One of the best ways to do that is to put them in the work experience section. By using them next to precise numbers, catchy action verbs, and relevant achievements, you’ll be able to make your transferable skills pop.
The resume summary and objective are also parts of your resume where you can do the same. Since these sections go at the beginning of the document, you should emphasize your strongest transferable skills there.
Lastly, you should create a brief skills section in your resume where you should list both hard and soft skills to give them more prominence. However, remember to keep hard (job-specific) and soft (transferable) skills separate due to their vast differences.
To sum it up, transferable skills are a valuable asset to highlight on your resume. Many recruiters look for them on people’s resumes in order to differentiate between candidates with similar qualifications.
Moreover, since they can be obtained through real-life experience as well as carried over from another line of work, they are perfect for entry-level applicants and career switchers. For all these reasons, you should do your best to properly showcase your strongest transferable skills and those that recruiters are looking for the most.