Transferable skills are talents and abilities that you can develop throughout your life. They are applicable in nearly all workplace situations and therefore highly desired by employers. In this article, we will take you through some transferable skill examples, how you can develop them, and how you can talk about them in interviews.
Transferable skills can be hard or soft. Take, for example, proficiency in Microsoft Excel, or strong leadership skills. However, they have in common that they will be useful no matter what route your career takes and are sought after by employers everywhere.
There are many transferable skills that you can develop over a lifetime. Far too many to include in one article. However, we have put together a short list of important skills you should be cultivating and communicating to employers:
1. Have a master CV for reference but edit and tailor your CV for every application.
2. Don’t just list every transferable skill you have, instead:
Analyse the job description: go through with a highlighter and find keywords that explicitly or indirectly indicate certain transferable skills. Make a note of these skills and think about where you have demonstrated them in your career or previous experience. Tailor your experiences on your CV to demonstrate how you have previously used and developed these skills.
Secondly, it is crucial to demonstrate transferable skills instead of merely stating them. Anyone can sprinkle their CV and cover letter with buzz words relating to transferable skills, and employers know this.
You need to prove that you have the attributes you are claiming you have. In your CV where you have limited space, take a relevant transferable skill, describe an achievement from your experience that required you to use this skill, and explain your role in securing this achievement.
When discussing your skills in an interview there’s an acronym that can help you out- PEE.
You may remember this from GCSE English as Point Evidence Explain, and it will come in handy in your interviews too:
Consider this scenario. You are being interviewed for a Paraplanner role at a Financial Services firm. You know that they want someone who is good at research, so plan to mention this in your interview.
It is not enough to state you have the transferable skill e.g “I’m really good at research”.
You also need to provide evidence to back up this claim e.g “I developed this skill at university and as a result, succeeded in receiving a first-class in my dissertation”
Then reference it back to the role you are interviewing for e.g “This would stand me in good stead when preparing the technical reports you mentioned”
If you think you could improve your transferable skills, it is very easy to invest time in doing so.
First of all, it is likely you possess more transferable skills than you think. Spend some time researching skills relevant to your field and note down times when you have used this skill. It may be that you have developed this skill without realising it, and spending some time thinking through your experience can help you to identify your transferable skills. It is also helpful to talk through your work experience with a friend. They can be more objective than yourself, in noticing your abilities and attributes.
There are many online courses you can take in professional capabilities that can supplement your CV and develop your transferable skills. LinkedIn and Google run many short professional courses that can broaden your horizons.
Volunteering is also a great way to develop transferable skills that can aid your career, whilst doing something fulfilling. Getting involved with a local charity will allow you to build leadership and team working skills, whilst doing something you love.