Career Advice

A Guide to Transferable Skills and How to Use Them in Your CV

transferable skills

One thing that often stops us going for that next job is a lack of skills, or at least our perceived lack of them.

The truth is that, if you look hard enough, you may well find that you’re better qualified than you think.

Everyone has transferrable skills

What are they? They’re the type of thing that can be applied to a wide range of jobs. For example, your great communication aren’t just useful in a world of sales but can be key components for jobs like project management and customer service.

Many management skills are considered transferrable – you might be moving into a different sector but those abilities are still vital. The thing to remember is that transferrable skills are more important than you think.

Many may consider them as ‘soft’ skills, but you wouldn’t be as good at your job if you didn’t have them. Transferrable skills are built up with time and through experience, for example, learning to work in a team or managing your own time all come with greater maturity. They are just the things employers are looking for.

How to Show Transferrable Skills on Your Application

It’s one thing to have these skills that you’ve picked up over time, the trick is bringing them across in your application when you go for a particular job. It’s not enough to simply say you have good time management skills – you need to demonstrate this in your career story. Even if you’re just starting out, there may well be incidences during your life so far where you have demonstrated these abilities.

Here’s one example:

“I have excellent leadership skills” doesn’t really say a lot. “I have excellent leadership skills demonstrated by how I took charge of a small team to raise money by running a marathon for charity.”

This shows you can manage people and motivate them to undertake something that most would consider difficult. There may be more concrete, career orientated examples you can include in your current CV. The time you organised a sales push or handled the marketing for a small company, for example. If you search your career to date, the chances are you’ll find a wide range of transferable skills.

The main ones tend to be:

  • Listening skills: Great if you’re going for a job like a help line where understanding customer needs is important.
  • Leadership skills: Important for any managerial or team building position.
  • Time management skills: The perfect skill needed for many busy offices where staff are often under pressure.
  • Communication skills: Vital for nearly all jobs nowadays.
  • Research skills: The ability to find out information is important in a number of sectors including product development and marketing.

When you’re interested in a job advert, it pays to take a good hard look at the specs and understand what basic skills are important to the role. A sales job will have different requirements to working at a university or school but there may well be several similarities.

Think about what transferable skills your potential employer is likely to be looking for and add them into your CV or application in a concise but revealing and engaging way.

Get it right and this will greatly strengthen your application and improve your chances of being asked for interview.