8 transferable skills to help you transform your career (2023)

decision onecareer change-be throughslip into a new rolein your current organization, moving to a new company or a complete industry change - it can be exciting. However, for someone who has been out of the workforce for a few years, this kind of change can also feel overwhelming.

In addition to choosing the right companies and jobs to apply to, it's important to consider how to go about it.update your resumein a way that demonstrates to hiring managers the value you can add to their organization. Depending on the nature of the career transition, this could mean finding creative ways to better align the tasks you perform in your current role with the tasks that await you in your next role.

However, tasks and job descriptions rarely match perfectly. Instead, career experts suggest thinking about your resume.Skillsrather thantasks. ask yourself:What skills am I using in my current role that will translate well into my next one?The skills you identify in this exercise are called "transferable skills" and learning how to identify them can have a significant impact on your job search.

What are transferable skills?

The termtransferable skillsrefers to any talent or skill that can be applied to various jobs, roles, or industries. These skills are not dependent on the specific role you are performing, but they run deeper. Often these skills will be honed as your career progresses.

Consider this:

Imagine, for example, that you work as a book editor at a publishing company, but would like to change careers to another sector. While most of your experience may be related to publishing - suggesting titles, editing their authors, directing book design, etc. - Over the course of your career, you've likely built up a set of transferable skills that will allow you to succeed in many other industries as well. For example, you likely have advanced communication, writing, and project management skills from years of mentoring books through the publishing process. These skills could lead to a role in marketing, journalism, or even a roleCorporate Communications. Whichever path you choose, the transferable skills and experience you gained in publishing will still benefit your next role, even if indirectly.

The best transferable skills for career changers

Transferable skills come in a variety of forms. While some are more focused on a specific industry or role - making them ideal for highlighting if you're simply trying to transform the company - others are broader in scope and therefore more relevant to broader career changes.

Keep reading to learn about some of the top transferable skills to include on your resume when applying for a job.

1. Branchenexpertise

Whether you're looking for a new role at your current company or moving to another company in your current industry, demonstrating your relevant experience is essential to landing the job you want. (It is also not uncommon for this to be called "domain expertise".)

Fortunately, industry experience is one of the most easily transferable skills to demonstrate. Just being able to show how much time you've spent in the field and the types of projects you've managed in your current and previous roles will likely be enough to show whether you really are an expert or not.

2. Communication skills

Regardless of the industry you work (or hope to work) in, you have an appropriatecommunication skillsis essential for success.

In communication-oriented roles, it's easy to see why. Any marketing or public relations position, for example, will likely require advanced communication skills just because of the nature of the job.

This is also the case in professions that are not as communicative with the outside world. For example, even highly technical tasks require you to be able to communicate effectively with colleagues, management, key stakeholders, vendors, contractors and others, even if this is not the core aspect of your job. Whether that communication is verbal, written or visual, all employees must be able to demonstrate that they can articulate their ideas effectively and justify their arguments efficiently and effectively.

Rather than just listing "communication skills" on your resume, it's important that job seekers find creative ways to demonstrate these skills during the application process. A well-written cover letter addresses your written communication skills better than simply listing the skills on your resume, for example. If you are specifically applying for a communications-oriented role, also consider creating apattern portfoliothat you can share with the hiring manager to better illustrate the extent of your experience. Regardless of the type of position you are applying for, highlighting this skill will go a long way in demonstrating your abilities as an employee.

3. Analytical skills

analytical skillsare similar to communication skills in that they are important no matter what industry you work in or what job you are applying for.analytical skillsare critical to success today, as data drives modern business in ways unthinkable just a few years ago. Many industries and roles, including ones you might not be expecting right nowuse datadaily or almost daily, making analytical skills an essential part of your transferable skills toolkit.

For example, healthcare professionals now have access to more patient information than ever before, which they use to eliminate inefficiencies and improve patient outcomes.medical professionalswith analytical skills are able to interpret this information to identify which patients are at greater risk of complications and create protocols to prevent them. In another example, communication professionals can now very easily segment their audience and A/B test communication campaigns, analyzing which version of their content performs best to make more informed decisions in the future. These are just two examples of a variety of careers that can benefit from employees with analytical skills.

Show off your analytical skills on your resumeand cover letters describing projects that required you to rely on those skills. You should also list any relevant software programs you used in your most recent role and the role each played in your job to show that you have a working understanding of these tools.

4. Project Management

In most roles, regardless of job title or description, you are likely to have some responsibility for overseeing at least part of a project. if you arelead a teamWhether it's developing or bringing a product or service to market, or overseeing organizational change, the skills you gain from leading a task (or team) to completion can be effectively transferred to a variety of roles.

While there are many skills that can fall under the field of project management, these are two of the most important.Time managementegeneral organization. Each of these skills demonstrates that you know how to stick to a schedule, prioritize, and easily manage your and your team's time to meet deadlines and accomplish tasks.

The best way to teach these project management skills to recruiters is to reference projects you've managed in the past on your resume.and cover letter. Depending on how often you will be using these skills at work or for the role you are applying for, you can drill down into projects you have managed in the past or simply use them as part of a larger example of your work.Even if these skills seem unrelated to the position you are applying for, a successfully completed project can speak volumes about your skills.

5. Leadership Qualities

Emeffective leaderis hard to come by, which can make a candidate with solid leadership skills a coveted position in many organizations. For this reason, properly demonstrating your leadership skills on a resume or cover letter is an essential component to standing out in a hiring process.

If you currently work in an executive or management position, that experience should be easy to convey on a resume. However, for those who are not currently in leadership roles, try to identify specific instances in your past work experience where you were encouraged to do so.assume managerial responsibility, and be sure to address these instances in your cover letter and any subsequent discussions.

6. Teamwork and Collaboration

Many organizations are specifically looking for new hires who have proven to be team players who know how to work together, and that's understandable. They want to hire people who not only excel in their own roles, but who are willing and able to help the good of the company when needed.

For this reason, many companies ask questions during an interview to help them understand whether or not you value teamwork and collaboration to the degree required for the job. Be prepared to share past examples that have allowed you to demonstrate your willingness to work together and for the good of the organization.

7. Creativity and critical thinking

In recent years, many companies have recognized the value that creativity and critical thinking can bring to an organization.

For individuals working in creative industries such as fine arts, design or marketing, the need for individuals with these skills has always been clearer given the need for creativity to carry out the tasks associated with these roles.

But even in industries that aren't typically considered "creative," these skills can be incredibly valuable. Creative people are known for coming up with ideas that push boundaries and approach problems from new angles, which can lead to unexpected innovations and solutions.

However, it's important to note that creativity is not just about "creating ideas", because creativity without execution is useless. For this reason, it's important that in your application you can show hiring managers that you not only know how to come up with creative ideas, but that you also have the tools and focus to turn those ideas into action and turn them into results.

8. Adaptability

Adaptability refers to a person's ability to adapt to changing situations. With organizations of all sizes and industries undergoing almost constant change, this is perhaps one of the most important skills on this list.

For example, in a start-up company, the environment can be extremely volatile, with roles changing monthly or even weekly as challenges arise and the business plan evolves. Established companies may also face organizational changes or pressures that force them to change in some way. Having a team willing and able to adapt to these challenges is critical to tackling the unknowns that come with doing business.

On your resume or cover letter, be sure to highlight any instances where you've been able to adapt to your company's changing needs. The importance of this particular skill may also prompt hiring managers to share this with you in your interview in the form of an interview question such as "Describe a situation where you had to think quickly," or "How do you deal with high pressure situations?"As long as you don't ask questions directly"How adaptable are you?', subtly prompting the two of you to offer some insight into how easily you handle change.

How to demonstrate transferable skills

YourProceedeLetter of interestare your first impressions of hiring managers. That's why it's important that each of these documents effectively communicate who you are and why you, especially other candidates, are the ideal hire. This includes what transferable skills you have and how those skills match up with specific role work.

While your cover letter and resume are an essential part of communicating your transferable skills, this is important.Your resume is not just your cover letter.in ball shape. Your cover letter should include descriptive examples that reflect your transferable skills, while your resume should directly list a variety of other transferable skills that may not directly match the job description, but which you can elaborate on during an interview.

The application materials themselves can also be used as tools to demonstrate your transferable skills - rather than listing them. In your cover letter, focus on the quality of your writing to demonstrate your communication skills, detail achievements and show initiatives on your resume to demonstrate your ability to work in a team, manage projects, etc. about scheduling your interview to demonstrate your adaptability. The reflections you make on these aspects of your application at this stage will help you to reach the next stages of the hiring process.

Another way to effectively demonstrate a range of transferable skills during the application process is to earn a degree that is somehow related to the career or industry you are pursuing. Hiring managers quickly scan resumes for key points that indicate skills and knowledge to narrow down a large batch of applicants. educational achievements (e.g.,whether you have a degree or not, what kind of degree, etc.) are not only important differentiators, but also express your commitment to continuous personal and professional development.

Are you thinking about going back to school to gain the skills you need for a career change? If so, we guarantee that aUniversity degree worth iteat your reach.learn moreExplore Northeast Bachelor's ProgramsorGet advice from a student advisortoday.


What are the 8 transferable skills? ›

Important Transferable Skills
  • Critical thinking. Critical thinking is one of the most sought-after skills that an employer wants their staff members to possess. ...
  • Leadership. ...
  • Problem solving. ...
  • Teamwork. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • Listening. ...
  • Attention to detail. ...
  • Computer skills.

What are transferable skills for career development? ›

Transferable skills, or portable skills, are all the skills that you take with you from one job to another. The ability to clearly communicate ideas to others, solve unexpected problems, or work well in a team are all examples of transferable skills.

How are transferable skills important to career growth? ›

Transferable skills are universally essential. They contribute to your success and the success of a team, customer, or organization. In addition, they allow you to take control over your career path and ease the stress experienced in transitional times, such as a promotion or career change.

What are the 8 essential skills? ›

The eight essential skills are listening, speaking, problem-solving, creativity, staying positive, aiming high, leadership, and teamwork. The skills cover communication, creative problem solving, self-management, and interpersonal skills.

What is an example of a transferable skill? ›

Transferable skills, as the name suggests, are skills you can transfer from one job to another. These may be soft skills, like collaboration and problem-solving, or hard skills, such as data analytics or coding.

What are the 5 categories of transferable skills? ›

Transferable skills are competencies that can easily transfer from one job to another. Many technical skills, critical thinking skills, analytical skills, writing skills, verbal communication skills, and leadership skills can apply to a range of jobs.

How do you list transferable skills? ›

Your transferable skills list should be included towards the top of your resume, underneath the summary section. Present it as a bulleted list and consider giving it the title "Core Qualifications," or simple "Skills."

What are the 7 fundamental skills? ›

The seven fundamental movement skills aim to improve a child's coordination, balance and control.
What are the seven fundamental movement skills?
  • Running.
  • Jumping.
  • Coordination.
  • Throwing.
  • Catching.
  • Kicking.
  • Striking.

How many transferable skills are there? ›

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. There are certain keywords in almost every job posting that relate to skills: communication, multitasking, teamwork, creativity, critical thinking and leadership.

What are the 6 major skills? ›

Six of the most important skills, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) are problem-solving skills, the ability to work in a team, a strong work ethic, analytical and quantitative skills, communication skills, and leadership qualities.


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