What are transferable skills?

Not sure you have the right skills for a role? You may be surprised…

Transferable skills are a great way to show you’re a great fit for the role, regardless of previous experience. And the best part? Everyone has them.

If you’re not sure how to make transferable skills work for you, here are a few things to remember:


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What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills are a core set of skills and abilities, which can be applied to a wide range of different jobs and industries.

They’re usually picked up over time, and can be gained from previous positions, charity or voluntary work, your hobbies, or even just at home.


Why are transferable skills important?

Although slightly softer skills than those directly related to a position, transferable skills are incredibly valuable to employers.

Not only do they show that you’d be a good fit for the team, they can also demonstrate what a candidate can bring to a role, and how much they’ve learnt from previous positions or experiences.

So if you’re currently lacking experience in the field you’re looking for work in, transferable skills can be a great way to highlight why you’re right for the role. Examples of when this can be helpful include entry-level positions, and those looking to change careers.

To find out more about how to make the most of your transferable skills, read our career change CV template.

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills


What are some examples of transferable skills?

Although this is by no means a comprehensive list, here are some great examples of transferable skills you can use in your CV:

  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Time management
  • Prioritisation
  • Delegation
  • Listening
  • Communication
  • Analytics
  • Research

If you’re not sure which ones you should include for a particular role – check the job description. Employers will often explicitly state their criteria, and much of this is made up of softer skills.

Simply pick out the words which seem most relevant, and think of ways you may be able to display similar attributes.

That way, all the guesswork is eliminated.

Five personal attributes valued by employers

What words should I use on my CV?


How do I demonstrate them on my CV?

OK, so everyone has some sort of transferable skills. But how do you show them to employers?

The most important thing to remember is to choose examples that you can practically demonstrate on your CV. Saying you’re excellent at analytics is good, but you won’t stand out from the crowd unless you can prove it.

So for each one, think of an example of how you’ve shown this skill. It could be in the workplace, or outside, as long as it effectively backs up your claim. For example:

Don’t say:  ‘Great leadership skills’

Do say: ‘Excellent leadership skills, demonstrated when I successfully managed a small team of individuals on a three day hike for a charity event’ 

Just make sure that you can back it up.

Recruiters will quickly realise if you’re not being truthful at the interview stage, so always steer clear of lying if you want to avoid embarrassing situations.

Five lines that are killing your CV

Does your CV pass the seven second test?


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