Don’t Underestimate the Value of Your Transferable Skills


Check out the transferable skills that you should include in your resume.

Before you start considering what job to apply for, or start thinking about writing a résumé, do you know what you have to offer? What do you bring to the table? You need to know very clearly what you have to offer as an individual. What are your transferable skills?

“This above all, to thine own self be true.”  – William Shakespeare

What are your transferable skills?

Your skills, knowledge and attributes

The skills you have acquired throughout your life, at work, and in the rest of your life through family commitments or interests, are not isolated to that particular context.  They are transferable to your new working environment.  Take the time to recognize themes as it is often the skills or knowledge that you take for granted which give you a unique point of difference from other job applicants.

Personality and values

Your personality traits are an integral part of you and will impact on how you deal with many different aspects of the new work, such as stress or change, and particularly on how you will interact with work colleagues.

Your core values are at the heart of who you are as a person, your integrity and your ethics.  They determine the decisions you make and the sort of work environment where you will be comfortable. Often what seems like an interest in your life, something unrelated to your worklife, is actually the reflection of a deeply held core value that should be considered when you are considering a new job or career change.

Passions and interests

Your passions and interests are clues about what you would love to have incorporated into your work. However don’t make the mistake of thinking that those clues, those interests and passions, must be directly translated into an occupation. You should not ignore them but think of them like cryptic clues!

What transferable skills have those interests developed in you?

Consider what transferable skills you have developed because of those interests.  When you really care about something most people take the time to learn whatever they need to know to follow their passions. At the same time as developing skills and knowledge they are also developing personal skills, perhaps team work, patience, or communication, all vital skills in the workforce.

Go deeper…What it is that you really like about your special interest?  For example you may love gardening.  It is the joy of being outdoors, or is it the plant biology?  Is it the peace and tranquility you get when gardening, or the challenge of having the best garden in your suburb?  Is it the appeal of being environmentally friendly in your garden and creating a sustainable ecosystem?  Could it be the money-saving or health-giving benefits of having fresh organic vegetables and herbs growing in your garden?  Is it simply your time away from everyone

Transferable skills can be developed through all parts of your life

Your transferable skills, the skills you take from one job to another, are frequently skills that you have developed through your own personal life, not just skills that have been learned on the job. Consider these skills…

  • Technical skills and Technology
  • Critical Thinking (Problem-Solving, Research, Planning and Analytical)
  • Multitasking (Personal Motivation, Organisation and Time Management)
  • Creativity
  • Team Work
  • Leadership
  • Communication (Verbal, Listening, and Writing)

Can You Include Transferable Skills in a Resume?

When you write a winning résumé you must consider whether you are writing it for the job you’re already performing or for the one you’d like to perform. There’s a big difference, and that’s a trap. Write your résumé to fit the job you want.  Do not just regurgitate the responsibilities of the old job. Think about your transferable skills.

Transferable Skills To Make Your Resume Stand Out

Before you start writing anything you need to have a strong understanding of what will make your résumé stand out from the crowd.

What can you do if you know you have the ability and skills to do a job but your current work role does not really indicate your capabilities? This is where some clever writing can help your application. You need to tailor a winning résumé to suit the job you are applying for.

Obviously your experience, achievements and qualifications must be in your resume. The reader of your resume is expecting to see these elements and they are important to your chances of success. But what if they don’t create the image of someone who is perfect for the new job? That’s where the third element comes into play.

Why Transferable Skills are Important

Experiences or achievements which were not part of your employment but are very relevant to the application can be highlighted. They can be used to illustrate your versatility and your all-round capabilities.

transferable skills on a resumeConsider all your transferable skills that have been developed through your personal life as well as your career.  So many skills are developed and strengthened throughout your life.  Consider your involvement in clubs, sport, children’s school and sporting activities, service and religious groups, community involvement etc.  Create a list of all the things you have done that are NOT work related, then list the skills you developed through those activities and interests. Save the list so you can refer back to it if you are preparing other job applications.

If you can’t demonstrate how you meet selection criteria for a particular job through your work achievements it is quite acceptable to mention non-work related activities.  But only do this if they really do put the spotlight on some achievement or skill that is completely relevant to the job application. These transferable skills in a resume add substance to your application, and demonstrate what you are capable of contributing within your new job.

Want to find work that you’ll love? Are you unsuccessful in getting job interviews? Need job search advice? Get a copy of our Career Renovation Masterplan.

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Jenni Proctor

Hi, I'm Jenni Proctor from Boomers Next Step. Remember when the formula for success in life was simply to strive for good marks at school, gain qualifications, get a great job, work hard and save for your retirement? Yes, I believed it too! For years my husband David and I wanted to develop a business that we could operate anywhere in the world, but both of us were educated to be employees.  We had entrepreneurial dreams and ideas, but still had employee mindsets. 14 years ago I took the giant leap!  I left my job in Education to start a business as a Career Counsellor and Coach, helping mature adults transition from one career path to another, and particularly from employment to entrepreneurship.  I had studied long and hard to gain new qualifications but sadly I hadn’t learnt how to market my new business. About 12 years ago we realized that we were not tracking well towards having the sort of retirement we wanted. We’d saved; we’d invested; and like so many other people we’d also lost some money along the way. It didn’t help that my business was not bringing in as much as I had been earning as an employee. Our dreams of extensive travel and helping our family were being replaced by a growing concern that we would outlive our savings. It seemed that a traditional retirement would not allow us to maintain the lifestyle we wanted. I love helping people plan the next phase of their lives, but we realized that was not going to be enough.  We needed a way to create an income stream that would pay for the travel and other lifestyle luxuries we wanted, that would provide mental stimulation, and would interest us both.

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