Transferable Skills

5 Transferable Skills Job Seekers Need


With unemployment in the U.S. hovering around eight percent, looking for a job has become relatively tough for many people. Even some people with advanced academic qualifications, such as bachelor’s degrees and even MBAs are currently having a rough time on the market.

However, there are still plenty of jobs out there for the right candidates. With that in mind, one of the ways of differentiating yourself from other job seekers is by having transferable skills. Broadly speaking, a transferable skill is expertise that you can use across a wide range of industries.

Transferable Skills Job Seekers Need

According to the University of Southern California, many graduates change jobs as many as four times within a period of five years. If you are a job seeker, identifying your transferable skills and articulating them to employers is likely to increase your chances of getting a job. Some of these skills include:

1. Communication

In almost every career, from banking to the hospitality industry, good communication skills are vital. As such, it would be to your advantage if you have the ability to articulate your ideas in writing as well as orally. Since communication normally involves more than one party, you should be a good listener as well. Employers often look for people who can negotiate with employees in an objective manner.

2. Analytical Skills

This is a vital skill in almost every field of work mainly because the majority of businesses generate revenue by solving problems that clients face daily. For example, cloud-computing companies provide data storage solutions, thereby ensuring that their clients have a backup of data stored on-site. Employees can access company data on the go knowing they have secure storage for their information.

In such an environment, analytical skills are likely to come in handy when clients face problems such as uploading data or updating certain files. To solve those issues, one would have to identify and define the problem’s parameters. This skill also involves collecting and analyzing data in order to design creative solutions to complex problems.

3. Leadership

Most organizations and business enterprises employ more than one employee. Because of this, it may not be possible to have all the employees in leadership positions. Therefore, a few employees who show the ability to lead generally take charge of the others. Leadership is all about motivating fellow employees and leading them to work toward a common goal. In addition, leaders analyze tasks and set priorities for the other employees as well as identify and allocate resources that employees need.

4. Information Management Skills

Traditionally, businesses kept a few records such as sales, purchases, and salaries in-house. In most cases, this data was no more than a few gigabytes. However, the emergence of social networking, adoption of e-commerce by consumers, and the large number of data points generated by businesses and corporations has upended the traditional model of managing information.

As a result, most employers need employees who can sort and present data objects in an understandable manner. Information management also involves evaluating and synthesizing information against industry standards. Industries where you can apply this skill set include finance, education, manufacturing, and print media.

5. Project Management

Project managers are in high demand in many industries. Your work as a project manager will involve planning projects, assessing potential risks associated with the project, allocating project finances appropriately, and overseeing the execution of the project on time. You can use this transferable skill in industries such as education, energy, consulting, and even the military.

The job sector is becoming increasingly competitive with every passing day. With this in mind, jobseekers need to broaden their horizons when searching for a job. Leverage the power of transferable skills acquired in previous jobs to get ahead of the competition. These include analytical skills, project management, communication, leadership, and information management skills.

The annual survey carried out by the Career Center at the University of Southern California has shown that the majority off employers prefer candidates with transferable skills.

Joshua Turner is a writer and blogger who creates article related to business. In this article, he offers tips to job seekers and wish to encourage further study with Graduate Diplomacy Programs.

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Joshua Turner

Joshua Turner is a writer who creates informative articles relating to business.


  1. I think a hybrid of all the comments above is important. Yes, keywords are particularly important if you’re applying to a large organization or through a recruiter who has to sift through potentially hundreds or thousands of resumes on a daily basis. Additionally, articulating your value to a company can be done by identifying times when your demonstration of those transferable skills resulted in a quantifiable result, or XYZ success. And like Cori said, following up in some way is valuable to confirm receipt and demonstrate in real life (not just on paper) that you really do express those qualities you talk up on your resume: interpersonal communication, organization, initiative, and so on. Even with a quick phone call, you can develop some amount of rapport, demonstrate your professionalism and get your name on their mind.

    • Susan: Do not discount the skills that you have acquired while being a waitress. As a waitress you use the following skills daily just off the top of my head: multi-tasking, customer service, sales, and attention to detail. Remember you are selling your self and these are transferrable skills.

  2. It is great to have all these skills, but it is also true, if you do not know what to do or how to do it, you will fail to impress. we are all impressed by great things which are also normal. I attended 4 Interviews with the same firm in the last 3 years, however, until recently I did not know how to present myself and how I can be an asset, when I realised this, I got the job offer. still can not believe that I failed the same Interview again and again. so it is all about knowing how to relax and prove your worth.

  3. I have been in the recruiting industry for 16+ years now and I can’t believe how difficult resume writing and job searching has become today. It doesn’t have to be so confusing for job seekers. Sure they should know about keywords and applicant tracking systems, and they can spend hours on their resume making sure they have every single keyword for the job they are applying for. That still doesn’t guarantee they will get noticed or called for an interview. I agree, companies want to know what you have accomplished for other companies, that you can now add to their organization. A resume should be top heavy with achievements and keywords. What everyone seems to keep missing is that follow up and making a connection after you apply online is very effective in getting your resume noticed. Why? because you are now confirming the receipt of your resume, which forces someone to look up your information and now you can start selling yourself and try and get the interview. I wrote an article recently on 2 Simple job search techniques that will increase your chances of being hired:

    I think job searching and resume writing has become a situation where there are too many cooks in the kitchen!

    Cori Swidorsky
    Recruiting Sourcing Specialist

  4. In my view this article misses the point.

    When you are a serious good professional you know what is the point:

    You can have fabulous transferable or non transferable or whatever skills, the only things that count at the end for an employer are the positive achievements and values you bring to him by using your skills.

    Communication, Analytical Skills, Leadership, Information Management Skills, Project Management… are useless skills if you are not able to deliver positive achievements and values that bring more money to your employer than what you cost for him.

    My experience is that very few job seekers look at value and achievements you have been able to bring to a company. They are more interested in their “must ask” generic question list such as “what are you strengths?” that completely misses the point.

  5. HR types play popularity contests – technical skills and abilities come a far distant second to “a *fun* company culture” – and just look where such a philosophy has gotten us in the world market. Screw your damned popularity contests – get the job done first!

  6. Nick @

    Great list! I really want to build my project management skills and I totally agree with you that that is a very desired and transferable skill.

  7. I totally agree. But companies aren’t seeing transferrable skills. I am out of work 7 months now. Not getting responses on resume. In my cover letter and on my Linkedin site, I always state transferrable skills! Still nothing. If you don’t fit into the box by applicant tracking systems, no reply.

    So… what can job seekers do to get attention?

    Very frustrating.

    • Nick @

      I agree with the other reply to your comment in that not getting responses on your resume indicates that there is some sort of problem with it. Have you considered a resume writing service or possibly just workshopping your resume with former colleagues and managers?

    • Where are you based out of? Here at Investors Group we are always on the lookout for new consultants. Consultants come from all backgrounds but have great people and communications skills. I would be more than happy to talk to anyone who has great soft skills as well as the transferable skills listed above. Thanks

    • I hate to keep repeating myself but; the right buzzwords, pretty bullets, and fancy fonts on a resume are what impresses the HR peeps ! I’m going on my 6th year of non-employ and I understand your frustration. Just the other day, I read a blog that discouraged the above mentioned tips….what to do, what to do ?

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