How to Determine Your Transferable Skills
As 2021 was deemed the year of the Great Resignation, with no signs of slowing down, we’re also seeing many of our own clients taking time out of the workforce to develop their skills in preparation to change industries and careers.
The good news is, many of the most important skills you possess are transferrable to any type of job or industry. These skills include:
- Communication skills: Active listening, written communication, verbal communication, providing and receiving feedback, public speaking, editing, foreign languages
- Teamwork: Collaboration, adaptability, brainstorming
- Leadership: Project management, people management, conflict resolution, goal setting, team building, vision and innovation, mentorship, strategy, training and development
- Problem-solving skills: Critical thinking, analysis, creativity
- Interpersonal skills: Empathy, relationship building, listening, customer service, business development
These types of skills can apply in any type of role. They’re particularly important for manager roles and higher. As Gallup reports, managers account for 70% of variance in employee engagement, yet companies mis-hire 82% of managers.
When you’re considering moving industries, transferable skills like the ones listed above are important to highlight. They can help you land a new job because they’re valuable in most industries.
Here’s how to determine your transferable skills and how to feature them when you’re searching for jobs.
What Transferable Skills Can You List?
Transferable skills include both hard skills, which are quantifiable, and soft skills, which aren’t quantifiable but can greatly impact work results.
What transferable skills aren’t: skills that aren’t transferable, simply, are skills that are specific to a single type of role or job. For example, if you work in construction and want to move into a building manager position, you wouldn’t list “laying cement” as a transferable skill on your resume. Instead, you might list “collaboration” and “teamwork.”
Transferable hard skills include technical and functional skills that could apply to a variety of roles. These hard skills can range from more general (web development, event planning, math, sales, operations, accounting, budgeting) to more specific (Microsoft Excel, Salesforce, QuickBooks).
These transferable hard skills may include technology literacy and knowledge of certain software, such as:
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software
- Project management software
- Productivity software
- Web development tools
- Content management systems
- Marketing software
For soft skills, think about personality traits and characteristics that make you someone people would want to work with or rely on in the workplace. Maybe you’re good at multitasking or managing your time, for example. You might look for these skills in the following places:
- Recommendations people have provided you on your LinkedIn profile
- Skills people have endorsed on your LinkedIn profile
- Performance reviews from a manager
- Testimonials from partners and clients
- Feedback from supervisors at volunteer events
If you’re stuck, you could also ask a former coworker, mentor or even a friend about what your best qualities are that might relate to you at work. You may be surprised at the soft skills others perceive in you that can make you stand out as a candidate.
There are also online personality assessments, like those in the Everything DiSC toolkits, that can help you uncover more about what characterizes you as a professional.
You can also set up informational interviews with professionals in the industry you want to move into. Ask for (and take notes on) the types of skills that are in-demand in the roles you’re interested in.
Also, look at the job descriptions for a variety of jobs you’re interested in. You may start to see common skills that you have or that you need to learn. Those would be good ones to feature on a resume.
If you don’t yet have the skills you need, consider taking an online course to develop them. Then you can add them, and the education you completed to learn them, to your resume.
How to Feature Transferable Skills on a Resume
Today’s Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) use keyword search technology to filter resumes based on matching keywords employers are looking for to employee resume submissions. Keywords are also useful when recruiters and hiring managers are looking at online profiles, on LinkedIn and other professional websites.
You may want to include both a Core Competencies section early on in your resume for broader transferable skills, and then list more specific technical skills towards the end of the resume. For soft skills that apply to any role, like communication or people management, make sure you feature the most prominent ones you see in target job descriptions in your Core Competencies section.
You can also feature both soft and hard skills throughout your resume, as you detail your top career accomplishments and select achievements for each role. For example, you might use a template like the following as you list your achievements:
Achieved [quantifiable success] using [hard technical skill], [hard general skill] and [soft skill].
If you’ve won awards, you can also showcase your skills in an Awards & Honors section. If it’s not easy to identify the skill that led to the award, you can add a description of what the award or honor recognized to highlight the skill.
You may want to adapt your transferable skills you feature on your resume based on the specific job you’re applying to. We recommend tailoring your resume for each specific job to make it most relevant to that position. That means, your transferable skills and how you feature them may change depending on the position you’re applying for.
You can also add transferable skills to your LinkedIn profile, since recruiters may be searching for profiles that feature specific skills. Add skills to your About section, to accomplishments in your past jobs and in the Skills & endorsements section on your profile.
LinkedIn also has a Skills Assessments feature, where you can check your skills level for various hard skills and earn a skill badge based on your performance in each assessment.
Use Transferable Skills to Get Your Next Job
Transferable skills are in high demand throughout industries today. Indeed’s top 20 skills for 2021 featured skills like:
- People management
- Time management
If you’re not sure what your transferable skills are, or you need help positioning them on your resume and/or LinkedIn profile, we can help. Contact us for a free consultation for resumes writing services or LinkedIn optimization as you search for your next job.