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What are transferable skills and why are they important?

29th August 2019

What are transferable skills and why are they important?

Transferable skills.

You’ve probably heard of them – especially if you’re looking for work. They are qualities and skills that you develop in education, training and the workplace. They are of high value to employers.

But what are they and why are they so important?


What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills are a specific set of skills that are not niche to certain industries or professions. They are skills that you possess that could be applied in various job roles. As the name suggests: they’re transferable.

For example, communication, problem solving and teamwork are prime examples of common transferable skills. They could be used in various positions.  

It is so important that you emphasise your transferable skills when applying for jobs.

Why are they so important?

They are important because they tell your potential employer a lot about you.

Transferable skills demonstrate adaptability – particularly in allowing you to take on a varied assortment of tasks. This shows that you as an employee are flexible, which is valuable to them. In some cases, this could be the thing that sets you apart from other applicants.

They show employability. In some cases – particularly if you are a graduate or school leaver – you may not have much experience or many qualifications to show on your CV. This is where transferable skills are vital. They show that you can adapt to new demands and will help strengthen your CV.

In the case of those looking to change career, transferable skills are possibly your most important selling point. When switching between vocations, it’s unlikely that you will have masses of experience or qualifications in your new position. Transferable skills make up for this. Look at what it is you want to do and consider the qualities and skills required to succeed in it. Emphasise these as much as possible to persuade the employer that you are ready to switch and will be able to adapt to your new role comfortably.

What transferable skills are there?

The list is almost endless. However, there are so more commonly used ones. Below are a few that you may wish to consider:

  • Communication
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Strategy
  • Leadership
  • Data analysis
  • Time management
  • Commercial awareness
  • Work ethic
  • Research skills




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