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How to identify transferable skills

Julianne Leybag
04 July 2017 2 minute readShare
direction, choices, options

Standing out from a field of applicants is essential for people who want to get hired fast—by identifying what transferable skills you have allows individuals to discover their own strengths and weaknesses.

To put it simply, transferable skills are skill sets that are considered as valuable across different industries regardless of an employee’s previous working experience. The most typical examples of transferable skills on a resume are “soft” skills that involve areas such as communication, creatives, strategy and leadership.

When crafting a killer resume, applicants must highlight these transferable skills as these shows potential employers that the applicant is versatile and highly-skilled—making them indispensable to the company in the long run.

Here’s how individuals can identify and create a transferable skills list:

  • Review past and current working experiences
  • Identify personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Seek feedback from coworkers and superiors
  • Consider personal hobbies and other interests

Review past and current working experiences

The reason behind the question “why are transferable skills important?” lies in the fact that these skills make individuals perform well in virtually any job they choose to apply for—provided that these transferable skills are applicable for the tasks involved.

The first step towards identifying transferable skills is for individuals to reflect on past and current working experiences and determine how their skills have improved over time.

For a more organised take, list all relevant work experiences over the years that may be useful in identifying transferable skills. If a specific skill or skill set have remained useful over the years regardless of the nature of work, this can be tagged as a transferable skill that can be used to improve career prospects.

Identify personal strengths and weaknesses

If an individual has a good grasp of what their personal strengths and weaknesses are, they can easily identify what transferable skills they have. This skills usually stem from a person’s strengths and reflects an individual’s ethical stance and other relevant personality characteristics.

Figuring out what subject areas a person has thrived in at school is a fool-proof way of determining transferable skills. For example, if a person has excellent IT skills, they probably enjoyed subjects such as Mathematics and Sciences and liked numeracy exercises.

In the same vein, those who enjoyed Arts and Crafts in school probably thrive in creative jobs, while those good at Languages and Literature have probably worked as writers and editors.

Seek feedback from coworkers and superiors

While listing down a list of strengths and weaknesses is definitely a good way to determine transferable skills, personal views are almost always biased—we often can’t see the bigger picture, especially from a first-person point of view. Individuals are encouraged to seek feedback from other people to determine and identify their transferable skills objectively.

Getting feedback from family members, relatives and close friends is definitely a good way to determine what your transferable skills are. For those who want a purely objective feedback, seek opinions from coworkers and superiors, whether past or present. They can provide an objective feedback especially regarding the professional traits and ethics of an individual.

Consider personal hobbies and other interests

When identifying transferable skills, there is a high possibility that these skills stem from an individual’s personal hobbies and interests. These hobbies and interests are worth looking into as these allow individuals to identify transferable skills that they may enjoy doing in the long run.

For example, if a person enjoys a particular hobby or interest that takes up a lot of their time while still managing to go to work, attend to personal errands and mingle with friends, there is a big chance that this person has excellent time management skills—making them essential to an employer, regardless of what field they decide to go into.

How to identify transferable skills
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Julianne Leybag

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