Most Important Transferable Skills (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Sep. 23, 2020
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Throughout the years of your academics, internships, and jobs you’ve picked up lots of valuable skills and habits that can be useful across many different kinds of jobs. These skills and abilities are called transferable skills.

By definition, transferable skills are not designated to a specific field or occupation, making them soft-skills. They can be helpful for graduates fresh from university trying to land their first job, and individuals looking to make a drastic career change.

What are Transferable Skills?

Transferable skills are the qualities you take with you to a new position that will make you a more effective employee.

Transferable Skills can be:

  • Related to work-style

  • Personality traits

  • Social skills

  • Professional habits

Including transferable skills makes your resume stand-out, especially for entry-level and career shift If there’s something that made you a stronger student or employee in your previous position, there’s the possibility it can be transferable to a new job.

Types of Transferable Skills

There are many types of transferable skills, as you can probably imagine from the broad definition of it. Do some serious reflection about what relevant transferable qualities you can bring from previous experiences that will attract recruiter attention and be helpful in your new position.

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  1. General Skills. There are certain transferable qualities that are almost required as the standard for any profession. These can be dubbed as general skills. They’re usually skills and mindfulness you learned as a student, or in any prior job.

    General Skills Include:

    • Following instruction

    • Listening and Communication

    • Arriving to work on time

    • Assessing your own performance

    • Basic writing skills

    • Cooperating in a team scenario

    • Meeting deadlines

    Deficiencies in general skills can negatively affect your work performance and evaluations. Try to master these areas to excel in your work in any position.

  2. Interpersonal Skills . The ability to successfully interact, manage, and work with other people is a powerful asset. Interpersonal skills are transferable across many different vocations and can be an extremely important factor in the quality of work your team produces. People skills can make you a more likable, effective employee. They can be especially helpful in rounding out applicant profiles for recent graduates with little professional experience. Consider which interpersonal skills you may have developed in classrooms or internships.

    Examples of Interpersonal Skills Include:

    • Strong communication

    • Motivating co-workers

    • Empathy

    • Being a team-player

    • Active listening

    • Customer service

    • Conflict management and resolution

    • Cooperating and coordinating with others

    • Respectfulness

    • Open-Mindedness

    • Confidence

    • Giving and receiving constructive criticism

  3. Management Skills. Leadership skills transfer very well to any new position. Having qualities for strong management doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be a CEO with years of experience.

  4. Leadership could be:

    • Being voted your class president

    • Captain of a sports team

    • Managing responsibilities at a part-time job

    • Founding a college newspaper

    No matter how much professional experience you have, taking initiative and leading teams in any capacity can be applicable to a new job.

    Management skills in a former job for applicants who are making a career change can greatly improve your resume. Even if the field may seem unrelated, taking on a leadership role in any occupation speaks to your employability and reliability.

    Example of Management Skills Include:

    • Resume review

    • Understanding and following a budget

    • Supplying resources

    • Giving employees constructive criticism

    • Acknowledging employees for their accomplishments

    • Problem-solving

    • Maintaining schedules

    • Training new hires

    • Establishing rapport

    • Adaptability

  5. Clerical Skills. Clerical skills involve the day-to-day tasks that allow a business to run smoothly. These kinds of transferable skills improve productivity, and listing them can make your resume more competitive. Clerical skills will most often be required in an office setting, however, they can be helpful across many different industries.

    Examples of Clerical Skills Include:

    • Basic computer skills

    • Analytical thinking

    • Diligence

    • Record keeping

    • Verbal and written clarity

    • Typing speed

    • Utilizing digital calendars

    • Spreadsheets

    • Organization

    • Greeting clients

    • Managing emails

  6. Research Skills . Being able to conduct research that results in productive conclusions and problem-solving is a transferable skill. It can be equally beneficial to entry-level and career change applicants. You may have gained strong research skills in your four years at college. Similarly, you could’ve spent a lot of time at your previous job perfecting effective research techniques. Make note of these transferable skills to show a hiring manager that you’re prepared to do the work in figuring out the best solutions.

    Research Skills Include:

    • Setting objectives

    • Prioritization

    • Data analysis

    • Time-management

    • Taking notes

    • Fact-checking through reputable resources

    • Organizing information

    • Communicating findings

  7. Technical Skills . Technical skills are usually hard-skills, which may make their placement on a list of transferable qualities confusing. While computer and technical skills usually involve a learning process and field-specific knowledge, they can still be relevant to list on your resume in certain situations.

    If you’ve had any exposure to technical skills in school, it can make you appear as a more experienced applicant. If you’re switching your occupation, a hard-skill that was required in your previous position may be surprisingly helpful in your new job.

    Examples of Technical Skills Include:

  8. Work Ethic. Having a strong work ethic means that you’re prideful in your job, and always make it a priority to meet expectations. Work ethic transcends career path. It’s a quality needed to be successful across the board, and it can make you an ideal candidate for hire. Find examples of times you displayed a strong work ethic in school or a past job to enhance its impact on your resume.

    Examples of a Strong Work Ethic Include:

    • Reliability

    • Flexibility

    • Supporting your company’s growth

    • Prioritization

    • Professionalism

    • Showing up prepared and on time

    • Willingness to learn

    • Honesty

    • Motivation

    • Providing your best quality work

Other Transferable Skills

  • Logical reasoning

  • Problem-solving

  • Adaptability

  • Creativity

  • Negotiation

  • Emotional-intelligence

  • Organization

  • Creative thinking

  • Conflict resolution

  • Time-management

  • Multitasking

  • Innovation

Resume Samples Highlighting Transferable Skills:

Resume #1- Recent Graduate

Jack Keller

A reliable and positive recent graduate from the University of Chicago with a Bachelors in Psychology with a minor in Advertising. Skills in communication and organization. Seeking an entry-level marketing position where I can develop my professional experience.

899 Banks Rd.

Chicago, IL, 77521



Clifton Steakhouse,

Chicago, IL- Assistant Manager
April 2017-May 2020

  • Organize a schedule for a team of 10 employees

  • Train new hires

  • Relay excellent customer service

  • Managing inventory

  • Assessing sales

  • Quickly solving issues in service and managing conflict

  • Promoted to assistant manager from a waiter

  • Awarded with two raises over three years

  • UC Student Magazine,

    Chicago, IL– Contributing Member

    September 2016-May 2020

  • Working cohesively with a large group of student and professor contributors

  • Editing

  • Organizing page layout

  • Finding donor support

  • Assisting in brainstorming

  • Meeting publication deadlines


    The University of Chicago,

    Chicago, IL– Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Advertising

    September 2016 – May 2020


  • Writing

  • Research

  • Record Keeping

  • Strong Communication

  • Presentation

  • Adaptable

  • Resume #2-Career Change

    Selena Moore

    4431 Beeks Place, Los Angeles, CA, 66217 (668)-224-1974

    Dedicated and ambitious video producer. 5+ years previous experience in administrative work. Skills in organization and time-management. Seeking an entry-level video production position where I can utilize my planning skills and develop hands-on experience in video production.

    Professional Experience

    Estes Park Dental Practice, Los Angeles, CA

    Office management, September 2016-May 2020

  • Managed an administrative team of 7

  • Supported company growth

  • Communicated with customers daily

  • Managed emails

  • Filed records

  • Organized meetings

  • Maintained office schedule

  • Provided employee feedback

  • Set up appointments

  • Promoted to management from office associate

  • Lazo & Lincoln Architecture, Los Angeles, CA

    Executive Assistant, June 2015 — August 2016

  • Record and file organization

  • Making travel arrangements

  • Keeping calendars updated

  • Trained 2 employees

  • Helped plan events

  • Answered phone and emails

  • Awarded with a $2,000 annual bonus based on work performance

  • Skills

  • Microsoft Suites

  • Scheduling and Planning

  • Flexibility

  • Managing a team

  • Customer service

  • Organization

  • Time-Management

  • Clerical duties

  • Education

    University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

    B.A. in Political Science, May 2015

  • Maintained President’s List 2013-2015 (3.5 GPA)

  • Resume #3-Reentering the Workforce

    Jessica Barnes

    45 Lincoln Ave..

    Boston, MA, 66123


    Flexible and creative hair stylist with 7+ years of previous experience in high-end salons. Abilities in problem-solving and management. Seeking a stylist position to utilize experience and skills after taking 3 years off to raise a newborn son.

    Professional Experience

    New You Salon and Spa

    , Boston, MA

    Leading Hair Stylist September 2014-2017

  • Direct client communication and scheduling

  • Teamwork with other stylists

  • Discussing goals with clients

  • Creating plans to reach style goals

  • Maintaining inventory

  • Organizing schedule

  • Promoted to leading hair stylist after the first year

  • Lush Locks & Company, Boston, MA

    Associate Stylist, June 2010- August 2014

  • Responsible for coordinating own appointments

  • Providing customer service

  • Keeping client and invoice records

  • Cutting and dying clients

  • Give suggestions and create discussion to create client’s desired outcome

  • Awarded an annual salary raise of $10,000

  • Beauty By Design Studios, Boston, MA

    Junior Stylist, September 2008-June 2010

  • Assisting senior staff

  • Managing incoming clients

  • Maintaining salon cleanliness

  • Answering phones and emails

  • Greeting clients

  • Giving simple haircuts

  • Skills

  • Product knowledge

  • Styling

  • Professionalism

  • Problem-Solving

  • Creativity

  • Cleanliness

  • Communication

  • Education

    Boston National Beauty School

    Certification in Cosmetology and Hairstyling, June 2008

    Emory College

    Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications,

    May 2006

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    Chris Kolmar


    Chris Kolmar

    Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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