It is no secret that in some industries, workers are struggling. A vast amount of the younger population is unemployed, and half of what we really feel we need to learn in school, we do not get to learn.
Teaching kids to have transferable skills for working environments is absolutely key, however, we often miss out on learning what these skills are.
And, it is not just kids. The working world has changed drastically in the last few years, and now older people are finding they are having to learn tech skills to open up their horizons on the job market.
Having transferable skills is not just useful for particular industries, it is good for moving from one industry to another, and even using it in our daily, personal lives too.
We do not realize how frequently a need for these skills arises. So, let’s take a look at transferable skills.
Table of Contents
- What Are Transferable Skills?
- Why Are Transferable Skills So Important?
- Top 12 Transferable Career Skills
- How Key Skills Can Boost Your Resume?
What Are Transferable Skills?
Let’s start in the simplest place, what these skills really are.
Giving you examples doesn’t highlight exactly what they are, so let’s discuss in detail what transferable skills are.
The most basic definition of transferable skills is a variation of abilities, behaviors, or knowledge, which can be applied to any type of work and any industry.
A majority of what you might call ‘soft skills’ are transferable, as they are relative to typical work habits, your attitude to clients, and coworkers, and how you manage yourself inside the workplace.
These can be things such as the ability to work in a team, maintain focus, and be sharp when it comes to problem-solving are very flexible skills that will benefit you in any job, no matter what else the job entails.
No two jobs are ever going to be exactly the same, and so employers will seek to hire people who have plenty of transferable skills, as this shows that the person applying is both flexible and can easily adapt to many situations.
Since workplaces are not only never the same, but also will have many highs and lows, and some difficult situations, hiring workers who are adaptable usually means that not only can they adapt to the role, but also to any issues that may come their way.
These are admirable traits in an employee.
Why Are Transferable Skills So Important?
So, what makes the ability to be flexible and adaptable so attractive to employers, and so important for workplaces?
Well, these are the skills that help you to advance in your career, climbing that ladder. One would think that having work-place specific skills is what helps you to climb workplace ladders, but in fact, it is not. It is these skills that are the key.
These skills can aid you in climbing the workplace ladder, or even changing jobs and industries without having to learn the basics all over again. You avoid having to learn new systems for workplace interaction, or work completion.
These skills make it much easier for you to be able to switch your industry, and gain experience in varying working environments.
From the perspective of an employer, having employees with these skills keeps a high standard of behavior inside the workplace. It ensures that all employees will have an understanding of typical workplace behavior requirements necessary for success.
Therefore, if you have these skills available on your resume, employers will be more attracted to hire you.
Let’s not forget that many of these transferable skills in workplaces can help us in our day-to-day lives as well. Having these skills can make our lives easier too.
It is a benefit for everyone for these skills to be present in the vast majority, making workplaces run smoother, with more hirable employees, and making it easier for us to change professions, and advance in our careers.
Top 12 Transferable Career Skills
So, what are some of these skills?
We have chosen the top 12 skills that employers find attractive, to share with you.
It is worth acquiring these skills, even should you desire to stay at one company or in one industry for a long time.
Having flexible, transferable skills will help to support your success and give you building blocks to advancing in your career.
Many companies may value particular skills more than others, so it is also worth looking into your potential employers, so that you can learn which skills you should knuckle down on perfecting.
So, regardless of what industry you are working in, or aiming to work in, these are the top 12 skills that will help you, get an interview, get the job, and then advance within.
Decision-making. This is a skill we all need to have, in our personal lives and in our employable lives. This does not just mean that you can make decisions, it means you make good decisions and are stringent in your commitment to the decisions you make.
This ability is highly sought-after in many workplaces and industries.
This means that you are able to look at a situation and analyze it, predicting the many possible outcomes of what is happening, and therefore which actions you must take. You can then choose which course of action you will take to reap the best benefits and achieve the most desirable result.
Having this ability in your roster of workplace traits shows that you are confident as well, and this is always admirable in workers.
It also shows that you have good judgment. Both being confident and being able to make good judgements are useful skills to have in any industry, regardless of what you do.
In some industries decision-making may be for more simple problems and the ideal employee will be someone who can pass judgment and make decisions fast. In other industries the issues may be complex and require analyzing and decisions may take longer.
You could work in customer service or politics, it does not matter, all industries require this skill, be in for short term issues, or long term issues, simple, or complex. It is desirable that every employee be able to make decisions well.
No matter how simple we wish our lives could be, and no matter how extensively technology is helping us manage our lives, there will always be a need for multitasking.
Many jobs will require you to be able to multitask, and manage a series of responsibilities simultaneously. No matter if you work in a coffee shop, at Walmart, the police service, or as a scientist.
We joke that women are best at multitasking, and this is often due to mom’s being notoriously good at managing households and looking after young children all at once. But, being a mom is not the only job that requires multitasking.
Most jobs do. Baristas will frequently have to monitor food and drink while serving and ensuring all areas are clean, and up to food and hygiene standards. Most office jobs mean multitasking and having multiple tabs open on the screen, while monitoring emails and learning new programs or company changes.
Being able to multitask is key. It shows the ability to be able to focus on one task, while not ignoring your other responsibilities as well.
Being a good multitasker means that you can take on new projects, help others when they are struggling, and manage many tasks at once without excessive difficulty.
Being good at multitasking also promotes you as a good team player, and an embodiment of workplace efficiency.
3. Creative Problem-Solving
Being good at problem-problem solving is not all that different from decision-making, and oftentimes these two will come hand-in-hand.
Being able to creatively solve problems presents an ability to overcome complex challenges and issues with a creative solution.
You may come across situations in your workplace where there are complex issues that with plain straight-forward thinking would yield no dice. However, in these situations being able to think out of the box and come up with unconventional solutions to these complicated issues is what employers want to see.
Being creative is not just about the creative industries, being creative is also how you think, and how you approach the many potential problems you may face in a workplace environment.
Having this as a skill will make you an asset to any workplace, as you never know when an issue may crop up in which conventional resolutions are moot. It can make you highly desirable to employers.
No matter whether you work in a technical career, such as one in medicine, or law, or if you work in customer service, or customer support, every industry needs people who are able to solve issues creatively.
This ability to creatively-problem helps workplaces overcome obstacles, and we workplaces grow, and change, adapting new technologies, having on-the-ball creative problem solvers in their staff roster means that new problems can be solved faster.
In some jobs, the majority of your work will be solo, in other jobs, a majority of it will be working with other people, however, it does not matter which type of job you have, you will need to be able to communicate well, and collaborate with others at some point.
Many businesses will require you to work alongside others at least once or twice in your job, even if your role is mainly a ‘one-person’ role. You will also have to deal with customers or clients at some point too. This means that you will have to collaborate in one way or another.
Being able to collaborate and work within a team means that your work quality will be high, and your teams’ productivity will increase.
A vast majority of employers seek out workers who are good at working with others, and who have no issue with making compromises to better the quality of their team’s work.
Collaboration does not only mean being able to make good decisions for a team, and being able to compromise, but it also means that you can be innovative alongside others in a multitude of situations.
Teamwork is ideal in almost every single career, and even if you were to be self-employed, having collaborative skills is still ideal. It is a sought-out skill for every career, and will help with your personal life too, in your family, and with friends.
Communication is one of the cornerstones of our entire society. Without effective communication the many systems in place that make the world run would be broken down, and totally ineffective.
Being a good communicator is absolutely essential in a vast majority of careers, it can also aid you in growing success in any field. It will help you to set clear and concise expectations with your managers, and your coworkers to better define the many aspects of your job and work.
Different companies will use a multitude of different methods for communication, this can be face to face, telephones, online group messengers, or as more recently-zoom calls.
The communication methods in place will depend on the individual workplace, as some may be in an office, others may work remote, some may work on-site.
However, regardless of the setting for communication, the skill must still be there.
The great thing about communication skills is that even if you work in one communication environment, this can be applied if you change careers.
If you do change careers and the communication methods are vastly different to what you have been used to, then you can always ask others how you should go about communicating in your new working environment.
However, humans are social creatures, and being able to communicate with each other is hardwired into us. Being a good communicator will assist us in our working lives, and our personal lives, as many relationships we have with others are dependent on clear communication.
Being professional is key in many ways.
Do you remember when you were a kid, and your school took trips? The teachers would ask you to maintain a good behavior as you represented the school? This is not all that different. Being professional is key because how you act is a representation of the company.
Professionalism is a term which refers to the high standard of behavior expected in the workplace for those of whom are serious about their job.
This includes being timely, polite, and being well organized, as well as a plethora of other attitudes and habits that may be expected of you.
This means that you are self-motivated, and are able to hold yourself accountable for your actions without needing constant monitoring by a manager.
This trait is a great indicator for employers that their employees will perform well in the workplace.
Thus, it is a key skill that is needed for anyone who is looking to succeed in their career, regardless of what their job is.
Being professional is even a requirement for the self-employed, or people who run their own businesses, they need to be professional as well. Being professional will show in work, how a company is run, and how one communicates.
Oftentimes, a professional looking company, business, or person, is more likely to get sales than one which is not.
To have integrity is to be honest, with strong morality. The word integrity is not dissimilar to honesty, upright, honorable, and righteous.
Having integrity makes you reliable and trustworthy. It does not matter what your career is, or what type of work you do, you must be honorable and trustworthy.
Establishing yourself as this type of person, who is honest, helpful, and supports others will help in networking, and building an image that will better help you find a career. It will also make you more attractive to prospective employers.
Integrity helps you to build up a good reputation in your field. Similarly, having good, strong morals helps you to gain responsibility at work, thus building trust among coworkers and your higher-ups.
Having integrity is a cornerstone of business. You would always rather purchase something from a business that is trustworthy and moral than one which is not.
This also carried on into our personal lives too, as we rather surround ourselves with honest and good people than ones who are not.
We must work to build this skill into our image, our resumes, how we present ourselves, and manage ourselves in working environments.
You might think that leadership and management are the same thing, however they are not. Leadership is about dealing with others, management is about organization and effective development and execution of processes and goals.
A large part of being effective as management is being able to lead others from all angles. Leaders’ impacts are often felt in the immediate environment, however, a good manager needs to be able to be the driving force behind the culture and success of an organization.
Management skills are a plethora of things from communication and collaboration with other managers and leaders as well as with employees.
A manager must not see themselves as being above others, but instead be the person who helps and understands to be able to ensure that the business runs smoothly.
In management one must also be able to coordinate the efforts of your team(s), delegate tasks carefully and with much thought, and make well-devised plans to execute goals.
Good management ensures the success of an organization, and so when employers are looking to fill a management post, supervisor post, or similar, this is a key skill that is sought-out in candidates.
Management is about leading people, and projects, and being able to oversee things, this applies to any field, in any industry.
Having management skills is ideal for those who seek out a leadership position, or for those who know they want to progress and climb the ladder. Already having management skills will make it easier for those who seek to progress in a career, from the start.
Initiative means to be able to self-motivate, enabling you to pursue new tasks and produce a good, high quality of work.
Initiative also means that you can use your own common sense, knowledge, and skills to deal with any range of challenges and tasks, without needing help from managers, supervisors, and so on.
No business wants to hire someone who will come to them every time there is an issue, it would greatly slow down the progress of a company.
Being able to take initiative is therefore very important in any job. It can also assist in getting promotions, and advancing your career, showing dedication and commitment to your job.
Those who are highly motivated, and show initiative are often very successful in their industry of choice, regardless of which one it is.
Initiative is also the ability to work solo. While everyone wants employees who are able to work in a team, they also want proactive employees who will keep their employability skills up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in that industry.
It shows that you are dedicated, and take control of your own advancements and learning in your job.
You can actually show this on your resume, even if you only just came out of school or college. If you do online courses, join groups, set up your own business, and so on, all of these things are things that will show employers that you take your own initiative.
In some ways, initiative is a display of eagerness to progress.
Some of us view workplaces as harsh and emotionally draining. However, this is not how they should be. In fact, a good working environment should be the opposite. Many workplaces are now seeking to take on more people who have empathy.
Empathy is critical in working environments, even in the ones which may not be super social.
When you work with others, deal with customers and clients, emotional intelligence can make a massive difference.
We are all human, and we have needs, wants, and our own ideas. Having empathy and being emotionally intelligent makes for an ideal worker.
Emotionally intelligent employees promote better teamwork, and creates a healthy company culture that is open to growth and sustaining new concepts.
Empathy also means fewer disputes within the company, and happier employees, as well as a better team environment. Happy employees mean a better service, more returning customers, and a greater profit for the company overall.
It is not uncommon now for companies to include EQ tests as part of a job application.
Businesses are slowly becoming more complex and interdisciplinary, so the ability to work with multi-functional teams is absolutely essential to success on a personal level, and in terms of the business itself.
Empathy and emotional intelligence is paramount for businesses to function well.
Remember how we stated that leadership and management were different things? Well, let’s elaborate on the leadership part of that now.
Leadership can help you stand out from the crowd when it comes to filling out job applications. Being able to take initiative and lead a team can be a very desirable trait, even if you are only going for an entry level position.
Leadership skills are sought-out for everyone who wants to succeed in businesses, even for those who do not want to hold a managerial post. Remember, being a good leader and being a good manager are totally different things.
Leaders can help to empower people to succeed and help to facilitate teamwork. You use these skills to build a productive work environment, via the use of interpersonal skills that help you to build-on effective communication and collaboration.
In being a good leader you should possess other skills such as being flexible, motivated, positive, able to problem-solve effectively, and communicate well. You should also be able to delegate, and be ready to take on any responsibilities that may come your way.
A leader skill does not even have to belong to someone who is a team leader, project leader, or manager. Having these skills can be useful even for those at the bottom of the ladder. It can help you to progress in your job, and in group tasks, having these skills can get things done more effectively and faster.
To some, being able to work well in a team might seem obvious. However, in some roles you might question why you would need such skill. However, being a good team player is crucial. Yes, even for the managers and CEOs out there.
It doesn’t matter if you are in an entry-level position, or a CEO, you need to be able to work well in a team. Without effective teamwork, a business will simply not do well.
Teamwork is about effective communication, empathy, active listening, honesty, respect, and responsibility.
Any business is like a cog in a machine, each cog must be able to work well, and if one cog is not working with the others the whole machine breaks down. Teamwork is therefore essential.
However, in many businesses, many think that teamwork means getting rid of any ‘cogs’ that are not performing to their highest. Yet, teamwork is also about realizing that we are all human, and if one member of the team is struggling, we should figure out how to help them.
Working as a team is about helping each other as well as working well together.
If you are just out of school and college, a great way to demonstrate that you are a good team player is if you have played team sports, participated in clubs or extracurricular activities, and so on.
How Key Skills Can Boost Your Resume?
When an employer is looking for a new employee, it is a bit like when we are seeking out a cake that will really hit that sweet spot. They need to find all those ingredients that are needed in that recipe that will make up the perfect cake.
As potential employees, our resumes need to scream that we have all of those ingredients and are therefore the candidate that they are looking for.
Having these special skills will show that we are an ideal addition to their team and can really bring something to the table. Even if everyone else in the company were to have these skills too, it would mean that we fit in well.
When an employer puts up a job posting, they will usually get countless resumes. The harsh truth is, they are not going to read every single word on every resume they get. They will skim read. However, most employers will pay attention to the key skills.
This is why you should list your key skills at the very top of your resume. This is the section that sets you apart from other candidates, and will show the employer what you will bring to the job.
It can help to give examples, instead of just bullet pointing, or writing a list. Instead of saying you work well in a team, mention team sports, instead of saying ‘initiative’, mention that business you started up.
Whatever, you do, and however you present these skills, remember to put these right up the top. These are the defining factors that an employer will look at first, and they are the skills that will help decide if you are a good fit for the company.
Transferable skills are skills that are used, needed, and sought-out in every business and industry. Regardless of what industry you work in, these are skills you will always need.
Having transferable skills makes it easier for you to climb the career ladder, or change careers if you feel the need to. It makes things easier for you, and employers.
Not only do these skills help in workplaces, but they also help in our daily lives too. They are transferable in many aspects of our lives, and help us in a variety of situations.
A majority of the most successful people out there are rife with these skills, and you can be too.