Transferable Skills (n.)
Definition: Aptitude and knowledge acquired through personal experience, such as schooling, jobs, classes, hobbies, sports, etc. Basically, any talent developed and able to be used in future employment situations.

  • Transferable skill through school – learning time management by delegating certain times of the day to homework, class and extracurricular activities.
  • Transferable skill through a job – a sales associate who works on problem solving by identifying issues affecting customers and implementing a plan to fix them.
  • Transferable skills through a sport– a high school football player who masters team work by focusing on bonding activities outside of practice and games.

If you’re wondering what skills might snag the attention of a potential employer, you are not alone. Without even knowing it, many job seekers look past skills that will transfer well to the workplace.  It’s important to remember that we’ve been acquiring these skills since we were 3 feet tall! Countless meaningful, transferable skills are developed outside of the traditional work setting. From learning teamwork skills in little league, to developing editing skills while correcting high school peer papers, each experience lays a certain groundwork for workplace abilities. Here’s why they matter:
They provide a solid suit of armor.  
Being able to identify and clearly communicate examples of your transferable skills can increase your chances of landing a job. They provide solid evidence of your readiness and qualifications for a certain position. Before entering any job situation, make a list of your skills to show how you will be an asset to a company! While creating this list, be specific about each skill that you acquired, how you acquired it, and how it will transfer back to the specific role at hand. Identifying the skills is one thing, but applying them to work situations will benefit you tremendously.
They are constant and personal.  
Remember that we are always accumulating new skills through every single experience. Think about key skills you may have developed over the years and how these directly apply to a resume, job search or interview. Also, with each new experience, reflect on whether you pick up any new transferable skills! They can be unique as gaining communication skills through volunteering or commercial awareness through listening to podcasts in your personal time. Whatever it may be, make it personal to your activities. When you take on a new hobby, job opportunity, class schedule etc., write it down in a notebook and keep a list of the skill you are developing along the way.
Versatility is the name of the game.
Adaptability in any potential job situation is crucial. Being able to show that you can do multiple jobs and fill different roles when needed will set you apart from others. Transferable skills can be relatable to many different job duties. Take advantage of that by being aware of your skill sets. Tying transferable skills to specific job situations can also show a wide range of interests. For instance, contrasting skills learned by training for a marathon with those acquired through studying chemistry demonstrates versatility.
Employers are looking.
Last but not least, transferable skills are desired by any employer from every industry. According to an article by The Balance, the top 7 areas of skill that employers seek are analytical, communication, interpersonal, leadership, positive attitude and technical. Can you show an employer how you have learned these skills through unlikely situations outside of a traditional work setting?
If you really put your mind to it, creating a list of your own transferable skills can be fun and will also serve as a great tool to impress employers. Set yourself apart by acknowledging how these skills do matter! Have any other reasons why transferable skills matter? Please share below: