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Transferable skills: Definition and examples for your resume

Transferable skills for resume
Kattie Throndyke
Written by
Kattie Throndyke
Professional Technical Writer
Updated on January 11th, 2022

As you begin to work on updating or creating your resume, you’ll want to ensure you include a list of skills that make you a great hire. To catch the eye of recruiters, there should also be some transferable skills included.

If you’re not sure what transferable skills are, don’t worry. We’re going to cover everything you need to know about this important resume addition, including:

Table of content:

What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills are aptitudes or abilities that are useful across industries and job titles. They are the set of skills that make you a great employee, no matter where you work.

Anyone that’s interviewing you or reviewing your resume’s skills section will be looking to see that you’ve listed a few of these, as they help demonstrate your potential to bring value to the role.

Not only are transferable skills in high demand, but you’ll find your work easier and more enjoyable when you develop these abilities. In addition, you’ll be able to take them with you throughout your working career.

Transferable skill examples for your resume

Before we get into examples of transferable skills, it’s important to discuss where these strengths should appear on your resume.

A great way to highlight your expertise for your prospective employer is to have a separate list titled “Skills” with bullet points listing your most relevant skills.

Consider the job that you are applying for and the skills that they mention on the job posting. Highlight the ones that match your professional profile and list those in the skills section.

Not only does this show you’ve taken time to read the job posting and tailor your resume to the position, but it also helps to make the reader stay engaged.

Bulleted lists are a great way to quickly scan over information on a resume template.

Now that we understand the meaning of transferable skills, let’s get into common examples that you might see on resumes. Here are some of the most common transferable skills:

  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Adaptability
  • Attention to detail
  • Multitasking
  • Problem-solving

These types of transferable skills can be assets in any job. Whether you’re an engineer working on a large technical team or a teacher working in a classroom, being a good team player and communicating effectively are crucial to your success at your position.

Similarly, given how much change the workforce has gone through over the last two years, being able to adapt is a transferable skill that keeps you productive.

Another reason you’ll want to highlight your transferable skills on your resume is if you are changing professions or moving into another industry.

Write down a list of all the skills you already have that would be useful if you landed the position.

You’ll boost your confidence immediately, and it’ll get the creative juices flowing, so you’ll be ready to start drafting your resume.

Those transferable skills could make you an excellent fit, even if you might need a little training on the specifics of the job or a new industry.

If you need some ideas on what transferable skills you might possess, we’ve collected skills into categories that you can easily use in your own resume.

General skills

There are a few transferable skills that are wide-ranging and always valuable to possess. These skills don’t fall into one category or another.

In essence, they are quite generic, but nonetheless desirable. You might be someone that is always on time or excited to dive into a new project.

Those qualities can come across in your job interview, but to get invited in the first place, your resume needs to convey those traits first. Here are some good examples you can use in your skills section.

Here are some examples of general transferable skills you can use:

  • Go-getter
  • Self-starter
  • Organized
  • Conscientious
  • Enthusiastic
  • Quick study
  • Adaptable
  • Manages deadlines well
  • Creativity
  • Positive attitude
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Works well under pressure

Interpersonal skills

Being able to work well on a team is something we all learn, usually in school, often in sports, and almost always in the workplace.

Knowing how to best interact with other people makes your workday easier and more enjoyable.

If you’ve taken the time to cultivate these transferable skills, then you’ll want to list them on your resume. Hiring managers like to see that new employees will fit in and will try to work well with established teams.

  • Cooperation
  • Teamwork
  • Collaboration
  • Team building
  • Rapport building
  • Delegating
  • Supporting teammates
  • Sharing and interpreting feelings
  • Listening
  • Receives feedback well
  • Diplomacy
  • Tact
  • Respectful

Analytical skills

Analytical skills are more sought after than ever before. But this can also depend on the profession, so make sure that if you are listing more than one or two, they are relevant to the role.

For example, if you’re applying to be a financial analyst, then adding various analytical transferable skills is recommended.

Having these skills can also signal other traits that employers really value, such as attention to detail and conscientiousness.

Example transferable analytical skills:

  • Problem-solving
  • Decision-making
  • Data analysis
  • Research
  • Data science
  • Budgeting
  • Brainstorming
  • Modeling
  • Auditing

Communication skills

Being able to communicate with your team, bosses, and clients is an essential transferable skill. It doesn’t matter whether you’re working in person or remotely.

You need to have the skills to listen, understand, and reply in different settings.

Some people are better at public speaking, while others are fantastic at written reports and email. Whatever your communication strengths are, be sure to list them on your resume.

Here is a useful list of transferable communication skills:

  • Report writing
  • Verbal communication
  • Oral communication
  • Presenting
  • Email
  • Virtual meetings
  • Listening
  • Negotiation

Leadership skills

Being a leader is a tough gig, but you might already have experience in non-traditional settings. If you were a team leader on a project, taught a group of your peers, or inspired people in a community volunteer effort, then you have key leadership skills that are transferable to the workplace.

As you might expect, leadership is also tightly linked to interpersonal skills, so you may need to list a skill or two from each category to show the breadth of your expertise.

The position you’re applying to might require you to inspire your colleagues or get them to support your initiatives.

You might need to lead a project or teach more junior members of the team.

In each of these scenarios, you are using leadership, and you can show that you have this skill by listing out the applicable transferable leadership skills from the list below.

Example of transferable leadership skills

  • Influencing or convincing others
  • Strategy
  • Teaching
  • Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • Teamwork
  • Active listening
  • Empathy
  • People management
  • Change management
  • Planning

Computer and technical skills

Listing the technical proficiencies you have on your resume helps to signal to your potential future boss that you have the cutting-edge skills to work in today’s offices and remote settings.

You might be tempted to leave off what you consider basic technical or computer skills because you think they are commonplace.

Not everyone has the computer skills you have, so you should note down if you’re great with the Microsoft suite, or you can work with online productivity tools.

If you have more advanced technical or computer skills, you can list them under the skills section as well.

Make sure that they are applicable to the new job though. Because if you say that you can program in a specific coding language, but the company uses a different language, then that’s not a transferable skill.

However, if you said more generically that you can program or code, then that would apply to the new job.

Here are a few types of computer and technical skills you might list on your resume.

Example transferable technical and computer skills:

  • Word processing
  • Google Suite
  • Gmail
  • Spreadsheets
  • Computer programming
  • Graphic design
  • Web development
  • Digital marketing
  • SEO
  • Technical writing

Finish writing your resume using our free resume builder

Now you can craft your own resume with a stellar skills section. If you want to save time and craft a resume in minutes with expert guidance and advice, try our free online resume builder. Chek it out!