Transferable Skills

Transferable Skills

What are transferable skills?

These are skills that can be used in any work setting. Sometimes they are an innate part of your personality, but they can also can developed. We call them transferable because you may gain them through school, volunteering or work, and they are applicable to other volunteer or work settings.

There are certain transferable skills that the majority of employers will want. These include self-management skills, like:

  • Having a positive attitude
  • Being goal oriented able to deliver results
  • Being able to communicate aurally and in writing, and being able to read, write, understand and discuss information well, in order to meet the organization's needs
  • People skills, including the ability to work well in a team, to build relationships, to problem resolve interpersonal conflicts that may arise in the workplace, to negotiate effectively, and to coach or train others
  • Being flexible and adaptable to change, innovation, and new learning
  • Demonstrating leadership, initiative, or resourcefulness
  • Being able to present and market yourself in a professional manner in the workplace or to clients 

These also include more technical skills, like:

  • Problem solving, including thinking things through and the ability to make thoughtful decisions 
  • Using numbers to measure, calculate, and budget; and the ability to record the data effectively
  • Organizaional skills, including the ability to organize your work and yourself to get the job done
  • Being on time and being able to prioritize completing tasks and accomplish them efficiently and by a deadline
  • Taking responsibility to promote effective work production
  • Gathering and using information; can include research, analysis and synthesis of information and the ability to conceptualize future needs and solutions to the employer's advantage
  • Computer skills including MS Office, email and Internet search

Remember to market yourself by including your transferable skills in your accomplishment statements in your resume. See our tip sheet on Accomplishment Statements for more!

Identifying Transferable Skills

Essential Skills, from the Government of Canada
Find out about the essential skills in 350+ careers via the Essential Skills Profiles:

Skills Lists
Not sure what skills you have? Sometimes lists of skills are a helpful starting place:

Youth Skills Inventory

Princeton University Career Services

Quintessential Careers

Last update: July 2016