How to Emphasise Transferable Skills

Written by Nicola Wylie
Last updated May 17, 2022

While there are certainly challenges, switching careers is a much easier task when you know how to identify and emphasise transferable skills.  This will also help you to choose a new career

Switching careers can seem like a daunting task, especially later in life. However, an increasing number of workers are making the switch. 2021 saw the era of ‘the great resignation’ with one in four workers in the UK planning a career change

Throughout your professional career, whether you’ve held the same position for years or have changed roles frequently, you have developed a skillset. These skills, especially soft skills such as leadership or problem solving, are in-demand soft skills in a wide range of industries and job roles. The key is learning how to analyse your experience and identifying transferable skills.

This guide explores what transferable skills are, the top transferable skills employers look for, and how to emphasise a transferable skillset.

What are Transferable Skills?

Transferable skills are valuable tools needed in a wide range of jobs, industries, and professional settings. Transferable skills can include hard or technical skills such as coding or design and soft skills like communication or resilience. Many employers will focus on soft skills because these skills are developed with experience and are, therefore, more difficult to train.

Everyone develops transferable skills over time, starting from school. As your career develops, you will naturally hone your ability to manage your time, make decisions, research, or manage projects.

According to research by LinkedIn, some of the most in-demand soft skills in 2021 include emotional intelligence, adaptability, collaboration, and persuasion. These skills are invaluable in almost any career and should be highlighted when changing careers. That’s why it’s so important to understand how to emphasise transferable skills.

Why It’s Important to Emphasise Transferable Skills When Changing Careers

When changing careers, there are a lot of things to consider. Before Retraining career change or refreshing your skills, the best place to start is by identifying the transferable soft skills that you already have. This will guide you when searching for career change jobs

As we saw above, adaptability is one of the most sought-after soft skills. Learning to define your transferable skillset and apply them to a new role showcases your ability to adapt and brand yourself. 

If you are planning a career change to a very different career field, emphasising transferable skills can give you a competitive edge even if you lack direct experience in that role. Let’s say you currently work in customer service and want to move to the health care field. Your communication skills, empathy, problem-solving, and resilience are transferable skills that will stand you in great stead in your new profession. 

Employers recognise and value these transferable skills and the potential that a candidate with these base skills has.

7 Top Transferable Skills 

We’ve compiled a list of 7 top transferable skills that are powerful tools in any career field.

1. Creative Problem Solving

Creative problem-solving is the ability to identify problems, find the root cause, and use creativity to come up with a solution even if it’s unconventional. From medical roles to logistics, this is a valuable asset for any employer.

Creative thinking is a hugely desirable skill for employers because not only does it provide new solutions to complex problems, but it shows that you can overcome roadblocks autonomously.

2. Communication

Almost every job requires communication. Communication skills are your ability to express your ideas and important information in a clear way. Employers value strong communicators because there is less margin for misunderstanding when you can communicate your message concisely and actively listen to others.

Communication skills encompass writing, active listening, public speaking, and sharing and receiving feedback.

3. Adaptability & Resilience

Life happens. In any job role, in any industry, you may need to adapt to new situations or learn new skills. 

Employers highly value employees who demonstrate flexibility, resilience, and a willingness to adapt to different challenges, situations, or work environments.

4. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, is a hugely important soft skill that can’t be taught. Most job roles require you to build relationships, whether it’s with your team, clients, or students. 

High emotional intelligence allows you to manage conflict, form good relationships, and lead effectively.

5. Teamwork & Collaboration

Teamwork and collaboration skills drive productivity and foster a good working environment. Employers want employees that can work together to achieve the best results possible. Your teamwork skills and ability to collaborate effectively on projects will help you succeed in almost any job role.

6. Leadership Skills

Leadership skills include a host of transferable skills such as empathy, problem-solving, and communication. An effective leader can manage a team, set goals, motivate, and achieve results. These are powerful tools that add value to any organisation.

7. Critical Thinking & Analytical Skills

Analytical skills enable you to use logic to analyse problems and break them down until you find a solution. This is a valuable skill in almost any career field. Employers want candidates who can think critically and come up with solutions to business problems.

Tips to Emphasise Transferable Skills when Changing Careers

Transferable skills empower you to adapt and develop professionally. We’ve compiled a few tips on how to change careers by highlighting your talents.

1. Do Your Research

Fancy a career change but not sure what career pathway to choose? Do some research before you make the decision. 

Deep dive into job descriptions on job boards and connect with professionals in your chosen field to gain some insight into the opportunities available and the required skills. Make a list of the skills and requirements listed in the job descriptions.  

This will allow you to assess whether your current transferable skills will be enough or if you may need to retrain.

2. Update Your CV 

Before you begin applying for jobs, you will need to update your CV. Be selective and tailor your CV to only include skills that are listed in the job description or are relevant to the job you are applying for.

3. Emphasise Transferable Skills by Presenting Them in a Clear Way

Highlight your transferable skills on your CV by listing them in a dedicated ‘Skills’ section or in your professional summary at the top of your CV so they aren’t overlooked.

4. Hone Your Interview Skills

Prepare yourself for the interview stage by researching interview tips and practising selling your talents.

During job interviews, focus on impact and results rather than simply listing your skills. How did your problem-solving skills positively impact your previous company? Start by describing a challenge you faced. Then, explain the action you took and the skills needed. Finally, summarise the outcomes.

Final Thoughts

There are lots of benefits of changing careers. If you are considering making a switch, transferable skills will strengthen your application and give you a competitive edge.

Once you have identified your transferable skillset, chosen the career path for you, and revamped your CV, it’s time to start the job hunt. Check out our dedicated career change jobs board to land your next role. 

For more advice on changing careers, we’ve compiled a list of career change support and resources to guide you.

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Last Updated: Wednesday November 30 2022
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