Highlighting Your Transferable Skills in Your Job Application
Transferable skills are skills developed in one job that you can take to another job. The transferable skills that you possess equip you to move to your next career opportunity, and they are the framework on which you build your career.
Everyone has transferable skills; it's just a matter of identifying what they are and how they will fit into the role you are applying for.
What transferable skills could you have?
- Written and verbal communication
- Work ethic
- Time management
- Critical thinking
- Ability to meet deadlines
- Interpersonal and liaison skills
- Knowledge of specific software
- Knowledge of specific legislation
- Other quantifiable skills that are required for a job
Identifying your transferable skills and communicating them in a written job application and an interview is incredibly powerful. It communicates to the selection panel that you have a clear understanding of the job you are applying for, what your skills are (i.e. what you can do), and what you can offer.
Identifying Your Transferable Skills
The easiest way to start is by listing your career accomplishments and main job functions. This is a list that you can keep in your career journal or portfolio and draw on for years to come and future job applications. These skills don't have to just come from your job; they can also come from:
School and Higher Education
Other relevant life experiences
(*Highlighting transferable skills from training courses, recent ones in particular, will score you bonus application points!)
When putting together this inventory, think in terms of “I have/I did”, “I can/I do”, or “I am”. It can be helpful to get a friend, family member or colleague involved in this exercise to help get your brainstorming going. It can be quite a fun and enlightening process. Looking at your current or old job descriptions or duty statements are also good places to gather information.
Below is also a list of accomplishments to get you started.
Analysed a problem
Answered customer enquiries
Attended a conference or forum
Conducted in-house training
Conducted on the job training
Created a project timeline
Designed a brochure
Discovered a better process
Evaluated options for …
Facilitated or chaired a meeting
Gave a presentation
Invented a new way of doing things
Investigated options for a new …
Liaised with stakeholders
Made a decision
Managed a building project
Managed an investment portfolio
Managed a team of people
Mediated a dispute
Member of a committee
Monitored a project’s progress
Participated in or lead organisational change
Planned a work function or Christmas party
Produced a new service
Provided input to financial budgets
Recommended a course of action
Resolved customer problems
Sold an idea to management
Solved a problem
Took and distributed meeting minutes
Worked within a quality system
Wrote a newsletter
Wrote a standard operating procedure
How do your transferable skills fit into the role you are applying for?
This is the harder part of the process of identifying and communicating your transferable skills. It requires a good hard look at the job description and probably also a discussion with the contact officer. When it comes to writing your selection criteria you can make clear comparisons to what is required in the job and what you can offer. Even stating "I have clear transferable skills in this area as evidenced by..." to make it very explicit.