Transferable skills

What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills are skills that you have gained from your previous and present job, from any hobbies you have had and from various other activities that you might have been involved in, for example coaching a sports team or doing some volunteer work.  You might have gained transferable skills from courses you have done, e.g., writing a report.

Try this

Spend five minutes writing down as many transferable skills as you can think of.  Think about things like communicating, carrying out research, planning projects etc. All these activities need a variety of very important skills.

Think about this

Now compare your list with the lists below.  We’ve divided the transferable skills into five sections.  How does your list compare with the one below?

Types of transferable skills

Communication: the skilful expression, transmission and interpretation of knowledge and ideas.

  • Speaking effectively
  • Writing concisely
  • Listening attentively
  • Expressing ideas
  • Facilitating group discussion
  • Providing appropriate feedback
  • Negotiating
  • Perceiving nonverbal messages
  • Persuading
  • Reporting information
  • Describing feelings
  • Interviewing
  • Editing

Research and Planning: the search for specific knowledge and the ability to conceptualize future needs and solutions for meeting those needs.

  • Forecasting, predicting
  • Creating ideas
  • Identifying problems
  • Imagining alternatives
  • Identifying resources
  • Gathering information
  • Solving problems
  • Setting goals
  • Extracting important information
  • Defining needs
  • Analyzing
  • Developing evaluation strategies

Human Relations: the use of interpersonal skills for resolving conflict, relating to and helping people.

  • Developing rapport
  • Being Sensitive
  • Listening
  • Conveying feelings
  • Providing support for others
  • Motivating
  • Sharing credit
  • Counseling
  • Cooperating
  • Delegating with respect
  • Representing others
  • Perceiving feelings, situations
  • Asserting

Organisation, Management and Leadership: the ability to supervise, direct and guide individuals and groups in the completion of tasks and fulfillment of goals.

  • Initiating new ideas
  • Handling details
  • Coordinating tasks
  • Managing groups
  • Delegating responsibility
  • Teaching
  • Coaching
  • Counseling
  • Promoting change
  • Selling ideas or products
  • Decision making with others
  • Managing conflict

Work Survival: the day-to-day skills that assist in promoting effective production and work satisfaction.

  • Implementing decisions
  • Cooperating
  • Enforcing policies
  • Being punctual
  • Managing time
  • Attending to detail
  • Meeting goals
  • Enlisting help
  • Accepting responsibility
  • Setting and meeting deadlines
  • Organising
  • Making decisions

You will probably not have all these skills, but if you think carefully you will probably have many of them. Find out: How to identify your transferable skills.

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