Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are the general skills you can apply to a number of different roles. They help show employers that you are flexible, communicative and driven. 

As such, it's vital that you're able to demonstrate your transferable skills on your resume, particularly if you don't have a great deal or previous work experience. 

The guide below will teach you how to identify your top transferable skills and how to make this count on your graduate CV :


Identify your transferable skills

Firstly, you need to be able to understand and identify which transferable skills you possess.

Transferable skills are those that you develop as you progress through life, employment and education – whether that’s communication, teamwork or attention to detail.

When you begin to think about all the aspects of your university course, your part-time roles, a voluntary role, extra-curricular activities and placement year, you’ll likely be left with a long list of skills which will be highly beneficial to your future employers.

So, spend an hour or two identifying your transferable skills and create a comprehensive list to use moving forward.


Choose which skills are relevant to the job

One key piece of CV advice is not to include any irrelevant information, as this takes up space and doesn't interest the recruiter. 

Therefore, once you have a list of your transferable skills, it’s important to understand which of these are actually relevant to the role you’re applying for.

Start by looking at the job description to see what desirable skills the employer has listed. After that, an internet search of your target role title will reveal other sought-after transferable skills that you could include on your CV. 

Now you know what employers are looking for, identify the ones from your list which match. These are the ones to include in your graduate CV.


Give examples of how you've used them

It’s not enough to simply list your transferable skills on your CV - you’ve got to give examples of how you’ve used them in the past. 

For example, if you want to demonstrate your communication skills you might find an example from your part-time customer service role: 

“Greeting customers and discussing their needs to help them find the right products.”

This quickly helps the employers to see that you’re able to build relationships, communicate effectively and offer good customer service. 

Alternatively, if you haven't got any previous experience you could find an example from your time in university, such as:

“Presenting my final project to a lecture hall of 50 students, providing informative handouts and taking questions at the end.”


Back them up with facts and figures

Another way to help the recruiter quickly see that you're a good fit for the role is by quantifying your examples with facts and figures where possible. 

This could mean using statistics, percentages, currency or other important numbers to show how you made a positive contribution in the past.

An example of this could be: 

“Continually exceeding monthly targets by up to 15%, resulting in an additional £12,000 revenue for the business in just three months”

Alternatively, if you have haven't got rock-solid figures like this, or perhaps you’ve not had any previous work experience, you can quantify your success in other ways, for example:

“Oversaw a team of 10 other students whilst acting as representatives for the university on open days”


Making transferable skills count on your CV

Transferable skills not only show employers that you are flexible, but they can also help you to land a job when you've got little to no experience behind you. 

Using the guide above, spend time identifying the most important transferable skills for your chosen role and give examples or how you've used these in the past. 

This is the best way to demonstrate your skills and secure yourself in an interview.


Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV - he is a former recruitment consultant and contributor careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.

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