Transferrable Skills: What are They?

By Relebohile Sera


You’ve probably heard of the term ‘Transferable Skills’ a number of times and you are wondering what it means. What then are transferable skills? They are skills you have acquired during any activity in your life – jobs, classes, projects, parenting, hobbies, sports, virtually anything – that are applicable to what you want to do in your next job.

If you want to land a job, experience and education alone may not be enough. You are going to need the skills to do the job. Even if you have never been paid to work in the industry you are interested in transitioning into, you can present any relevant volunteer experience and transferable skills developed in other fields in a way that is attractive to employers.

Looking at work experience in terms of skill sets and accomplishments, instead of job titles, can open up a lot more possibilities. For career changers or those with limited employment experience, look for transferable skills that can be utilized in the job you are applying for.

It is very important to apply the transferable skills you have to your job search. And luckily you are steadily developing new skills through your life and your professional experiences.

The following represents some common categories of transferable skills:

People Skills:
Training, teaching, conflict resolution, team building, coaching, managing, developing, mentoring and motivating.

Communication Skills:
Writing, editing, presenting, designing, interviewing, negotiating, mediating, corresponding and facilitating.

Finance Skills:
Budgeting, fundraising, accounting, cost analysis, financial planning, auditing, controlling and payroll management.

Technical Skills:
Programming, designing, systems management, database design, database management, engineering, troubleshooting, manufacturing and database administration.

Marketing Skills:
Marketing, advertising, copywriting, promoting, pricing, market analysis and client relations.

Management Skills:
Decision-making, delegating, organizing, implementing, directing, policy development and strategizing.



It is important to check job descriptions (find a list here) if you aren’t sure which transferable skills to include in your CV. Employers will clearly state their benchmark and it’s your job to identify these skills and turn them into your unique selling proposition.

Pick out words which seem most relevant and think of ways you may be able to present similar qualities, while highlighting how they could benefit the employer. Always remember to expand on any skills you mention with real-life example, and if possible, results.


Relebohile Sera (Ms) is a Professional Certified Career Coach. My mission in life is to help people be successful in their careers and to provide coaching for those seeking a new career direction.