It’s common for many job-seekers to get so caught up in dry recitations of their work history that they forget about some of the other critical areas they need to cover. And while most people recognize the need to refer to their critical job skills in the body of a resume, many often forget to include other skills that may be relevant for the position they’re seeking. To maximize your opportunity to land that new job, you should be focusing on transferable skills too.
What Are Transferable Skills?
Every job has certain skill sets unique to that position. These skills are often prerequisites to being considered for employment, since the job is all but impossible to do without them. For example, computer technicians need to have specific skill sets involving computer technology if they are to properly do their jobs. But if that computer technician decides to pursue a career in customer service or management, those technical skills may not be as relevant.
However, that same technician is likely to have other skills that can be applied to any new position. Those are known as transferable skills, because they can be taken from one job to the next.
They often include skills that you have developed since childhood, but which may not be targeted toward the fulfillment of any particular job task. They are more generalized talents and abilities that can be utilized in a wide variety of employment settings.
What Type of Skills Can Be Considered Transferable?
These skills are often broken down into categories for easier reference. Some define them using as many as six or more categories, but they can be summed up using just three: intrapersonal skills that help you to effectively interact with people, data-based skills that help you manage information, and hands-on skills that help you to deal with machines and other objects.
Examples of Transferable Skills
Intrapersonal skills include basic communication skills, management skills, and similar talents:
- Listening skills
- Written communication
- Public speaking
- Oral communication
- Critiquing skills
- The ability to coordinate group actions
- Complaint management
- Mentoring skills
- Supervisory skills
- Motivational speaking
- Recruitment and hiring
- Interview skills
- Personnel scheduling
- The ability to manage meetings
- Negotiating talents
- Organizational abilities
- Resource management
Data-based skills include a wide variety of skills that involve the accumulation, organization, manipulation, and presentation of data. For example:
- Record management
- Form and report designs
- Clerical skills
- Database management
- Spreadsheet management
- General computer skills
- Information collation
- Billing abilities
- Desktop publishing
- Problem identification
- Inventory management
- Information analysis
- Time management
- Event planning
- Crisis resolution
Hands-on skills are all those things that you can do with your hands, whether it involves installing, maintaining, or repairing equipment or important skills like designing and building websites. There are too many to fully list here, but these are some common skills that should help to identify these talents:
- Computer installation and repair
- Equipment inspections
- Communications equipment setup and management
- Audio/video technology
- Designing website structures
- Building websites
- Similar skills that involve hands-on activities
How Should You Incorporate Transferable Skills into Your Resume?
Some might assume that these types of skills are secondary to your more directly relevant skills, but that’s not true. In fact, many of these transferable skills are every bit as important as those primary skills that employers are seeking. And because of that fact, it is important for you to include them in your resume, and to do so in a prominent way.
Start by developing a list of your skills. This is not only a good exercise that allows you to better assess your existing skills sets, but will also help to ensure that you don’t leave anything important out. Many experts recommend that you create this list before you get into the meat of your resume, since that will allow you to more effectively include them throughout the body of the document.
Simply listing a bunch of soft skills on your resume isn’t very effective. Try to mix them in with your work experience and let your achievements state your soft skills indirectly.
You can also add them as key skills in any summary of your qualifications, to ensure that the employer takes note of them. It’s also important to cite some examples of how you’ve utilized those skills to benefit prior employers. After all, anyone can claim to be a leader. Not everyone can honestly cite an example of a time when they’ve actually demonstrated leadership, however.
The important thing is to ensure that you don’t miss out on the opportunity to dazzle your potential employer with all those skills you’ve developed and demonstrated over the years. Yes, your job-focused skill set is important – but don’t neglect those transferable skills that have made you such an invaluable employee in other settings. They just might be the thing that tips the job-search scales in your favor and lands you the job of your dreams.