What are transferable skills

Transferable skills are skills and abilities that are relevant and helpful across different areas of life: socially, professionally and at home. They are ‘portable skills’. Employers often look for people who can demonstrate a good set of transferable skills. The good news is that you already have transferable skills – you’ve developed such skills and abilities throughout your life, at school or university, at home and in your social life, as well as through any experience in the work-place.

You may think that a lack of relevant, industry-specific experience will stop you from getting a job but this is not always the case.

If you are changing careers, have recently graduated, or are looking for your first job, you’ll be pleased to learn that employers are often looking for potential. It is vital that you sell your potential by demonstrating the transferable skills that you have developed already. When applying for a job you should remember that the type of transferable skills you highlight in a letter of application or in your CV should be related to the position for which you are applying.

The section below highlights some transferable skills you will have, whatever your previous experience. They are all skills valued by employers in all industries:

Team work

  • In many jobs you will be expected to work as part of a team. Your ability to work with others will help reassure employers that you will ‘fit in’ and offer a valuable contribution. Think about examples of when you have worked well with others in formal or informal groups to achieve results.
team work


You may not be applying for a role that specifically requires leadership ability but you may need to be able to demonstrate your capability to lead in certain situations. There are many skills you need to be an effective leader so think about examples when you have helped motivate, taken responsibility or lead others effectively.

Motivation, Organisation & Time Management

  • Being able to manage work independently is as important as working in a team. Time management, and personal organisation are key skills that employers will want to know about. Think of examples where you have had to prioritise certain things to meet deadlines and find examples where you have been proactive, not just reactive, at work.
Time management


Employers often require staff with strong verbal communication skills. Can you communicate information and ideas clearly and effectively in a variety of situations? Think about how you have addressed others, given presentations or offered ideas in a group project. Communicating and listening is a key teamworking skill too.

Other Transferable Skills

  • Listening skills
  • Research skills
  • Written communication
  • IT & Digital skills
  • Personal Development
Print this page: