How to Determine & Emphasize Your Transferable Skills


Every job, class project or volunteer work assignment teaches us something. While the position itself might not be something that you’d like to emphasize on your resume or in your work history (such as that stint you worked in fast food), it can still be a valuable experience in terms of transferable skills you gained at the opportunity.

Transferable skills are the skills you’ve gathered through previous experience (jobs, hobbies, volunteer work, etc.) that can be used in your next job or new career.

Determining transferable skills

Take a look at the previous jobs you’ve held. Think about what skills you used to successfully complete tasks and projects during your time working there. Even if it was a retail position or babysitting gig, there are still skills that can easily transfer over to your ideal job. Here are some examples of skills you might already have that you can emphasize to land a future job:

  • Customer service
  • Management
  • Public speaking
  • Written communication
  • Technology/computer programs
  • Research
  • Self-management
  • Basic math
  • Handling money
  • Inventory

Emphasizing transferrable skills

Once you’ve identified these transferable skills you already have, you need to share these skills with potential employers or clients.

You can do so in your resume by adding the skills to your skills section or by including these previous work experiences (if you don’t have others that are more relevant to your current field) along with the skills you utilized and learned.

You can also include these skills in your online profiles, either in the skills section, your biography or online resume portion.

Your cover letter is a great way to tie in your transferable skills to the ideal position you’re seeking. Explain to a hiring manager or recruiter how these skills will benefit you on the job you’re applying for and highlight those skills you’ve acquired that make you a great candidate for the open position.

What transferable skills did you gain at previous jobs, volunteer positions or other opportunities? How do those play a role in the current position you’re at?