What Are Transferable Skills?

What Are Transferable Skills?

Transferable skills are functional abilities and/or qualities that can be used in almost any situation and can be transferred from one area to another. Transferable skills can be acquired through formal education and training or informal life experiences. Transferable skills are valuable to employers because it demonstrates what you have learned from past experiences and highlights skills and abilities that make you a good candidate for the position.

How to acquire them

Transferable skills can be acquired through many experiences such as previous jobs, internships, courses, volunteer experiences, and extracurricular activities. The key is to identify the skills you have learned through past positions/roles and demonstrate how you can apply them to your next opportunity.

When building a resume, writing a cover letter, or during the interview process, you will want to identify a set of transferable skills that you have acquired through your past experiences. You don’t want to just say that you have a certain skill, but show the employer how you gained that skill and use specific examples.

Transferable means to transfer

You may be applying to a job that lists presenting to small and large groups as one of the responsibilities. Although you may not have done this formally in a previous job, you may have had assignments that required you to present to the class. You can transfer your public speaking and presentation skills from the classroom to the position you are applying for. Similarly, the position may be looking for someone with the ability to lead a team. As president of a student organization, or captain of a team, you can demonstrate your leadership skills and highlight what you learned from being in that role.

The distinctive factor to having transferable skills is the ability to transfer your skills from one area or career to another. Most employers are looking for skills that are effective in most employees across multiples industries. Often times when changing career paths, it is important to tailor your transferable skills to the job description and responsibilities of the position you are applying for. This demonstrates to the employer why you’re a good fit for the job. The knowledge and skills you gain throughout your life’s experiences will serve you well in any job search process, whether you are just starting your career or changing your career.

Examples of Transferable Skills

Team Work
Problem Solving
Organizational Skills
Public Speaking
Written and Oral Communication
Customer Service
Presentation Skills
Critical Thinking
Time Management





Britney Hayes, Graduate Assistant


For more resources for career planning and the search for employment check out the Career Development Center’s website at www.mnsu.edu/cdc.

Don’t forget! A great way to get started is to head to QuickStop. Monday – Friday from 1-4pm.

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