The top 10 transferable skills you need on your CV
14 Sep 2023
Transferable skills, sometimes known as soft skills, are the vital building blocks for any successful CV. The more easily measurable hard skills, such as official qualifications and job-specific tasks like computer coding or knowing another language, are important features of a job application that demonstrate what you can do. But, soft skills tend to be broader and more entrenched in your personality and lived experiences. Here there is the opportunity to demonstrate how efficient and effective you can be in your role as well as show your individual personality and strengths by writing about your own character.. It’s a chance to distinguish yourself from the competition and illustrate how you work.
And the best bit is that you can still write about transferable skills without having had any formal work experience. As well as work, soft skills that you’ve acquired through school, hobbies, family and social life are the type of traits that are essential for almost every occupation. By taking some time to reflect upon your own qualities, you’ll be able to craft a stellar application.
Strong communication skills involve being able to effectively relay information to other people and, in turn, receive and comprehend information. It sounds simple, but communication is the skill most cited by employers in job descriptions. This is unsurprising considering almost all work requires clear and concise communication that you’ll be expected to tailor to the different audiences you’ll liaise with, whether that's customers, colleagues, or management.
If you’ve had a job before, you’ve almost certainly had to exercise your communication abilities. But even if this is not the case, we are constantly corresponding with one another in our daily lives, so try and reflect upon an example where you’ve communicated successfully. Perhaps you’ve perceptively picked up on non-verbal cues from a loved one, such as their body language, that revealed to you something was wrong and you were able to react appropriately. Not only does this prove you’re able to intuit non-verbal communication, but you’re also able to adapt your communication style to suit the situation.
Proving that you can think smartly and independently is sure to make you irresistible to anybody hiring for their business. It’s a promising sign that you can be trusted to deal with complicated scenarios and even improve the working methods of the team you’re joining.
Demonstrating critical thinking can include reflecting back on your school days as well as work. Perhaps you excelled in an analytical subject or went beyond the learning methods taught to you by your teachers and innovated your own study style that saw your grades skyrocket. Any scenario that involves challenging preconceptions or thinking outside the box is a great way to demonstrate your intelligence and the unique value you could bring to an organisation.
Expressing a sense of creativity will do wonders in making your CV read as more exciting. Conveying your individuality and imagination illustrates the special personality you can bring to a team. There are endless examples you can incorporate, but talking enthusiastically about your hobbies is a great place to start.
You might have surpassed expectations in an artistic subject at school, or dedicated your evenings to a dance class or conducting science experiments. Any of these ideas and more can be an opportunity to express an infectious passion for your interests and give the hiring board an insight into how much of an engaging team member you would be to work with.
Showing you can smoothly adjust to changing circumstances indicates that management will be able to trust you in a range of roles and responsibilities, making you a valuable employee.
You can demonstrate this versatility by describing any past experiences where you have altered your plans or priorities due to an unexpected turn of events. For example, you may have volunteered last minute to take on additional duties or worked overtime to support the team. Even simply learning how to use new technologies or new processes shows the employer that you can cope with the ever-evolving role of a long-term employee.
Digital literacy is an increasingly sought-after skill in modern workplaces. This is often categorised as a hard skill, but illustrating competency in the realm of the digital doesn’t have to manifest itself in official certification. Even just being able to navigate Microsoft, social media, and email etiquette will encourage confidence in essential workplace skills.
Being a problem solver is an asset to any team or company. If you can look at a situation and break it down into smaller, manageable stages; offer resolutions, or ways to work around barriers, then that’s a key skill to shout about! Think about times where you’ve been presented with a problem, perhaps in a group scenario, or when you were leading on an extracurricular project, and you’ve had to tackle it head on and in an effective way. Employers will want to know how you handle problems when presented with them.
Sensibly organising your daily schedule is known to boost productivity. In your CV you ought to showcase that you can understand the demands of each task and order them efficiently.
Explain that you are economical with your time- think ‘work smart, not hard’- using examples from work, school, and home life. Perhaps you have balanced a part-time job with school or university, or studied alongside taking care of a loved one. Once again, discussing your hobbies is also an excellent chance to verify your time management skills.
Leaders are a vital component of a team, they spearhead projects, recognise talent, delegate responsibilities, and motivate others. Chances are you yourself have been a successful leader at one point or another, perhaps you were promoted to a managerial role, trusted to train new recruitment, or even took control in resolving conflict between friends. Knowing you can inspire other members of the team and harbour the potential to progress quickly in the workplace will certainly spark an employer’s interest.
Testifying to your own interpersonal skills, like empathy, informs the hiring manager that you’re a caring, considerate, and cooperative person. Having an open mind means you’ll have the people skills needed to understand others and, importantly, predict responses. Many service jobs involve deescalating conflict and calming complaining customers. You’ll undoubtedly impress your potential future employer if you can recount a scenario where you expertly dealt with a difficult situation by exercising empathy and quickly intuiting a solution.
A strong-willed, positive attitude is everything in the workplace. Illustrating that you can remain motivated and recover from setbacks means you are a resourceful member of the team. You can perform resilience in your CV writing by explaining how you’ve overcome a challenge. Narrating how you navigated independent study or taking on jobs you didn’t expect will help prove your maturity and reliability which makes you a resilient worker.
And there you have it! Ten transferable skills to add to your CV that you may not have even realised you had. If you include these with strong examples to demonstrate where you’ve used them, you’ll be impressing employers left, right and centre. Best of luck!