If you’re looking for a new job, then it’s vital that you’re able to communicate your transferable skills. That helps employers know what you’re capable of, and can help you to get a competitive edge over other candidates. It can also be a way of communicating that you have the skills to make a bold move into a new career.
If you’re a remote worker or digital nomad, you probably have a range of related skills which may be an asset to any new company. Don’t forget about communicating those specific remote work skills when applying for a job. They may seem obvious to you, but not everyone will have had your experience. If in doubt, here’s a list of 12 skills you need to become a digital nomad.
Below we look at some general transferable skills that you may want to add to your skills list and communicate throughout your new job hiring process. Remember to think of examples of how you have applied these skills in practice throughout your career, to showcase your achievements and what you can bring to a new company.
What are transferable skills?
You may be wondering what transferable skills are, which ones you have, and why they’re so important.
You likely have a range of transferable skills, and you may just need help in identifying them and then knowing how and where to communicate these skills.
Essentially, transferable skills are ones that you use in whatever job you’re doing. Some of these skills are so-called “hard skills” like coding, while others are “soft skills” like being able to build partnerships and communicate effectively within a team.
Throughout your career you will be building and learning new skills, which you can then take with you to any job you do in future. And depending on the transferable skills you have accrued and gleaned over the years, these may actually help you to transition into a new job role, or help you to be more employable.
How to identify your transferable skills
Many prospective employers are particularly keen to know what your transferable skills are before hiring you. That means that it’s important to convey these through your CV and interviews for any jobs you’re applying to.
But coming up with a list of transferable skills may not seem an obvious step, or you may be interested to see some examples to help you identify your own particular skills.
You can also look at a transferable skills checklist to help you come up with a comprehensive list of skills to communicate. Below are some general examples which should be helpful in this regard.
Examples of transferable skills
You may have a long list of transferable skills, but there are some that may really help you stand out when applying for particular job roles.
Sometimes a job description will list some of these desired skills, and other times you may need to research what types of skills are required and highly desirable for particular job roles to try and communicate those throughout the application process.
The following are some of the transferable skills that employers typically want employees to have at minimum so that they don’t have to spend time and money on teaching them to you.
1. The ability to solve problems and find solutions
Most job roles involve problems and challenges that need to be solved. It takes someone with the ability to analyse a situation and then come up with a workable and effective solution to solve the problem and find a solution.
Most employers are looking for people who are resourceful, creative and take initiative when it comes to solving problems. Part of the process involves having good analytical reasoning to assess the situation and take into account which solutions would be viable, affordable, and suitable to the company.
2. Independent and critical thinking
Employers are also typically impressed with candidates who show that they are capable of taking in information, assessing it, and then interpreting it independently and critically. This is part of the process involved in finding effective solutions and can also help companies with innovation and new ideas.
Most companies, particularly when it comes to managerial roles, are looking for staff who can effectively guide a team using their leadership abilities. To be a good leader, you also need to be a good listener, communicator, problem solver and manager and should be good at project management and being organised.
4. Flexible mindset and approach to work
Most companies also find flexible working styles to be a skill in-demand, as most businesses will need to deal with delays or setbacks. And having a very rigid approach that doesn’t allow for any change of course or adaptability doesn’t always lead to the best outcomes, which is why flexibility is a good skill to have.
Being flexible and adaptable also shows your ability to be able to pivot and take advantage of the latest market trends, innovations, technologies or opportunities which are often very good for business.
5. Reliability and dependability
Being a reliable and dependable employee is also highly prized by employers. It shows that you have the determination to get the job done, the integrity and honesty to perform your job effectively, and that you have a good work ethic and morals. It also shows you are good at time management and can be relied upon to be on time and not miss appointments or take too many days off work.
6. Organizational skills
Being organized is also a desirable skill, as it shows that you are meticulous, detail oriented, and good at time management and being analytical. It’s also important when managing others to be very organized, and is often associated with being a good leader who can lead by example.
If you’re organized, your employer will usually feel more confident in your abilities to meet deadlines and deliver tasks of suitable quality.
Most employers are looking for employees who can fit in with their existing team and help them to succeed, through effective collaboration. Being able to get on well with a diverse team and work together towards a shared goal is an important skill to have.
8. Effective communication and EQ
Communication is one of the most important skills to have in any job. You will need to communicate your thoughts and ideas with your colleagues, boss and partners. It’s important that you are able to communicate so that others understand you, and it’s highly desirable if you can communicate in a way that is engaging, clear and that convincing.
That includes being able to write effectively and listen well to what others say. This is particularly important when getting a briefing from a client so that you can understand what they are looking for and to ensure no misunderstandings.
Employers often also look for people who have good emotional intelligence (EQ) or empathy, as this is the basis for building strong and effective relationships with colleagues and partners. Having good EQ also means you will generally solve problems fairly and equitably, and not alienate or discourage others in the performance of your role.
9. Thinking out of the box
Many employers are actively looking for people with novel ideas and creative solutions that can be used to problem solve and implement new ways of doing business, or help to innovate new products and services. Being able to see the world a little differently and thinking out of the box, can actually be an incredibly desirable skill.
10. Good eye for detail
Certain job roles require a keen eye for detail, and with most senior management roles it’s imperative to have this skill. There are often a range of factors that need to be considered at the same time on any given project, and forgetting about any one of these could jeopardise brand reputation, financial security, and completing according to the set deadlines.
11. IT skills
Most jobs require you to at least be able to have a basic understanding of IT, and many will specify computer software that you should be fluent in. Most companies don’t want to have to spend time training you on the basics, so having basic skills (even if you’re not an expert) can help open doors.
For certain more IT-focused roles, you will need to have more advanced IT skills, with relevant experience and qualifications.
12. Networking and creating partnerships
Many companies like to hire people who are great networkers and relationship builders, which can help promote their brand and bring on board new opportunities. It’s also desirable to have staff who network well internally and get on well with others, as this can help to create a positive company culture.
13. Ability to manage people and projects
Particularly if you’re looking to be hired for a managerial role, you’ll need to show some experience and skill in being able to manage people and in project management.
Project management skills are all about being able to set a clear timeline of deliverables to ensure that a project is achieved. And being able to allocate tasks to other colleagues and ensure that they deliver them on time and get all the support they need to complete them is also a fine art.
How to communicate your transferable skills
When you’re applying for a new job, it’s important to communicate your transferable skills throughout the application process. That means communicating your skills in your cover letter, throughout your CV, perhaps having a dedicated skills list section on your resume, in your online work profiles (such as LinkedIn), and during your job interviews. Being able to detail your skills, and how you have used these in previous roles, will help set you apart from other candidates.
Why are transferable skills so important
When companies are hiring new staff, they are looking for people who have the skills to perform those roles and any additional skills that will help them exceed their job descriptions.
If you are looking to switch careers, then it’s vital to show what skills you have that are relevant and apply to the new role you’re looking to get into. This can show how you may benefit the company and bring additional skills that they don’t have that can make novel contributions.
Final thoughts on the importance of knowing your transferable skills
Being aware of your transferable skills helps you know what makes you a valuable addition to a company, and helps you also to start thinking about what other skills you may want to add to your skills list. Your transferable skills can help you advance your career and can also help you to switch career paths if that’s what you’re looking for.
When it comes to working remotely or as a digital nomad, there are many skills that you may have picked up that could be invaluable in any future role. Start keeping a list of your transferable skills and remember to think of ones that apply to remote job roles if that’s what you’re applying for.