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Transferable skills – making the most of what you’ve been doing all along


Transferable skills – what they are and why you need them

Here’s the first of a series of posts to help you when writing CVs and job applications, looking at how to demonstrate your skills to future employers.

What are Transferable Skills?

Everyone has skills. We use them every day, whether they think of it that way or not. So why, when we come to apply for a job, do our minds go blank and we’re convinced we have nothing to offer?

Of course, some jobs will require specific skills, maybe things that we need to have trained in. If you’re a designer, you might need to be skilled in using Photoshop or Illustrator. But the job will also require other things. Things you may have picked up in previous, unrelated jobs. Or, things you’ve been doing all your life, that come so naturally that it’s easy to forget other people can’t do them. These skills are just as valuable.

For example:

Being able to talk to clients, build rapport and understand their needs is just as important a skill for a designer. If you’re the kind of person who chats to strangers on the bus and have solved their problems before you get off at your stop, or at least have made them feel listened to, then that’s really valuable! These are transferable skills – things that apply in all sorts of different situations. They might include some of the following:

These are just a few examples. You may struggle with some of them, and be much more confident with others. It’s usually a good idea to play to your strengths – look for jobs that involve more of the things you’re good at, and fewer of the areas where you’re weak. But you may still need to build up a few of your weaker areas. And it’s always a good idea to develop your strengths further and have good concrete examples of how you’ve demonstrated them. So we’ll start looking at some of these skills more closely – why they’re valuable, how you might be using them already, and how to improve them.


written by Beth Hammond

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