1. Blog
  2. Resume Help
  3. 9 Key transferable skills to include on your resume and how to add them!
Written by Charlotte GraingerCharlotte Grainger

9 Key transferable skills to include on your resume and how to add them!

16 min read
9 Key transferable skills to include on your resume and how to add them!
Artwork by:Aleksandra Zabnina
Do you include transferable skills on your resume? If not, you might be missing out on opportunities. Stand out from the crowd by including these powerful skills on your application!

Do you consider yourself an adaptable worker? We won’t beat around the bush — the modern working world is morphing. So, if you’re hoping to keep up with its increasingly fast pace, you need a strong set of transferable skills on your resume. 

65% of American workers are currently looking for a new full-time job. But it’s not merely job-hoppers that need to have transferable skills. Whatever your career aspirations, having the ability to take on many tasks with ease will always be a bonus. Chances are, you have a load of transferable skills you don’t even know about. So, how can you identify them?

Here at Resume.io, we have the resources to support you all the way up the career ladder. Perfecting your next application doesn’t have to be as hard as you might imagine. Let us take all of the guesswork out of things here. We’ve created this simple guide to help you understand what transferable skills to include on your resume. We will be covering: 

  • What transferable skills are
  • Why having transferable skills on a resume matters
  • The main transferable skill examples that employers want
  • Tips on how to add transferable skills to your next application.

What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills are talents that can be used in a variety of roles and sectors. If we take the example of “communication,” you can use this skill in a customer service environment, a teaching role, or even a marketing position. In fact, this particular skill may be useful in a selection of different industries since you will always have to communicate with others.

As you might imagine, skills that fall under this umbrella are highly valuable to employers. They mean that you can excel in a range of situations and working environments. With that in mind, having a robust set of transferable skills on your resume is a powerful move.

Whether you’re looking to enter a new sector, climb the career ladder, or simply get ahead in your current position, transferable skills will help you along the way. When you clearly understand what these skills are and can pinpoint the talents you possess, it’s a real plus.

Statistical insight

Switching jobs pays — literally! 

Thinking about looking for a new job? You’re not alone. Around four million American workers switched jobs per month between January and March 2022. 

The move pays off for many professionals. The same report showed that over half of job switchers saw an increase in earnings in the same months of the previous year. 

Think of these skills as the bread and butter of your resume. You may have picked them up in your first job, for instance, but can use them in every subsequent position. Much of the time, the transferable skills on your resume will be the abilities that you use on a daily basis in the working world. Later in this guide, we will take a brief look at some examples. 

Why do transferable skills on a resume matter? 

Now that you understand what transferable skills are, let’s talk about why they matter. We’re increasingly seeing that employers are looking for versatile workers — that is, professionals who will excel in different roles. If you have the right combination of transferable skills, it means that you can slide seamlessly from position to position. 

These skills may help you to get hired too. Picture the scene: a recruiter is reviewing a load of incoming applications. They have hundreds to check out and need to decide which ones fit the bill. While many of the resumes look identical, most of them only have skills that pertain to the job position. However, a select few also contain some transferable skills. 

Which candidates will the recruiter want to interview? The answer is simple: the ones who have a range of both job-specific and transferable skills on their resume. Weaving these skills into your resume shows that you are a well-rounded applicant who will thrive. 

Statistical insight

Is it time to boost your skill set?

Skills are the beating heart of your application. Since the modern working world is moving so quickly, it may be worth adding to your existing skill set. One report from CBI predicts that nine out of ten workers will need some form of re-skilling by the year 2030.

9 Examples of transferable skills to put on your resume 

Think you don’t have any transferable skills for your resume? Think again. No matter what line of work you’re in, you will have picked up a wealth of these skills along the way. If you’re scratching your head and don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at some of the most common examples of transferable skills. 

1. Collaboration

How well do you work with others? Research suggests that collaboration drives workplace performance. So, it’s no wonder that employers prize this skill so highly. The more easily you can work alongside people in your team, the more likely you are to reach your goals. 

Of course, there are many skills that go into collaboration. You will need to communicate well with others, understand their needs, and be able to divide up the tasks. 

Spoiler: All of the above takes a lot of effort and understanding on your part. If that doesn’t come naturally to you, you may find that it’s something you need to work on over time. You can strengthen your collaborative skills by putting them into practice. Put simply, the more time you spend working with your fellow colleagues, the better you will be at doing so. 

2. Critical thinking

Critical thinking comes into play in almost every area of your working life. When a challenge arises and you have to combat it, how do you go about doing so? What are the main strategies you use to come to a solution? Are you making things more complicated than they need to be? Or are you following a clear train of thought? 

If critical thinking isn’t second nature to you, don’t panic. You can develop this transferable skill by questioning things and doing your own research. Rather than taking things at face value, consider what you know about them and whether they are 100% accurate. When you get into the habit of digging deeper into the things you’re told, it is sure to help you out.

3. Leadership

It doesn't matter what level you’re at, having leadership skills is always an advantage. The ability to guide those around you means you can easily share what you know. That may come in handy when you’re training new starters or taking the reins of a project. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a manager to hone your leadership skills. 

If you’re looking for a way to bolster this part of your skill set, consider where you can take the lead. It may be something as simple as planning the next meeting, organizing a work function, or coaching another team member. Highlighting the fact that you can teach others is a quick way to get noticed in the workplace. Seize the opportunity, should it arise!

4. Initiative

Job-seekers are all too familiar with the term “self-starter”. Yes, if you’ve been looking for a new role recently, you will have seen this phrase on most of the job postings out there. When employers say that they are looking for someone who is a self-starter, what they mean is a professional who can take initiative. To put that another way, it means making your own decisions rather than always asking for your manager to give you direction. 

Having initiative requires a level of self-confidence. Ask yourself: do you trust yourself to make the right call on things? When you’re working, you may be afraid to make decisions that could have a significant impact on the result. If that sounds familiar, it may be worth trying to strengthen the level of self-belief you have. You may want to ask your manager for feedback on decisions you’ve made in the past, for example. 

5. Resourcefulness

In a perfect world, everything would always go to plan. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. There will be times when things mess up. You might miss a deadline. You might be short-staffed. You might have a last-minute order come in. Whatever the situation happens to be, it’s your inner resourcefulness that will ultimately help you deal with it. 

How do you use the resources available to you to get the best results? These resources include your budget, the staff, and your skill level. It’s not hard to understand. If you make the most out of what you have, you can become more productive and reach your goals. 

6. Adaptability

Things can change overnight. You never know when the unexpected will happen and your job or even your industry will be shaken up. For that reason, being an adaptable worker can make all the difference. How do you respond when there’s a change of plan? If you are rigid and focused on what could have been, you’re not getting it right. Rather than lamenting what has gone wrong, you should take the situation for what it is and move forward.

7. Creativity 

You might think that this skill is confined to the creative sector. However, it’s not merely your graphic designers, writers, artists, and dancers who have a flair for it. Whatever your job happens to be, you may have to use your inner creativity to get a task done well. To understand what creativity means in your industry, it may help to think outside of the box. 

It could be something as simple as suggesting a new, more efficient way to do something, for example. Let’s say that your team always misses their end-of-month deadline and you can pinpoint the thing that’s slowing you down. Offering a better way to hit that deadline in an innovative move. The managers are sure to take note of your creative spark.

8. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is something of a buzz phrase at the moment. When hiring new candidates, 71% of employers value this skill over intelligence quotient (IQ). The skill means that you can not only identify your own emotions and manage them but also understand the emotional experiences of the people around you, i.e. your coworkers. 

When you’re including transferable skills on your resume, this one should be a top priority. Emotionally intelligent people have a higher threshold for stress, can work better with those around them, and are able to handle themselves in a professional setting.

9. Communication

Communication isn’t simply about getting your point across — you also need to learn to listen. This skill is one that many people have trouble with. When you’re speaking to coworkers, you may find that you are so focused on your own message that you are not paying attention to what they have to say. It’s a rookie error that won’t get you anywhere.

Being able to clearly communicate with your team will always be a huge advantage. It means that you and your colleagues are always on the same page. Of course, some people have no problem communicating well with others. If, on the other hand, you find it hard to both understand and be understood, you might want to work on this specific skill. 

Statistical insight

Can you pinpoint your transferable skills?

A massive 57% of people can’t identify what their transferable skills are with a high degree of confidence, according to a report by Forbes. If you are unsure what skills you possess, you have no way of communicating this to an employer. 

Take the time to figure out what your core set of skills is. You might want to create a long shortlist and then whittle it down to your most versatile talents. Including transferable skills on your resume is a surefire way to make sure that you stand out from the crowd.

Different coloured circles with text inside
Different coloured circles with text inside

How do you list transferable skills on your resume? 

In this guide, we have covered a range of transferable skills that you may choose to include on your resume. But you may be left wondering how to include them in your next application. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you decide to put pen to paper.

  • Identify your most valuable skills. The first step of the process is making sure that you pinpoint what your transferable skills are. You can look at the examples we have listed in this guide to help you along the way. Ask yourself which of the above skills you already have and then decide which ones offer the most value.
  • Include them in your employment section. While you can include transferable skills in your skills section, you can pepper your employment section with them too. You can slide them beneath the job in which you learned them, for example.
  • Show some evidence for each skill. Saying you possess a certain skill is all well and good… but can you prove it? Think of a time when you used this talent and include it in your education section. You can put it into a bullet-pointed sentence.
  • Refer back to the job posting. If you’re not sure which transferable skills to include on your resume, here’s a tip that you may not have considered. Look at the original job posting and take note of any skills the employer has highlighted. If you have these transferable skills, you can edit your existing resume to include them.

If your resume is completely devoid of transferable skills, you’re missing a trick. Before you send off that application, make sure that you have included a few of them on it. Don’t force it — simply think about the skills that you already have in your arsenal and feature them. 

Key takeaways 

  • Including transferable skills on your resume may help you win more interviews.
  • Many people have trouble when it comes to identifying their transferable skills. Take the time to consider what you are bringing to the table here!
  • Use our list of transferable skills examples as inspiration when defining your own.
  • Wherever possible, back up your skills with real-world examples and anecdotes.
Build your resume in 15 minutes
Build your resume in 15 minutes
Use professional field-tested resume templates that follow the exact ‘resume rules’ employers look for.
Create My Resume
Share this article
Keep reading
Career10 min read
How to apply for jobs if you have dyslexia
How to apply for jobs if you have dyslexia
Job Interview6 min read
12 things you should say during a job interview
12 things you should say during a job interview
Career10 min read
Brand yourself for success: How to build your personal brand and land your dream job
Brand yourself for success: How to build your personal brand and land your dream job
Job Interview9 min read
Walmart job application tips
Walmart job application tips
Browse All
This website uses cookies to improve user experience and perform analytics and marketing. By using our website, you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy.
Accept Cookies