Transferable Skills:
What Are They and Why Do You Need Them?

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You may have heard about the importance of transferable skills, at career info sessions in school or college, and maybe during workshops held at the office. While we’ve heard of transferable skills, how many of us would be able to explain what they are; or why they’re important? Keep scrolling to learn more…

What are Transferable Skills?

Transferable skills refer to skills you possess and are useful across a range of jobs and industries. These skills are often developed as we grow and mature, in social situations, school, or at entry-level jobs. Examples of transferable skills can include (but are not limited to):

Adaptability – People who are highly adaptive are able to work towards goals, even with changes in teams, projects, management or products. Employers are quick to hire candidates who are flexible and adaptive, as they are able to quickly acquire new skills and adapt to processes. This ensures work is done quickly, efficiently and with a positive attitude.

Communication skills – Communication skills refer to the ability to impart or receive information through speaking, writing or other relevant mediums. Having good communication skills will help you know when and how to ask questions, read body language and communicate with people on all levels in general. Good communicators play a major role in their teams, ensuring a project or task is carried out.

Reliability or dependability – Dependability here refers to qualities which make a person a reliable employee. This includes punctuality, organisational skills and responsibility. An employee who can be relied on to complete a task efficiently, and one who manages tasks and relationships in the office, are highly sought after by employers.

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Organization – Employees who are highly organized have a strong structure to their working process. They are equipped to handle deadlines, they effectively communicate with co-workers and follow instructions of superiors. These employees can be trusted to take notes, meet deadlines and to complete projects in a timely manner.

So, now that we know what transferable skills are, and have some examples, the question remains: WHY are they so important?

They make you a versatile employee. Remember what we said about adaptability? Employees with a diverse set of transferable skills are able to multitask and fill different roles at the workplace – a useful skill for the job market!

They are yours to keep.  Acquiring a skill is something permanent. You may be slightly out of practice if you let your skills lay dormant, but you never lose them. The best part is, they’re cumulative. The more places you work at, all the more experience you will gain, and the more skills you develop.

They improve your chances of employment. Employers are always on the lookout for flexible, multi-skilled employees, with useful and relevant skills. Even with the lack of experience, possession of these skills shows that the employee is able to learn and pick up the knowledge needed to function within their role in a company. In short, transferable skills highlight just how much of an asset you will be when hired.

 In developing your transferable skills, it’s equally important to learn how and when they can be utilized. These skills can serve as your unique selling point, helping you learn new skills along the way. Identify how they translate into different industries, and watch as a world of opportunities open before you. Good luck!