what are transferable skills?
Transferable skills are core abilities or expertise that have value across different roles and can be applied in numerous work settings.
These abilities and talents can be picked up gradually—both at work and outside of work—often through activities such as volunteer work, self-paced courses, higher learning, or hobbies.
why are transferable skills important?
Although transferable skills aren’t the core qualifications tied directly to a given role, they are immensely valuable for an organisation and should be prioritised in the recruitment process.
- The right fit: These soft skills demonstrate a candidate’s ability to fit well with the team, show what they have to offer, and highlight their capacity for learning and development.
- Beyond core qualifications: Considering transferable skills is especially useful when hiring employees who are making career shifts or during recruitment for entry-level positions. These skills play a key role in distinguishing the right candidates in such circumstances.
- Strong relationships: Transferable skills can also result in better working relationships. Employees who have honed the right soft skills can engage better with their colleagues, supervisors, and clients. Employees who can build strong relationships with others are great candidates for in-house growth into leadership roles.
- Well-rounded, capable workers: Candidates with a range of transferable skills are generally well-rounded individuals. If they're hired, they can be adept at taking on new responsibilities. This can make them highly capable in various roles and departments.
what are examples of transferable skills?
The type and number of transferable skills a person has will vary, but here are some of the most valuable ones:
The business environment is fraught with change. To keep up, employees need to be adaptable. This could mean embracing new strategies and upskilling. Adaptability is essential when navigating different projects and working well with others in the organisation.
While particularly important in customer-facing roles and industries, communication is a wide-ranging skill that’s key in any number of settings.
Good communication facilitates the provision of information in a way that creates shared meaning. Ideally, candidates should demonstrate this in written and verbal form, but also through listening.
Apart from the hard skills acquired through experience with software tools, candidates with this skill have a general capacity to research and analyse information. This could be shown through university projects for entry-level candidates or previously prepared reports for candidates with more experience.
Delegation isn’t only the domain of senior management. Employees without a management background can develop this skill from prior experience tutoring or mentoring others, or sharing responsibilities within group settings.
In any role or work setting, employees are expected to be reliable. Candidates demonstrating this early can be entrusted with responsibilities and be counted upon to see them through. This could encompass being able to prioritise tasks and execute them as expected.
Empathetic candidates can highlight their ability to consider ideas, thoughts, and feelings from the perspectives of others.
This transferable skill goes a long way in improving, minimising, or resolving conflict, improving internal working conditions, and building better relationships with colleagues and other stakeholders.
The ability to lead others in working on tasks/projects to completion is an indispensable asset to any organisation.
Leadership calls for the effective management of resources, the ability to assign duties or delegate when the need arises, and effective goal setting and implementation.
Prior leadership and people management abilities could signal the potential to successfully take up roles with greater responsibility in future.
As new challenges arise in a work setting (as they always do), problem-solving abilities become increasingly crucial. This skill calls for handling issues calmly while applying critical thinking and analytical approaches.
People who possess good time management skills are better placed to focus their attention and effort, monitor progress, and eventually achieve desired goals within the set timelines. This promotes efficiency across the organisation.
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