How to figure out your transferable skills


Figuring out your transferable skills is key to transition into a new role or a new area of your career. Most people get extremely intimidated by exploring career opportunities outside of their comfort zone, however, what people often don’t realize is that there are a lot of skills that are transferable between careers.

If you want to explore other career options, it’s key to figure out your transferable skills and highlight these on your resume. You might think that the first step to furthering your career is to have a great resume, but in order to create a resume that will best serve you, you need to decide what you want to gain from it.

Why? Because a truly great resume is catered to the jobs that you’re applying for and highlights the transferable skills that you hold. If you don’t know what kind of jobs you’re going to be applying for, you can’t highlight the right transferable skills and utilize the correct wording and phrasing to ensure that you align with the requirements of the job.

Don’t focus on the job title

People tend to box themselves in with specific job titles. When you’re trying to figure out your transferable skills, it’s very easy to get stuck on the job title, so instead of searching based on job titles, search based on your skills. This will open you up to new opportunities and give you a better perspective about what job is right for you and what kind of jobs you’re qualified for. You never know what job opportunities are out there until you do a broader search based on the skills you have instead of searching for a specific job title.

Browse through current openings

The easiest way to do this is by going to job sites and searching for one of your strongest (or favorite) skills. For instance, if you’re extremely skilled and enjoy working with Adobe Photoshop, search “Photoshop” and see what kind of positions come up. This will help guide you in the right direction. Similarly, if you excel at project management, customer service, or with using specific software, you can search those terms as well to get a better idea of what kind of jobs focus on those skills.

Additionally, if you’re really feeling stuck, you can simply browse through current job openings without keyword searching for them. If you’re taking this route, simply browse through job openings, go through the job descriptions, and highlight the skills you have. This will help you gather information about what transferable skills you can highlight based on different areas of work. It will also give you a better idea of what kind of jobs you can apply to going forward.

Figure out what words and phrases to include

Do some research on what businesses are actually looking for in a candidate and pay attention to trends of required skills or experience in your industry.

  • Is there software that you continually see as a job requirement?
  • When you browse potential job opportunities, are there any specific skills required?
  • How about certifications? Is there any specialized training that could benefit you when it comes to your job search?

The more research you can do, the better. You want to get a better understanding of what potential employers and recruiters are looking for in candidates within your field so you can highlight these transferable skills and requirements on your resume.

Exploring new career opportunities can be intimidating, but if you figure out what transferable skills you hold, you might be surprised about how many jobs you’re actually qualified for. Instead of focusing on specific jobs titles that you think will be the right fit, focus on figuring out your transferable skills and go from there!

Michele Lando is a certified professional resume writer, personal branding expert, and founder of Write Styles. She has a passion for helping others present the best version of themselves both on paper and in person, and works to polish individuals’ application package and personal style. Aiming to help create a perfect personal branding package, Write Styles provides resources to enhance your resume, professional appearance, and boost your confidence. Michele strives to help others gain the confidence to put their best foot forward in a personal and professional light.