13 Transferable Job Skills That Employers Love

Updated 14 December 2022

Transferable job skills are in demand across a range of industries. Employers look for these skills when selecting applicants for the next stages in the hiring process. That's why developing these skills is essential for your career, no matter which sector you want to work in.

In this article, we list 13 of the most desirable transferable skills, why they are important and how you can develop them.

What are transferable job skills?

Transferable job skills are experiences and skills that you can apply in most jobs, no matter the title or field. They are sometimes called 'universal job skills'.

Most soft skills are transferable job skills because they impact work habits and interactions with clients and coworkers. As most jobs involve these kinds of interactions, people with these soft skills can apply these abilities to most roles.


  • Transferable Skills: Definitions and Examples

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Why are transferable job skills important?

Transferable job skills are important because they help you succeed in most roles. Your transferable job skills make you more marketable to employers. This is especially important when you are starting your career or changing industries. During these key stages in your career, transferable job skills show employers that you will be an asset to the company, even if you have underdeveloped job-specific skills.

Transferable job skills can also help you adapt to any changes in your job or your company. They will remain relevant to any role, unlike some skills which can become obsolete or less vital as technology or your position changes.

Related: How to Write a Career Change Cover Letter (With an Example)

Top 13 transferable job skills

Whether you want to work steadily at your dream job or enjoy new challenges, honing transferable job skills can help you achieve your goals. Here's a list of 13 transferable skills that should help you succeed in any role:

1. Written and verbal communication

Written and verbal communication helps you exchange information with others. Clear communication helps you support customers, teach people new concepts and update colleagues on your progress. Public speaking, writing with correct spelling and grammar and active listening are some common communication skills.

Joining a speaking group, such as Toastmasters, is a great way to develop your verbal communication skills. Enrolling in a creative writing course and paying greater attention to spelling and grammar can help you become a better writer.

Read more: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

2. Interpersonal skills

People with good interpersonal skills have positive interactions with others. Your interpersonal skills will help you interact with ease with customers, colleagues and senior managers. It will also help you network, collaborate and lead teams. A pleasant disposition, empathy and fairness are all key interpersonal skills.

You can develop these skills through socialising with different people in different situations. Joining clubs and sporting teams and enrolling in classes can help you move outside your regular social circle and develop your interpersonal skills.

Read more: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

3. Research skills

Research skills can help you improve your knowledge about your industry and follow its developments. People with good research skills know how to spot credible sources and process relevant information. They use their research skills to write academic papers, make predictions about the future and offer informed advice to management and customers. You can develop your research skills by participating in educational programs and conducting independent research on topics that interest you.

4. Creative problem-solving

With creative problem-solving skills, you can manage the challenges you face during your workday in a productive manner. These skills can help you resolve customer complaints, develop new products and create marketing solutions.

Creatively applying your problem-solving skills can also help your business reach new customers, improve customer loyalty and satisfaction, operate more efficiently and increase its profits. Completing puzzles and role-playing can help you develop your creative problem-solving skills.

Read more: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

5. Decision-making

Creative problem-solving often presents a variety of potential solutions. People with good decision-making skills can assess all these solutions and judge which is the best approach. This involves predicting the consequences of the decisions they make. They make sound decisions efficiently because they understand that delays rarely benefit businesses. Good decision-making takes confidence and good judgment. It also typically calls for good research skills.

Developing decision-making skills takes practice. As you make decisions, you will evaluate their results and any changes you would make next time. This experience helps you make better decisions in the future.

6. Critical thinking

Critical thinking involves evaluating and interpreting information rather than simply accepting its validity. This skill helps people improve workplace operations, products and services because it encourages them to consider whether the way things are done is the best way.

Critical thinking is an important skill in innovative fields such as science, technology and health. However, it has applications across a range of industries. You can improve your critical thinking skills by evaluating everything you hear or read, then searching for evidence that supports or disproves the claims.

Read more: Critical Thinking Skills: Definitions and Examples

7. Computer literacy

As workplaces rely more on digital technology, computer literacy has become an important job skill for most roles. Computer literacy helps you create and send emails, create and edit documents and maintain customer databases. Advanced computer skills can also help you develop websites and software. Enrolling in a course on computer skills or specific programs, such as the Adobe suite, can help you improve your computer literacy. If you want to work in information technology, you can develop more advanced computer literacy by learning a variety of coding languages.

8. Collaboration

Being a good collaborator can help you work productively in a team. This skill is important when working on group projects in any industry. It can also help people work with others in their department or organisation. Good collaborators make important contributions to the teams they're involved with. They also ensure the other team members feel comfortable voicing their opinions. They are willing to adapt their preferred approach when it will benefit the team. Their efforts ensure the team results are better than any individual could achieve on their own. Participating in community initiatives, such as sports teams and charity groups, can help you be a better collaborator.

9. Multi-tasking

Few employees have a single responsibility. Multi-tasking helps people satisfy all their responsibilities efficiently. Good multi-taskers can shift their focus quickly and work quickly and accurately. Multi-tasking also requires excellent organisation and the prioritisation of tasks according to their urgency and importance. Writing to-do lists can help you multi-task without overlooking any duties. Switching between tasks regularly should also hone your multi-tasking skills.

10. Flexibility

When you are flexible, you can adapt to the changes that occur in your career. Being flexible helps you embrace new technology, take on new responsibilities and change industries. Adjusting to changes efficiently with a positive attitude helps you work effectively and positively influence others during times of change. Building a strong personal and professional support network can make you more resilient to change. Trying new hobbies and activities outside your comfort zone can also teach you flexibility.

11. Initiative

Initiative is the drive that encourages you to perform any job to the best of your ability and strive to become better. People with initiative volunteer for projects while ensuring they complete their regular duties to a high standard. They have a positive attitude towards their work, which helps them stay motivated and productive. Thinking about the benefits of your job and your career aspirations can help you develop initiative. Volunteer for more responsibilities and training programs to show others your initiative. You may find your enthusiasm leads to other professional opportunities.

12. Professionalism

No matter whether you're a teenager working your first part-time job or a CEO running a company, professionalism is a job skill that will hold you in good stead. Professionalism simply means conducting yourself in a professional matter. Dressing in a neat and tidy fashion, speaking courteously to others and arriving to work on time all show professionalism. Developing professionalism involves taking time to consider your actions and how to demonstrate respect for the people around you.

13. Leadership

Leadership is an obvious job skill required for management positions. However, you will benefit from developing this skill at any stage of your career, no matter what your ambitions may be. Leadership skills can help you take charge in any situation. You may use your leadership skills to lead a project, a department or an entire company. Good leadership requires confidence and charisma. Leaders need conflict resolution skills to settle disputes between team members. They also need to motivate themselves and others.

Volunteering for more responsibility at work and in your community is a great way to develop your leadership skills. Start with small projects, then accept more responsibilities as you become more comfortable. For example, you might start leading a fundraising drive for a charity group, then eventually accept a board role.

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