How to Identify Transferable Skills for a Resume

Which skills of yours can be put to use in a totally different kind of job?

How to Identify Transferable Skills for a Resume

Transferrable skills can help you broaden your job search.

Resume writing is no picnic under the best of circumstances, and the process is even more challenging when you're hoping to change careers or take on a job that's slightly outside of your reach. How do you show employers you’ve got what it takes to do the job if you haven’t actually done the job? No worries—by leveraging transferable skills, you can build an effective career change resume.

Transferrable job skills are worth their weight in gold. Consider that 63% of workers who lost jobs during Covid-19 went ahead and switched their industry, and 4% switched their field or overall career path. How did all those ambitious candidates convince employers that they were capable of doing the job? You guessed it. Transferrable skills. 

What Are Transferable Skills?

Transferrable skills are relevant, valuable skills that we bring with us from job to job. It's a concept pioneered by career expert Richard N. Bolles in his perennial bestseller What Color Is Your Parachute? According to Bolles, we all possess these portable skills that can be broken down into three categories:

  • people (communicating, teaching, coaching, and supervising)
  • data (record keeping, researching, translating, and compiling data)
  • things (operating computers/equipment, assembling, and repairing)

If you’re seeking a career change, there’s a good chance that some of your current skills are transferable and applicable to your new career choice. The tricky part is figuring out which skills are most desirable and repackaging them on your resume to appeal to your target audience. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Find Transferable Skills

The first step is all about research. Once you know what skills employers want, you can start building your transferable skills strategy. Use these resources:

  • Job ads: Search for your target job on Monster and review the frequently requested skills in the job postings. Look for skills that are related to skills you developed via another career, hobby, educational pursuit, or other activities.
  • O*NET OnLine: Take advantage of O*NET’s extensive database of occupational information, from the keyword search tool to the skills search tool that matches your skills to specific occupations.
  • Industry networking: Speak with workers in your target field, read trade publications, study employer marketing materials, network at industry events, and connect with industry associations to learn which skills are important.

Step 2: Pinpoint Your Transferable Skills

After identifying the skills employers want, you can uncover the transferable skills you have through self-analysis and skills-assessment tools such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®), DiSC® profile assessments, and CliftonStrengths assessments.

Need some help? Try listing out your target job skills requirements, transferable skills, and relevant accomplishments using this chart:

Skills required for new job

(Sourced from Monster job ads, O*NET, and industry networking)

Transferable skills

(Current skills that are related to the skills in the left column)

 

Relevant accomplishments

(Accomplishments, contributions, and other successes that demonstrate your use of the transferable skill)

Skill #1:

 

 

Skill #2:

 

 

Skill #3:

 

 

Skill #4:

 

 

Skill #5:

 

 

Skill #6:

 

 

Skill #7:

 

 

Skill #8:

 

 

 

Step 3: Add Transferable Skills to Your Resume

Now comes the fun part—adding your transferable skills to your resume, preferably in a prominent position so they stand out. Your professional summary section is the logical place to highlight skills you have that are relevant to the position you're seeking.

To take your resume to the next level, don't just list your skills. Instead, show how you’ve used them in your resume's experience section. There are various approaches you can take to outlining your accomplishments, such as CAR (Challenge, Actions, Results) exercises and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) stories.

Whether you rely on self-analysis or assessment tools to develop your list of accomplishments, stay focused on the employer’s needs. Incorporating relevant, transferable skills in your resume can help prove that skills developed in one career transfer to a new career.

Make Sure Your Transferrable Skills Impress

A career change isn't the only instance in which you'd want your resume to highlight your transferrable career skills because no matter what job you're after, these skills will be highly valued. Want to be sure your resume is looking good? Get yourself a free resume assessment from Monster. We can show you how to improve your resume so that your application stands out to employers.