How to identify your transferable skills

by Jun 8, 2023

Identify your transferable skills

 Understanding how to identify your transferable skills can open up a range of possibilities you haven’t even considered. So don’t limit yourself to what you know.


Many people won’t apply for a job if they don’t have any direct experience. But it can be a mistake to rule yourself out for different roles or opportunities because initially, you think you are not the right fit. Very often you may have the right experience, but you simply don’t know how to identify your transferable skills.

Hard skills (those which are learned and measurable) tend to offer less flexibility. You can either drive or you can’t, if a licence is required. With soft skills, it’s simply a question of understanding that the skills are the same but you acquired them in a different context. Frequently you may have had this experience outside the workplace.  This is why it’s important to recognise the abilities and qualities in your job application arsenal which may have been acquired in a number of different ways.

These skills can include persistence, communication, resilience, commitment, time management, patience, curiosity, continuous learning, teaching, mentoring, bouncing back from disappointment, leadership, problem-solving, and motivational skills. And note they all don’t have to be learned in your day job.

5 steps to identify your transferable skills

1. Assess your main skills

Make a list of the key skills you currently have. Consider both hard and soft skills. Think about the skills you’ve developed through your education, work experience, hobbies, and personal life.

2. List your professional achievements

I encourage all clients to keep a success station,that is a log of all their professional or even non-work-related achievements. You can use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) / CARS (Challenges, Actions, Results, Skills)  methodology for this. Different acronym – same process and don’t forget the metrics. They matter.  When you look at the skills you will usually find a theme running throughout. Like pearls you should be able to string them together. These are some of your transferable skills which can cover communication, problem-solving, teamwork, adaptability, leadership, time management, and critical thinking.


identify your transferable skills

3. Establish the context

Look at the role, field, or industry you’re interested in. Research the job roles and positions you’re considering. Identify the skills and qualifications typically required for those roles or against a specific job posting. Highlight the skills you already have which align closely with the requirements of the roles you’re interested in.

4. Match transferable skills

Review your skills list and match them against the required skills. How does your list stack up? Is there any skill you can quickly acquire? Assess the relevance of your transferable skills to the roles or industries you’re targeting. Consider how each skill can be applied and provide value in those contexts, especially against specific elements of a job posting. You may not have run a big budget as an employee, but as PTA Treasurer you may have been responsible for significant sums.

5. Seek feedback

Get feedback from trusted colleagues, supervisors, mentors, or friends who are familiar with your work. Ask them for their perspective on your strengths and the skills they believe you excel in. Their feedback can provide valuable insights and help you identify additional transferable skills you may have overlooked. Very often our self-analysis can be skewed.

Seek opportunities to expand on these skills through additional training, certifications, online courses, or practical experiences. This will help you further develop your transferable skills and make yourself more marketable.

If you know someone already doing the job or in the sector make sure you contact them for some input.

Leadership Skills

Transferable skills are highly valuable skills that can be applied across different roles, industries, and contexts. They can be fundamental and essential skills that showcase how individuals adapt to new situations, learn new tasks quickly, and excel in a range of environments. It’s important to have them embedded in your DNA so you can share them at the drop of a hat. Understanding what those skills are will become part of your pitch and will also add to your leadership skills. When you know what your strengths are,  you will feel more comfortable delegating and saying when you don’t know or are not sure about something.

Understanding how to identify your transferable skills can also open up a range of possibilities you haven’t even considered. So don’t limit yourself to what you already know.


For more on how to identify transferable skills listen to this podcast

identify your transferable skills



If you would like help with recognising your transferable skills then Contact 3Plus today!


Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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