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How to use transferable skills to land your next job

What are transferable skills? 

Transferable skills are skills that can be used interchangeably between different jobs, careers, and industries. These can be both hard and soft skills such as IT literacy, data analysis, communication or problem-solving. 

Possessing these skills makes you more adaptable in different situations and makes transitions into new roles or responsibilities smoother. 

Universities and employers consider transferable skills to be the largest skills gap overall. Here’s how you can identify what transferable skills are relevant to your next role and how you can demonstrate them to your employer: 

How to identify your transferable skills

It is a common misconception that you need to tick every box on a job description to apply for that particular role. Your previous experience and set of skills could be very relevant. It is all about finding the right set of transferable skills based on the job you are looking for and communicating them in a clear way through your CV and interview process. 

Look at job descriptions

Start by looking at adverts across different roles and industries and identify common skills that keep popping up. 

It is important to highlight the difference between job-specific and transferable skills. Job-specific skills are technical or industry-specific and cannot be transferable for that reason. 

Examples of transferable skills

Soft skills 

  • Communication 
  • Time management 
  • Collaboration

Hard skills 

  • Project management 
  • Data analysis 
  • IT proficiency - using Microsoft Excel, Word, Powerpoint or equivalent versions like those by Google etc. 

Identify your skills 

Now you’ve got a list of transferable skills, compare them to your own skills and experience. Think about your responsibilities and the skills you used to execute them. 

For example, if you were a customer service assistant and you interacted with a lot of different people, this means you would’ve developed your customer service, communication, and interpersonal skills. For your next role, you might be looking for sales and operations roles, and these skills are highly relevant. 

Another great way to identify your skills is by asking your manager and colleagues for feedback. They might have some insight into skills you haven’t considered. 

How to highlight your transferable skills in your CV 

In order to get in front of prospective employers, you’ll need a CV that shows why you are a great fit for the role. You need to be able to communicate how your previous experience and skills are relevant to this role. 

You can do this by providing specific examples of how you have demonstrated a transferable skill. Action verbs are a good way of leading with results and showing the impact you have created. 

For example, if you were an assistant manager and want to highlight your management skills, instead of saying managed a team say motivated a team of 10 people to improve customer service. 

If you were an analyst and want to highlight your data analysis skills, instead of saying analysed a report say forecasted a report and implemented a process to improve efficiency.

Using language from an advert or job description (if you have one) will also help to position you as a match for the role. 

How to highlight your transferable skills in interviews

Prepare examples of how you have demonstrated transferable skills and how that would add value to your next role. The STAR method, a structured manner of describing a specific Situation, Task, Action and Result, will help you to build concise answers that are highly relevant and show the outcomes you have achieved. 

Here’s an example of how to use the STAR method in response to a Warehouse Supervisor advert or job description calling that the post holder needs to be adaptable.

Situation - At my previous job, we experienced a sudden increase in demand for our products.

Task - I needed to adapt quickly to meet these changing demands and increased workload. 

Action - I took the initiative to re-prioritise my workload, meet with my colleagues to understand what they are working on and ensure we are all on the same page. This meant that we were easily able to switch responsibilities if need be. 

Result - My adaptability meant that the team and I were able to collaborate together and manage our increased workload and deliver all of the products that were requested on time. 

A bonus tip is to relate it back to the specifics of the job role - I know that this role requires adaptability as I will be working in a fast-paced environment. I am confident in my ability to bring this skill to the role and handle changing situations in the warehouse. 

Looking for your next role? 

The Travis Perkins Group is a great career destination. If you’re interested in an opportunity but your past experience doesn’t align perfectly, we encourage you to apply anyway. You might just be the right candidate. 

We are looking for people who are passionate about making a difference and do this through owning and living our values

Don’t delay - apply today! Once you land your dream job, you'll want to hit the ground running so we've put together a guide so you can nail your first week of a new job.

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