Changing Careers How to Identify Your Transferable Skills

Changing Careers? How to Identify Your Transferable Skills

Thinking of changing careers?

Whether you want to try your hand at a new type of position or completely change industries, it’s vital to identify your transferable skills.

Just because you haven’t spent years doing a particular career, doesn’t mean you can’t give it a go at some point.

Sure, it takes time and dedication.

But don’t assume that you’re doomed to one career for the rest of your life!

In fact, there’s a skill shortage in several industries – giving you a golden opportunity to try something new.

For example, the UK needs more entry-level chefs, nurses, social workers and welding professionals, with London and the North West providing the most job opportunities.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many skills you’ve attained in different careers that can easily ‘transfer’ to your new chosen one.

To give you an idea of what transferable skills are and how to recognise them, here’s a complete guide.

What are transferable skills?

If you’re new to the term ‘transferable skills’, don’t sweat! Allow me to break it down for you.

Transferable skills are a core set of skills and abilities which you can use in various job roles and industries.

They can be attained in all parts of your life, including previous jobs, hobbies, voluntary work and at home.

Transferable skills show an employer why you’d be a good fit for the business and demonstrate your relevant experience from different aspects of your life.

For example, you can identify a lot of transferable skills from a retail job like your ability to speak to customers, to work with people, to sell things and to effectively manage your own time.

All of which can be used in several industries and roles.

Different types of transferable skills

There are loads of transferable skills you can take from your previous jobs and responsibilities outside of work.

Here are some key examples to get you started:


Being a natural-born leader and having the experience of managing a team can put you in a strong position for senior roles in any industry.

In your CV, cover letter and interview, it’s essential to demonstrate your leadership credentials by giving examples of how you kept your team motivated, driven and performing.

Did you offer incentives or one-on-one management to those who needed it?  

Time management

Whether you’re a nurse or a delivery driver, showing up on time is always important.

It says a lot about you as a person and gives your future employer an indicator as to whether you can manage your time inside and outside of work.

Communicating and listening

Everyone is likely to have good listening and communication skills, it’s just a matter of showcasing them in your application.

Provide examples of how you used these skills to reach a positive solution.

This can include anything from providing an excellent customer service experience to being able to absorb information and produce a top presentation at university.

Delegating tasks

This particular skill is transferable if you’re thinking about going for a management role.

Have you mentored someone and guided them on what they need to do?

Or are there certain elements that required you to distribute parts of a project in your previous job role?

How to identify your transferable skills

Finding a new career path isn’t always easy.

There are so many avenues and directions you can go in. This is why you need to think about your next career move before taking the plunge.

A good way to do this is to remember your education and speak to people in that industry.

Both of these will help you understand whether your next move requires an actual qualification.

After all, there’s no point spending hours applying for a job when a degree is compulsory!

If all is fine, try asking yourself the following questions:


– things do you love to do?

– aspects are you good at?

– are your personal qualities?

– specific work experience do you have (if any)?

– is your dream business or organisation you’d like to work for?

Next, use your answers to the first four questions to highlight whether the skills are transferable to the business or organisation you thought of for question number five.

The idea is to understand what you can offer your dream employer.

If you don’t think you can provide much, you can either consider a different career route or dig a little deeper into your personal qualities.

Ask yourself:

– What are your biggest successes in your previous jobs? How did you achieve these? What steps did you take to reach this point?

– How did you overcome any challenges you faced before succeeding?

– What personal qualities were pivotal in reaching your achievements?

– Were they team successes? If so, how did you get everyone working together and motivated?

– How do you maintain a work-life balance?

– What things are you passionate about in life?

You can use these answers to really hone in on what drives you and to recognise what your strengths are.

Combining these will allow you to establish a comprehensive list of skills.

It’s then your job to see what ones can be deemed as transferable skills in certain industries and roles.

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, changing careers isn’t as scary as you think.

By understanding what types of transferable skills there are and identifying what ones you possess, you can easily make the necessary steps to put together a strong application.

Want some more guidance on landing a job? Then subscribe to our free recruitment blog.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments