Transferable Skills: Focus on what you can do instead of what you’ve done!

Studying with video online lesson at home

Finding yourself in the job market through the Covid-19 pandemic, you’ve likely dusted off your resume, added a few details, added your last role to the top of the list, crossed your fingers and hoped for the best. People avoid updating their resumes because they are either uninspired or unsure of telling their own story. Try not to focus so much on your previous tasks and accountabilities and instead let your transferable skills take centre stage. These skills transcend a specific role or industry and are the combination to move into your next job opportunity.

Your technical skills, degrees, certifications, key job responsibilities and accountabilities are bricks and mortar of your resume and demonstrate to prospective employers what you have accomplished throughout your career.

Employers also will be looking for evidence of ‘how’ you have done. For example, change management, critical thinking and communication skills that will benefit their organization. Transferable skills are ‘portable’ and add to your success no matter the role you are in.


4 tips to showcase your transferable skills


  1. Think about all the feedback and inputs you have received over the years, including information from previous performance reviews, conversations with peers and leaders, or school assignments feedback. What common feedback have you received over the years?
  2. Make a list of all of your past jobs, volunteer positions, important projects in school and any other role you’ve played over the years. Document and reflect on each of your key accomplishments in those positions. Consider the actions you took that enabled you to achieve your goals. What were you doing differently or more effectively than those around you?
  3. Solicit feedback from people in your network. Ask them to think about when they see you operating at your very best. What kind of work are you doing, and how are you contributing? By doing this activity, you will notice a few essential skills that rise to the top as having contributed to your success over time. Those are the transferable skills that should be front and centre on your resume.
  4. After getting clarity on your transferable skills, plan for how you effectively showcase them on your resume. Determine your skills down to the most fundamental level and use a common language to make your resume easy to read by any prospective employer and avoid the mistake of using organizational specific terms.  Use well-understood transferable skills, including communication skills, critical thinking and organization. A quick google search will yield lots of other examples, including communication skills (including listening, verbal, written), critical thinking (problem solving, analytical thinking), organization, relationship management, project management, creativity, leadership, adaptability, and growth mindset and teamwork.

As a candidate in today’s market, differentiate yourself by showcasing more than a laundry list of roles and accountabilities. Focus on what you can achieve for your next employer by promoting your transferrable skills!

Register to take part in the online ‘Resume Renovation’ workshop on December 15, 2020. Job Skills has more than 40 online workshops that will assist you in your career exploration and job search situation. Watch for the dates and times to register for any of our online workshops, as well as lots of great links and resources to assist you!


Leave a comment