Best Transferable Skills for Resumes
Written by Sarah Edwards, Author • Last updated on July 10, 2024

Best Transferable Skills for Resumes

Showcasing your transferable skills will help you stand out in the hiring process and demonstrate that you are a great fit for the position you are applying for. Providing examples of transferable skills you possess is especially important if you are transitioning to a new role or field. With that in mind, here are the best transferable skills for resumes.

What are transferable skills? 

So what are transferable skills demonstrating when it comes to your competency? Transferable skills are abilities that transcend jobs or industries. They are not job-specific and can be applied to various roles. Transferable skills are valuable because you can bring them to virtually any role and use them to excel at critical tasks. 

For instance, let’s say that you have worked in customer service for five years and have developed exceptional communication skills during that span. You just completed a new degree path and are transitioning to an IT role. 

Those communication and problem-solving talents you sharpened as a customer service representative will serve you well as an IT professional. You can use those talents to break down complex IT information into a digestible format, calm irritated software users, and gather pertinent troubleshooting details to solve clients’ tech headaches. 

Showcasing non-industry-specific abilities that you already possess demonstrates to employers that you aren’t starting from square one. You already have a foundation of capabilities that you can use to propel yourself into a new career path. 

Top transferable skills employers look for

Here are some transferable skills examples you should work into your resume: 

Communication skills

Verbal and written communication skills are critical for any role. Demonstrating to prospective employers that you are great at communicating will inspire confidence that you can fit into virtually any team dynamic and positively contribute. 

The better your communication skills, the easier it will be for you to interpret and convey information effectively. 

Remember, communication isn’t just about talking or writing messages to others. One of the most important aspects of great communication is active listening. You must demonstrate that you possess high emotional intelligence and can listen, comprehend, and positively respond to your coworkers. 

Teamwork and collaboration

If you’ve spent significant time collaborating and working closely with others, then you probably possess both of these skills. Teamwork allows you to contribute to a group, step in and help others when they need a hand, and work together to tackle big projects. 

Teamwork doesn’t stop there. You’ll also need to be able to build and maintain relationships by leveraging your interpersonal skills. Most employers value team players. Demonstrating that you are a “we,” not “me” employee will make you a much more appealing candidate, regardless of what role you are applying for. 

Problem-solving/critical thinking

Can you think outside of the box and look at tough challenges using a fresh or unique perspective? If so, then you possess one of the most sought-after transferable skills: critical thinking. Employers need team members who can use a combination of creativity and ingenuity to overcome productivity barriers and get things done. 

Problem-solving abilities can make you an invaluable asset to an organization. These talents show that you are going to get the job done and won’t let anything stand in your way. 


Leadership skills include a variety of talents and abilities, including the ability to motivate others. This is especially important if you are stepping into a managerial role. Employers want to know that you can demonstrate empathy, motivate your team, and bring out their very best. 

The best leaders don’t just manage their staff; they guide them to reach their full potential. Supervisors need to be skilled at communicating in their team members’ preferred mediums and using emotional intelligence to view concerns from their employees’ perspectives. 

Adaptability and flexibility

Even the most regimented industries experience chaos from time to time. Employers want to know that you can thrive in high-stress circumstances and rise to the occasion to get the job done. Flexibility and adaptability are the two skills you’ll need to shine in these tough situations and come up with a viable solution. 

Time management skills go hand in hand with adaptability. When you are facing a time crunch, you’ll need to prioritize tasks and operate efficiently to meet tight deadlines. Demonstrating that you are great at using the limited time you’ve been given to achieve a task can inspire confidence in prospective employers. 

Technical/computer skills

Most modern roles require at least some proficiency in computer software and other digital technology. Listing your relevant technical or computer skills demonstrates that you will enjoy a softer learning curve than individuals with little to no tech skills. 

Office skills like proficiency with word processing software or spreadsheet tools can be transferable, too. Review the roles and responsibilities of the position you are applying for and see if these capabilities are mentioned in the job description. 

Focus on the technical skills you possess that align with the job posting's requirements. Doing so demonstrates that you have thoroughly reviewed the position and that you possess many of the skills the employer seeks. 

How to identify your transferable skills

Transferable skills are broad and can apply to many different roles or positions. However, you shouldn’t list every applicable talent you can think of in hopes of including a few that the employer is concerned about. Start by reading the job description, focusing heavily on the responsibilities and requirements section. 

Make a list of the skills and abilities listed in these sections. Next, consider your education, previous jobs, volunteer work, hobbies, and past experiences. Identify any talents that you acquired or improved upon while participating in those activities. Focus on skills that align with the employer’s requirements and integrate those abilities into your resume.

Expert Tip:

Simply rattling off a list of transferable skills is not enough to make your application stand out. After you’ve identified abilities that you want to include in your resume, support your claims with real-world examples where you’ve exhibited those talents. If you list “emotional intelligence” as a skill, share a time when you used this ability to solve a problem.

How to showcase transferable skills on your resume

Anytime you list education or work experience on your resume, you have to provide specifics (i.e., references, years, etc.) to support your claims. Apply this same concept when listing transferable skills.

Back up any claims by using specific examples of times when you’ve used your talents to solve a problem or accomplish an important task. If possible, quantify your achievements with hard data. For instance, if you say you possess great leadership skills, cite a performance statistic demonstrating your impact on your old team. 

Check out our resume examples for additional insights about how best to showcase your transferable skills on your resume. You can also use our cover letter generator to create the perfect complementary document to your resume. 

Common mistakes to avoid

Many job seekers make two common mistakes when citing transferable skills: being too vague and using cliches. Simply saying that you are a “great communicator” is too vague. Using cliches like “punctual,” “hard worker,” or “team player” is just as bad as being vague. 

Cite skills that are relevant to prospective employers and the job you are applying for. Back up your claims with real-world examples or hard data. 

Cover letter templates will help you avoid these common mistakes by providing a basic layout and format. Ensure that your resume template matches your cover letter to avoid any inconsistencies. 

“Demonstrating to prospective employers that you are great at communicating will inspire confidence that you can fit into virtually any team dynamic and positively contribute.”

Transferable skills by industry

All of the transferable skills outlined above are relevant in numerous industries. For instance, someone who developed communication abilities as a customer service rep could apply those talents when stepping into the healthcare industry as a nurse. 

Likewise, a bank teller with years of experience in time management could apply these abilities to a role in IT where they operate with lots of autonomy. 

If you need specific insights about transferable skills relevant to your industry, check out our resume articles. You’ll find everything from tips and tricks to make your resume stand out to examples that can provide inspiration when creating your resume. 

Show off your transferable skills with templates 

Get noticed and highlight your transferable skills. Use our resume builder to seamlessly incorporate transferable skills into your job application documents. You should also check out our cover letter examples to learn how you can complement the skills and professional experience listed on your resume.  

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Sarah Edwards
Sarah Edwards
A seasoned HR writer with more than a decade of experience, Sarah crafts insightful guides and timely articles that help people grow their skills.

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