How to Showcase Transferable Skills in Your CV

20 February 2024

When it comes to job hunting, one thing’s becoming super clear – transferable skills matter. A lot. These are the skills you can take with you from job to job, industry to industry. And they’re getting more and more important every day. 

Take the energy sector, for example. It’s changing fast, moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources. But this shift is causing a considerable and potentially damaging skills shortage, making transferable skills even more valuable.

We’re talking skills like problem-solving and project management which are gold in the energy sector, but in lots of other technical and trades specialisms too. It’s no longer just about technical knowledge. And it doesn’ t matter where you learned them – soft skills like communication and teamwork are in high demand, as they’re essential for working in multidisciplinary teams, which is pretty common in every industry.

That’s why it’s important to ensure any prospective employers know all about the transferable skills you have. In this blog, we’ll explore how best to showcase them in CV. Afterall, if you want to stand out from the crowd, it’s vital to make sure you’re shouting about your transferable skill set.

Figuring out your transferable skills

Did you know that according to Forbes, a huge 57% (20.9 million people) can’t identity their transferable skills with a high degree of confidence? And 58% (21.1 million) aren’t sure how to include transferable skills on their CV. That’s a lot of people struggling with a concept that will ultimately help them to stand out from the crowd when it comes to getting hired – which is what prompted us to write this article.

So, how do you know what your transferable skills are? Well, think about what you’ve done in the past. This could be in previous jobs, volunteer work, or even hobbies. 

Did you lead a team project? That’s leadership, communication, and problem-solving right there. Did you volunteer at a charity event? You’ve probably got some skills in community outreach, organisation, or planning.

Take some time to figure it out. Ask your nearest and dearest. Or colleagues. By reflecting on these kinds of experiences, you’ll uncover a whole bunch of transferable skills that can be included on your CV.

Showcasing transferable skills on your CV

Once you’ve identified your transferable skills, the next big step is to show them off on your CV. This isn’t just about listing them; it’s about weaving them into your narrative in a way that grabs an employer’s attention. Here’s how you can do it:

Start with action verbs: Using strong action verbs is a great way to make your skills stand out. Instead of saying ‘was responsible for’, use more powerful phrases like ‘led’, ‘managed’, or ‘developed’. For example, instead of writing “Was responsible for a team of five people”, try “Led a high-performing team of five.” This highlights your leadership skills and gives a sense of dynamism and proactivity.

Give real examples: Simply listing skills is not enough. You need to provide concrete examples of how you’ve applied these skills in your professional life. Let’s say one of your transferable skills is problem-solving. 

Instead of just stating “Excellent problem-solving skills”, you could write, “Applied strong problem-solving skills to troubleshoot and resolve a recurring technical issue, resulting in a 20% increase in productivity.” This gives potential employers a clear picture of what you can do and the value you can bring to their company.

Customise your examples: It’s also important to tailor your examples to the job you’re applying for. Look at the job description and identify which transferable skills are most relevant, then provide examples that demonstrate those specific skills.

Spread them out: Your transferable skills should be sprinkled throughout your CV. Include them in your professional summary – this is the first thing employers usually read, so it’s a great place to make a strong impression. You can also incorporate them into your work experience section, demonstrating how you’ve used these skills in various roles. And don’t forget about the skills section – this is where you can list any additional transferable skills that don’t fit elsewhere.

Use numbers where possible: If you can, quantify your achievements. This could be the number of people you managed, the percentage by which you increased sales, or the amount of time you saved on a project. Numbers provide concrete proof of your abilities and make your accomplishments more impressive.

Remember, showcasing your transferable skills effectively can make all the difference in your job search. It’s not just about what you’ve done, but how you present it – and a well-crafted CV can help you do just that.

Transferable skills in trades and technical fields

Transferable skills are both relevant and super useful in just about every trades and technical field. Skills like attention to detail, managing your time, and being able to adapt are always in demand. 

For example, if you’re a carpenter, your measuring skills could be useful in a technical drafting role. Or if you’re a mechanic, your problem-solving skills could come in handy in an engineering job.

These are basic examples, of course, but take some time to think hard about your current and previous roles and what you’re good at. And importantly, what will be useful and of interest to a new employer.

To help you come up with some ideas, the University of Manchester lists some of the top transferrable skills as:

  • Analytical
  • Innovation
  • Initiative
  • Problem Solving
  • Negotiation
  • Networking
  • Teamwork
  • Confidence
  • Resilience
  • Time Management
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Professionalism
  • Adaptability
  • Digital Skills

To wrap up, transferable skills are becoming more and more important, especially in technical sectors where there are skills shortages. And as the job market keeps changing, these kinds of skills will continue to open doors to new opportunities for you.

So, why not take a moment to think about your own transferable skills? Ultimately, you probably have more than you think! Then consider how you can best show them off on your CV. If you need some advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you and help you land your next big opportunity. Who knows – your next job might be a few transferrable skills away!