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Top 5 transferable skills

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Matt Darvill Blog, Work, Tips...

Transferrable skills are the ‘portable skills’ that you can use across a wide range of roles and industries. They can be tangible, such as IT Literacy and being multilingual, or softer skills, like communication and time management. All of these skills add to your potential employability, and your ability to demonstrate them during the application process can often make the difference. Like anything, you can practice and add to your repertoire, so what are the top 5 things that employers are looking for?

Communication Skills

This is your ability to impart information by both speaking and writing. It is something that will impact every aspect of your working life, so takes top priority when recruiters are ascertaining these transferable qualities. It is not just about being a confident, articulate communicator; but also about changing your style dependent on your audience, showing empathy, and being able to listen. It is an incredibly wide-ranging topic, and can easily be improved with practice. Try and find opportunities to communicate more and focus on the aspects that you struggle with most. You can even take specific courses and workshops to help different aspects of communicating in the workplace.

Organisational Skills

Time management, prioritisation, and the ability to work autonomously are key skills for employees of any level. Being able to get through your workload in a timely manner, and ensuring it’s all to a high standard demonstrates initiative, another sought-after quality. Employers want employees who they can trust to work independently when required.


As important as working independently is, it’s also vital to be able to collaborate within a team. Project work will often involve others from throughout the business, so you’ll need to be prepared to work with your colleagues. Be conscious of sharing credit and accepting responsibility, as well as being able to contribute and encourage ideas within the team, ensuring you contribute to a healthy working environment.

Technical Knowledge

Even if it’s not listed in the job description, additional knowledge and training makes you more versatile, and more employable as a result. This can be anything, from IT skills, payroll experience to having a Forklift Licence. You never know when there will be a skills shortage and you might be in demand!

Research and Planning

The ability to formulate a strategy to accomplish what you need demonstrates a proactive and focussed approach. This often feeds into research projects, where the ability to find relevant information in a timely manner can consistently be of benefit to employers. There are an enormous range of potential sources of information on the internet. Having the ability to streamline this process is seen as a crucial skill for any potential hire.

These are some of the most common things that employers look for, but anything that you can learn to use across roles will be an asset to your application. Let us know if there’s something not on this list that’s helped you in the past in the comments!