No matter which industry or job you’re in, some skills are universal. Communication, problem-solving, and teamwork are highly valued skills by every employer for every job. They contribute not only to your professional success, but also to the success of those around you (and your organization). These universal skills are known as transferable skills.
The most sought-after transferable skills include:
- Problem-solving skills
- Communication skills
- Leadership skills
- Teamwork skills
- Time management skills
According to Monster’s Future of Work report, 63% of employers would hire someone with transferable skills and train them for the technical aspects of the job. As demand for talent continues to increase and the unemployment rate trends downward, employers hire people with transferable skills because those individuals have the tools to go beyond a written job summary.
Highlighting your transferable skills on your resume, in an interview, or on your LinkedIn profile emphasizes your value to prospective employers and gives you access to different career paths you may not have otherwise considered. Knowing your foundational skills and how to exhibit and communicate them to potential employers is critical to your success, whether interviewing for new jobs, seeking promotion, or starting a business.
You likely already have many transferable skills learned throughout your education, but you can also level up your skill set through business programs, professional coaching, or skills development classes.
Here are the most desired skills in the workplace you can improve upon this year:
- Transferable Skill: Problem-Solving
One of the most highly valued transferable skills you can bring to any workplace is the ability to solve problems. Problem-solvers are critical thinkers. They’re people who, when presented with an issue, look for a potential solution rather than getting flustered, giving up, or immediately asking for help. Your ability to solve problems can benefit you in any role or industry and communicating that to employers will set you apart from other applicants.
To improve this skill, practice three steps:
- 1. Focus on the solution
- 2. Brainstorm creatively with others for different perspectives
- 3. Implement and evaluate
- Transferable Skill: Communication
Whether you’re applying for a job, pitching a product, or angling for a promotion, your ability to communicate effectively is critical. Strong communication skills make you an asset, particularly when it comes to communicating with other employees or customers. One way to demonstrate your communication skills is to practice presenting a problem, explain the process you used to solve it, and detail the solution. Comfortably speaking about your accomplishments is not only a great way to show off your communication skills, but it gives you an opportunity to highlight other valuable transferable skills you have to offer.
And, don’t forget communication is a two-way street; it’s not just about the words you use or how you talk. It’s also about how you listen. Demonstrating your active listening skills in interviews illustrates your communication skills are well rounded. You can exhibit listening skills by nodding and vocalizing at appropriate times, avoiding interruptions, and asking follow up questions.
- Transferable Skill: Leadership
Leadership skills are a highly sought-after and desired transferable skill. Many other transferable skills, such as communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving, fall under the wider umbrella of leadership skills.
Your leadership skills can play a factor in elevating you from employee to manager, so you’ll want to hone them over the course of your career. Programs like the Invited MBA provide hands-on opportunities to practice leadership in teams. Or, if you’re looking to improve your leadership skills in the workplace, consider building an internship program or introducing employee supervision as one of your job duties.
- Transferable Skill: Teamwork and Emotional Intelligence
Team-based learning and corporate projects are successful when they incorporate varied expertise and perspectives that work toward a common, and often better, goal. Working well with other people is a foundational element of almost every job. The ability to work collaboratively is sought after in every industry and is a skill you can practice and improve by asking for feedback on projects, raising your hand to work on group assignments, and acknowledging the varied strengths and weaknesses of your team members.
Interpersonal skills are similar. Broadly speaking, interpersonal skills are how you interact and engage with other people. They are related to your emotional intelligence, or your ability to get along with others, and are one of the easier transferable skills to demonstrate to potential employers. During interviews, you can show off your interpersonal skills and connect with your interviewers by asking relevant, high-quality questions and showing empathy when appropriate. Having LinkedIn recommendations from past co-workers on your profile is also a great way to show your people skills.
- Transferable Skill: Time Management
Your ability to manage your own time and get your work done is critical to any job or position you apply for. Employers hire people who are able to manage their own workload and meet deadlines. To improve your time management skills, start projects early, set deadlines for yourself ahead of actual deadlines, and stay organized. The ability to manage time effectively continues to strengthen throughout your career, but you can start practicing now.
Communicating Your Soft Skills for a Promotion or Interview
While transferable skills can benefit an employee in multiple jobs or industries, they’re also more difficult to demonstrate in an interview or highlight on a resume. Learning how to communicate these skills is critical to your success in the interview process. You can demonstrate these skills during phone calls and in-person interviews, as well as highlight them on your resume or cover letter with examples of how you’ve used them in the past.
Practice giving real examples from previous work experiences that illustrate the qualities needed in a role. For example, if you are interviewing for a marketing position, you could give an example of how you prioritized the tasks in a project to improve efficiency. While time-management skills are important, they’re hard to communicate. By giving a real life example, you show employers HOW your transferable skills could benefit their company.
Here are a few ideas on how to showcase your transferable skills when applying for a new job or seeking promotion:
- List your soft skills on your resume, including results from previous work. This is a great way to highlight your leadership skills.
- Submit your application and follow up with recruiters in a timely manner to show your time management and communication skills.
- Use your cover letter to share in-depth stories about previous successes that demonstrate your transferable skills. Make sure to include keywords that match the job posting.
- During each interaction with the company, be sure to demonstrate your communication, leadership, and teamwork skills.
- Show off your communication and interpersonal skills by sending a thank you note after the interview.
- During an in-person or video interview, you can show off your communication and interpersonal skills through how you interact with the other people in the call.
- If any technical issues arise during the application process, be sure to show your problem-solving skills by attempting to solve the issue on your own before requesting help.
Want to level up your skill set? The Invited MBA can help
To meet the unique needs of rising leaders all over the world, the Invited MBA uses real-world scenarios to develop universally applicable, transferable skills.
Our highly collaborative, social learning-based program builds communication, teamwork, business acumen, decision-making, financial literacy, and problem-solving skills to accelerate your professional growth. Your career path is unique to you – your business education should be too. Learn more about our mini-MBA program here.