11 top job skills: transferable skills for any industry
Updated 11 September 2023
Having a strong skill set ensures your CV is competitive when searching for a new role, and improving your job skills is equally important for development in your current role. While some skills are job-specific, some are desirable to employers in a wide range of industries. Developing these transferable skills allows you to explore a variety of career options and will help you progress in your industry or change career paths.
In this article, we discuss why transferable job skills are important and which job skills are most desirable to employers.
Related: 10 Best Skills To Include on a CV
What are transferable job skills?
Transferable job skills are core competencies that are useful in a variety of jobs and industries. Most soft skills are transferable because they relate to your work ethic and how you work with others, which are universally useful skills to have. As no two jobs are the same, job-specific skills that were essential to success in your previous role may not have as much relevance in your next position. As such, having a range of transferable job skills shows employers you can be adaptable and apply your abilities to a wide range of roles.
Why are transferable job skills important?
Having transferable job skills can make it easier to change career paths or gain experience in a new industry. Developing a broad skill set will help you to grow within your career too, as transferable skills remain relevant at all levels of an organisation. Soft skills, such as communication and teamwork, are desirable to have in a variety of workplaces, as they will help you to work well with others. Employers in all industries look for candidates with strong communication and interpersonal skills since they help to uphold a high standard of professional behaviour in the workplace.
Top job skills for any industry
Whether you're planning on developing and progressing in your current industry or you're looking to change career paths or industries, there are job skills and qualities that can support your success. It's worth researching companies you'd like to work for and reading job descriptions to find job-specific skills. However, bringing a strong set of transferable skills can help to show how your previous experience will be beneficial in a new role. The top transferable job skills include:
Having strong communication skills is key to succeeding in most job roles and industries. Being able to impart information to others clearly and professionally is part of the day-to-day responsibilities in most working environments. Whether you're communicating via email, telephone or in-person, conveying your message to clients and colleagues is important. As such, employers expect strong communication skills from candidates. Showing your confidence as a communicator throughout the recruitment process can help your application stand out. Some employers may even expect you to prepare a presentation as part of your interview for a new role.
Being a dependable individual makes you an employee that can be relied upon to do a great job, regardless of your job role or industry. Employers appreciate the high standards that dependable individuals hold themselves to. Demonstrating your reliability may encompass a wide range of qualities, such as:
Being self-motivated and able to work independently
Consistently performing to a high standard
Being a dependable employee is a highly transferable skill that employers value. Demonstrating your dependability in the workplace also makes you a great team player, as your teammates and colleagues will appreciate being able to count on you.
Organisation and time-management
Organisation and time-management are top transferable skills to have and develop. Having the ability to plan your workday, prioritise urgent tasks and meet deadlines are important skills in a variety of work environments. Some people may find that they are naturally organised, but with practice, anyone can improve their organisation and time-management skills. If you find it difficult to manage your time, it may be worth investing in a planner or diary to help you plan your day. Some more tips for becoming more organised include writing to-do lists and setting alarms or reminders on your desktop.
Teamwork and collaboration
Whether you work within a larger team or operate independently within your department, you will inevitably work with others at some stage of your career. Even those who mainly work independently will need to collaborate with other people at some point. As such, being able to work well with others and collaborate effectively are highly beneficial skills to have.
Teamwork is about building relationships, communicating clearly and listening to others' perspectives. The success of a team is dependent on the individuals being able to collaborate and work effectively together, so developing your teamwork skills will help you and your team succeed.
Having the ability to problem solve and adapt to unforeseen issues can be useful in both your professional and personal life. Problem-solving skills are essential in highly technical fields, such as medicine, but are equally valuable in service-oriented jobs where customers may present unique challenges that require you to think on the spot and find resolutions. Like most skills, you can develop problem-solving skills with experience. Developing a creative approach to problem solving and remaining calm when faced with complex challenges will make you an asset to many employers.
Demonstrating your ability to confidently make decisions and exercise good judgement is desirable in many job roles. While many employers outline their standard operating procedures or best practices, there will inevitably come a time when you are presented with a unique situation. As such, being able to make fair and just decisions while keeping business and client needs in mind is a universally beneficial skill.
Decision-making skills are especially important for those pursuing a career in people management, as your team will often look to you to decide the best course of action when they feel unable to do so.
Being able to use your initiative and make a judgement call about the best way to approach a situation is invaluable to employers. Having initiative means that you're able to motivate yourself to pursue new tasks and complete them to a high standard. Taking initiative can help you receive promotions and progress in your career, as employers appreciate when individuals can work independently and don't need to be closely supervised at work. Regardless of your industry, being self-motivated and using your initiative will help you succeed.
Despite your best efforts to communicate effectively and work well within your team, conflict can arise in the workplace. Whether it's with clients or colleagues, having the ability to navigate conflict in a professional manner and actively seeking to resolve conflict when it arises demonstrates exceptional interpersonal skills. Customer service roles often require conflict resolution skills, however, these skills are transferable to a range of roles and workplaces.
Strong leadership skills can help you in all aspects of career development. Leadership skills encompass communicating effectively, goal-setting, project management and having the ability to motivate yourself and others. All of these attributes are invaluable whether you're hoping to progress in your career or move into a new industry. Great leaders are an asset to employers in all industries, so be sure to highlight your leadership skills on your CV.
Related: Top 9 Leadership Skills to Develop
Attention to detail
Developing strong attention to detail makes you more effective at work, improving your productivity and reducing the likelihood of error. As attention to detail is closely linked to the quality of work, it's a skill that's desired by employers from many industries. Practising your organisation and time-management skills can improve your attention to detail. You can do this by setting aside time to commit to reviewing work so you won't need to rush or multitask, which can negatively impact the quality of your work. Observation skills are also important if you wish to improve your attention to detail.
Being adaptable is a skill that is transferable to any job role, as all companies and individuals are bound to experience change at some stage. Having the ability to pivot and adjust your workflow in reaction to unforeseen changes is invaluable to employers. By planning and making contingency plans, you best prepare yourself to adjust in times of change. Being adaptable when faced with change, and doing so with a positive attitude, is an asset when changing career paths or industries as you'll inevitably experience a period of change as you transition into your new role.
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