How to Highlight Transferable Skills on Your Resume


Transferable skills, also known as portable skills, are the qualities you need to excel in a wide range of professions. This means that if you are currently practicing as an IT support specialist, you may be able to use some of the same skills to perform the duties of a software tester. Given that many organizations have several departments or business units, employers are always on the lookout for applicants who possess transferable skills.

Perhaps the best thing about transferable skills is that we’ve developed them throughout our social, school and professional lives. Writing a resume that accurately captures your transferable skills can go a long way to convincing prospective employers that you deserve the job.

In this article, we will offer you ways to identify and highlight the transferable skills on your resume.

#1. Identify Your Transferable Skills

The first step is to identify your portable skills and determine whether they are applicable in the profession you are looking to enter. Let us have a look at some of the most common portable skills:

  • Communication– expressing ideas, speaking effectively, listening actively, negotiating terms and reporting information
  • Problem solving – finding solutions to challenges within a short times
  • Planning and organizing – prioritizing and scheduling tasks, and maintaining documents
  • Computer – using computer hardware and software effectively
  • Human relations – working with people from different cultures, and establishing and maintaining professional working relationships
  • Team work – being an effective group member
  • Learning – The ability to learn new methods, adopt new strategies and develop new ideas.

Now, from this list, can you easily identify the skills you possess? Ask yourself questions such as ‘Am I a good communicator? Have I resolved any workplace problem recently?

#2. Your Objective Says it All

Use the job objective section -- which is usually directly below personal information -- to declare that you possess portable skills. You don’t have to list them. As an example, you can say, “Having worked as a childcare worker, salesman and teacher, the time is ripe for me to join your company as a recruiting specialist.” Any employer knows a person who has worked and excelled in many jobs has several portable skills!

#3. Create a Summary Section with a Skills Heading

On your resume, create a section titled ‘Summary of Transferable Skills.’ By doing this, you will make it easy for employers to easily point out your portable skills, especially considering that they may be going through several resumes.

Begin with your strongest skills and accompany them with brief descriptions. To make this more practical, let us consider how a magazine journalist looking to move into technical writing can compile this section.

Summary of Transferable Skills

Communication: Having spent the past few years writing articles for a lifestyle magazine’s nutrition section, my writing skills are excellent. I will use them to present technical concepts or information in a way that the average reader can easily understand.

Research: To write compelling nutrition articles, facts must be included. My job, therefore, involved conducting extensive research. This has nurtured my research skills, which many technical writers need to flourish.

And so on..

#4. Use the Combination Resume Layout

The combination resume layout enables you to list the roles you performed in various positions. It gives employers the opportunity to identify whether you had any roles that match the description of the position they are looking to fill.

#5. End in Style

Conclude your resume by listing hobbies that get the best out of your portable skills. For the aspiring technical writer, you could say love reading scholarly journals or watching scientific documentaries.

Finally, changing careers should not be a stressful process. As long you write a resume that captures your transferable skills, you will soon wake up to your dream job.