In recruitment, the old adage rings true: you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
An engaging, well-written CV can be the difference between landing an interview for your dream job or landing in the trash can with the rest of the resumes.
Transferable skills, defined as “skills you can carry over from education or from one job to another”, are often cited as desirable by employers.
A survey from 2022 found that 50% of UK recruiters need candidates to demonstrate their transferable skills. Meanwhile, in light of recent industrial action, those with transferable skills have been called upon to plug gaps in public services.
Whether you’re seeking a new job for the new financial year or are soon to be a 2023 graduate beginning your career, it’s likely you’ll want to demonstrate some capacity for transferability on your CV.
We examine the most in-demand transferable skills for employers and advise how you can showcase these to enhance your job prospects.
What transferable skills do employers look for?
Before tweaking your CV, it’s helpful to know which transferable skills are most valuable. Typically, employers will look for well-rounded candidates who can demonstrate aptitude across a range of areas. Commonly cited skills include:
Leading job’s website, Indeed, describes good decision-making as its most sought-after transferable skill. This is crucial to being an effective leader in any company.
Good decision-makers are often perceptive and able to interpret a situation and predict any possible outcomes. This can bring clarity and direction to complex, challenging business scenarios.
To demonstrate this on your CV, you may wish to highlight any analytical or problem-solving skills as well as any examples of planning and logical reasoning. These are all traits of competent decision makers.
Unsurprisingly, creativity is a trait which often ranks highly on employers’ wishlists.
This not only entails typically creative tasks such as idea generating, writing or designing but can also encompass creative problem solving. Creative thinkers will often find unconventional solutions to complex issues, which can be true in many unlikely industries.
This could include financiers looking for a novel gap in the market or lawyers looking to reframe aspects of the law.
When writing your CV, demonstrate examples of innovation, curiosity, imagination and vision. Are there any hobbies or interests you partake in that evidence creative flair? Be sure to include these if so.
Those pitching for roles in creative industries may also choose to tweak the design of their CV. While too many graphics or adventurous formatting may deter your potential employer, the odd stylistic flourish could be a nod to your creative prowess.
Whether you’re applying for your first office role or casting your horizons as far as offshore jobs, you need to advertise your communication skills.
This can include written and verbal skills and extend to everything from active listening to exercising empathy and being able to give and receive feedback.
Ultimately, good communicators will excel in client/customer facing roles, can work well in a team and are typically emotionally intelligent.
Evidence this in your CV by providing examples of times you’ve made presentations, worked as part of a team or negotiated effectively. Remember that you’ll also be judged on your written communication skills, so presenting this through excellent writing is important.
As businesses navigate an increasingly fast-paced, technological working world, adaptability becomes increasingly important. Adaptable people are often motivated self-starters who can take on a number of different tasks, contribute with fresh perspectives and ideas and can look for bigger and better opportunities for the company.
In the long run, adaptable people’s willingness to take on new roles can drive a company’s growth.
Writing about a variety of accomplishments on your CV will demonstrate competency across a range of areas and underline your flexibility. Couple this with evidence of a can-do mindset, good listening skills and the capacity to be able to see things from a different point of view.
How can I format these on my CV?
There are a few different ways to showcase transferable skills on your CV.
One way could be to create a dedicated ‘skills’ section where you explain the different proficiencies inherent to your character acquired across work and education.
Another option is to reference one or two in the professional summary header at the top of your document. This is a useful way of tapering your transferable skills to the job description and really making yourself stand out to the recruitment professional.
Also, consider weaving your transferable skills into the professional experience entries of your CV. This will facilitate greater expansion and may allow you to briefly outline examples of where you’ve applied transferable skills in your work experience.
Think carefully about how your transferable skills are beneficial to the role. For instance, if you’re looking at a management position, you may want to accentuate your leadership qualities, while client-facing roles will demand exemplary communication skills.