Transferable skills

Saturday, January 17th, 2009 - Article, CV Writing, Education, How to Write a CV, tutorial

CV Writing

Transferable skills are skills developed through experience, which can be used in the workplace.

Some jobs require specific skills, such as IT. However, you can develop general skills, such as commercial awareness, that will make you an attractive prospect for any graduate career.

Key skills – and how to show evidence of them:

Teamwork and leadership

  • Chair of your project group.
  • Captaining a sports team.
  • Taking a position of responsibility on a committee.
  • Having responsibility for other staff in a part-time job.
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
  • Team sports/ outdoor pursuits.
  • Participating in the delivery of team presentations.
  • Volunteering.

Commercial awareness

Written communication

  • Essays, dissertations, project reports.
  • Articles for publications
  • Publicity materials for a voluntary organisation
  • Letters to raise sponsorship for an event.

Interpersonal communication

  • Work experience – e.g. market research, telesales, bar work
  • Course or hall representative
  • Delivering presentations
  • Being a peer mentor – e.g. in schools or your department
  • Volunteering

Problem solving

  • Creative solutions to coursework problems.
  • Leisure activities – e.g. chess, logic games, computing, role playing.
  • Working in an environment with difficult staff or customers.
  • Developing a system/ new way of working to improve efficiency.
  • Overcoming obstacles to achieve an ambition.


  • Talking to employers at presentations / careers fairs and asking questions.
  • Speculative letters for work experience and advice.

Find out more in our networking section.


  • Suggesting changes to the course as a student rep.
  • Getting relevant project work / sponsorship.
  • Networking for jobs/ work experience.
  • Starting your own business – e.g. club night.
  • Starting a new group or resurrecting an old one.
  • Creating your own website.
  • Coping well with a sudden crisis.
  • Volunteering.

Planning and organisation

  • Project work.
  • Planning and following a revision timetable.
  • Organising social / sporting / charity events.
  • Planning a gap year.
  • Arranging travel itinerary, e.g. inter-railing.
  • Organising work experience or STEP placement.

Adaptability and flexibility

  • Year abroad/ independent travel abroad.
  • Part-time work whilst studying.
  • Successfully changing courses.
  • Combining study with family commitments.
  • Shift-work; working at short notice.


  • Work experience in a job involving significant use of numbers.
  • Treasurer of a committee.
  • Reading the financial press (tip: track a company or industry that interests you).

Computer literacy

  • Word-processing reports and essays.
  • Producing graphs on spreadsheets.
  • Taking a part-time course – e.g. Manchester Computing.
  • Designing a web page.
  • Using PowerPoint for a presentation.

Time management

  • Combining full-time study with a significant part-time job, or family commitments.
  • Managing and prioritising your personal workload.
  • Working in a pressurised environment.

Good Luck!


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