Transferable skills are the skills and abilities that you acquire throughout your life. You can develop them in WSU courses, work and internship settings, study abroad, sports, volunteering, hobbies, and everything else in between. You carry these skills throughout your life; from internship to internship and career to career. Employers value them because they can be used in multiple ways, and provide value in any workplace setting.
Connect Yourself to Your Skills
It is important that you include transferable skills on your resume and can recognize ways that you can talk about them in connection to your personal experience. These videos below describe transferable skills and discuss how to articulate them clearly to an employer.
PART 1: The Value of Transferable Skills
PART 2: Turning Skills Into Stories
PART 3: Your Next Steps
Top 12 Skills Employers Seek
Surveys conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that transferable skills are the key abilities employers are looking for on resumes. Of all the skills employers seek in any industry, the top 12 are:
- Ability to Work in a Team
- Communication (written)
- Strong Work Ethic
- Analytical/Quantitative skills
- Communication (verbal)
- Technical skills
- Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)
How to Write About Transferable Skills
See the examples below of how to write about a transferable skill, and a video interview from WSU alumni Phil Mickey discussing the importance of these types of skills:
SKILL EXAMPLE: Analytical/Quantitative Thinking
Resume bullet: Conscientious analyzer with effective ability to improve performance.
ePortfolio description: As a Communication major, I have learned and developed skills to analyze, identify and bring constructive thought to my work. In any role, I skillfully consider all the facts and data to exercise sound reasoning as I make decisions, which increases both personal and team productivity. I follow through on all of my tasks and provide quality material for the clients I support.
See the examples below of how to write about a transferable skill, and a video interview from WSU alumni Anna Christiansen discussing the importance of these types of skills:
SKILL EXAMPLE: Initiative
Resume bullet: Motivated and driven self-starter.
ePortfolio description: While studying English, I have established the ability to take initiative. I have learned to work independently through writing multiple stories, becoming a freelance writer and adopting different storytelling techniques. When things get tough, I persevere and develop creative solutions.
See the examples below of how to write about a transferable skill, and a video interview from WSU alumni Andres Ramos discussing the importance of these types of skills:
SKILL EXAMPLE: Interpersonal skills
Resume bullet: Engaged collaborator with experience in cultural awareness and diversity.
ePortfolio description: While studying a foreign language, I've learned to recognize and relate to people outside of my own culture and to value diversity. I am a strong active listener and communicator because I've had experience connecting with people of a different language and culture.
Interview with Andres Ramos, WSU Graduate of Spanish and Professional Sales
See the examples below of how to write about a transferable skill and video interviews from WSU Performing Arts alumni discussing the importance of these types of skills.
SKILL EXAMPLE: Problem-Solving
Resume bullet: Inventive problem-solver who can implement creative and effective solutions to resolve issues.
ePortfolio description: While studying Dance, I continuously applied problem-solving techniques in choreographing complex pieces with dancers of various skill levels. I learned how to assess the abilities of each dancer and showcase their talent in unique ways, while creating a unified performance.
Interview with Penny Broussard, WSU Graduate of Dance, Communication and English
SKILL EXAMPLE: Flexibility/Adaptability
Resume bullet: Highly adaptable and open-minded to new ideas.
ePortfolio description: In my college career, I worked with numerous talented directors and performers with various musical styles. I learned to be adaptable to the needs of each individual, adjusting the tempo and key of each piece until we found the perfect fit. I also requested and gracefully accepted constructive feedback on my performances to improve my personal technique.
Interview with Katie Swainston, WSU Graduate of Keyboard Pedagogy
SKILL EXAMPLE: Ability to work in a team
Resume bullet: Active team player who establishes strong relationships with coworkers and clients.
ePortfolio description: As a Theatre major, I have worked in many different teamwork settings to produce high quality productions. These situations have allowed me to collaborate with and learn from people of different backgrounds to combine our strengths in order to achieve a common goal. In difficult situations, I have learned how to manage conflict and actively listen to others' perspectives.
Interview with Jodi Graham, WSU Graduate of Musical Theatre
Visual Art & Design
SKILL EXAMPLE: Detail-Oriented
See the examples below of how to write about a transferable skill, and a video interview from WSU alumni Mark B. Goodson discussing the importance of these types of skills:
Resume bullet: Resourceful and results-driven organizer with strong attention to detail.
ePortfolio description: Attention to detail is a key talent I utilize as an artist to convey messages in a critical way. I think authentically and I am a keen observer. I have the patience to research, explore, and understand, which helps me create my best work.
Interview with Mark B. Goodson, WSU Graduate of Fine Art