Everything you need to know to smash your interview and make your CV stand out from the crowd.
If you’re a student you probably haven’t had loads of experience in your desired field yet, which might leave you feeling a bit confused about how to prove to potential employers that you’re the right candidate for the job.
Luckily, this is where transferable skills come in and you probably already have a lot of them. Transferable skills can really help your job application to stand out, so by knowing what they are and what transferable skills you possess you can easily smash your grad job interview.
What is a transferrable skill?
Transferable skills are skills that you can carry from one job to another, which is super useful if you’re thinking of changing careers or applying to your first job. As a student, you’ll pick up a lot of soft skills throughout your degree that can be applied across various different job sectors and roles.
A lot of the time, you might not even realise that you’re learning soft skills day-to-day while studying, but you can use these skills to your advantage. By picking out your transferrable skills and highlighting them in your CV or in an interview, you can prove to employers that you’re the right person for the job even if you don’t have any full experience in that industry yet.
Why are they important?
The majority of jobs regardless of the industry will want their employees to all have certain skills. Candidates who are organised and have had experience working in a team and independently are desirable for any sector, and transferable skills can help you to be more productive and collaborative in the workplace which is very attractive to potential employers.
Examples of transferrable skills that you can use
If you’re picking out skills to highlight on your CV or mention in an interview, here are the best transferable skills that you might’ve picked up at uni that employers love:
1. Leadership and team management
Every employer wants to see that you’ll be able to handle yourself when it comes to working with other people. While you’re probably not going to be jumping straight into a manager role after uni, showing that you can effectively manage a team of people shows that you’ll probably be able to naturally slot into the team and feel confident sharing your ideas and taking charge when needed.
If you’re part of a society or committee this is a great thing to shout about in your CV as it shows that you’ve had experience organising something and pulling off being in charge. Other leadership examples in uni could be taking charge of a group project or volunteer work.
2. Time management and organisation
No one wants to hire someone who is constantly going to be late or struggle to stick to deadlines. Luckily, as a student you would’ve had plenty of practice juggling deadlines and multiple projects at once which is a great example of time management to talk to employers about.
If you get involved in committees, societies, volunteering AND are doing your degree this shows that you have no problem in managing your time well in order to juggle your responsibilities and this can be a very attractive transferable skill to employers.
This is a transferable skill that you probably hear about all the time, but what exactly is it? In pretty much every job, you’re going to run into problems or hurdles that could block the way at some point and employers want to know that you’re going to be able to get around this.
Working can be stressful and if you can handle difficult situations, calmly and approach them with logic rather than panicking you’re probably good at problem-solving. Problem-solving basically means trying to come up with a fast solution by using communication and quick thinking- if you’re good at thinking outside of the box you’ve got it covered.
Some examples of problem-solving in uni could be projects you’ve worked on as a group or on your own which needed a lot of quick thinking to get them to work out.
4. Computer literacy
Employers want to know that they’re not going to have to teach you the basics when you’re starting a job, as training someone completely from scratch can take time and often there will be another candidate who already knows these things, and is, therefore, more well suited to the job than you.
Luckily, most degrees will enable you to have a thorough understanding of computer programmes and tools such as Powerpoint, Excel and Word so you won’t need to be trained on this on the job. If there are certain programmes that you know could be beneficial to your industry that you don’t know how to use like Photoshop or Lightroom, you could take a free online course to advance your skills ahead of your graduation.
Communication skills are one of the many transferable skills that you’ll pick up at uni without even realising. Having good communication skills means that you’ll be able to effectively work with your colleagues across a variety of platforms, such as on the phone, over email and in person.
Writing is one of the most important communication skills for the majority of industries, which could be in the form of emails, financial documents or reports. Whatever it is you’re writing, you’ll need to show that you have a good grasp of grammar and spelling, and if you’re doing a degree writing is definitely something you’ll have had practice in!
Speaking is another part of communication that’s important, employers will want to see that you’re confident in sharing your ideas with others or presenting to a group, and group work and presentations in uni are all things that can help to prepare you for this.
It’s very likely that whatever job you have you’ll either be regularly talking on the phone, in meetings or presenting so if you can show that you have had the practice of doing this, employers will feel more confident about hiring you!
For more careers advice check out the biggest CV do’s and don’ts right here!