Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are skills that are developed in a specific context and are "transferable" to a variety of other situations and tasks.

According to the 2016 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook Survey, the top 10 qualities/skills employers seek are transferable skills.

  1. Leadership
  2. Ability to work in a team
  3. Communication skills (written)
  4. Problem-solving skills
  5. Communication skills (verbal)
  1. Strong work ethic
  2. Initiative
  3. Analytical/quantitative skills
  4. Flexibility/adaptability
  5. Technical skills

Below is a list of transferable skills. This is not an exhaustive list, but will provide ideas to make your resume and responses to interview questions more concrete.

  • Communicating Mentoring Reporting Telling
    Editing Promoting Representing Translating
    Explaining Proofreading Responding Understanding
    Informing Providing Selling Verbalizing
    Interpreting Publicizing Sharing  
    Lecturing Reading Speaking  
    Listening Relating Talking  
  • Acting Drawing Interpreting Publicizing
    Composing Expressing Inventing Rendering
    Conducting Founding Modeling Shaping
    Creating Generating Originating Showing
    Designing Illustrating Painting Singing
    Detailing Imagining Performing Sketching
    Developing Improvising Photographing Symbolizing
    Displaying Initiating Playing Writing
    Dramatizing Innovating Printing  
  • Advising Guiding Processing Teaching
    Coping Helping Referring Tending
    Counseling Instructing Rehabilitation Training
    Empathizing Mediating Resolving Tutoring
    Giving Offering Serving  
  • Addressing Heading Negotiating Recruiting
    Arbitrating Implementing Ordering Separating
    Coaching Influencing Overseeing Supervising
    Consolidating Informing Persuading Team Building
    Controlling Inspiring Piloting Umpiring
    Coordinating Instituting Planning Unifying
    Deciding Integrating Prescribing Uniting
    Devising Interviewing Presenting Upgrading
    Directing Judging Programming


    Diverting Leading Protecting  
    Enforcing Managing Recommending  
  • Administering Defining Logging Retrieving
    Arranging Detailing Manipulating Reviewing
    Auditing Dispensing Monitoring Schedule
    Budgeting Distributing Organizing Selecting
    Calculating Estimating Preparing Sorting
    Checking Filing Projecting Summarizing
    Classifying Financing Purchasing Supplying
    Collecting Gathering Raising Systematizing
    Compiling Inventorying Reconciling Transcribing
    Computing Keeping Recording Typing
  • Analyzing Disproving Interpreting Researching
    Ascertaining Dissecting Intuiting Solving
    Assessing Evaluating Learning Studying
    Charting Examining Observing Synergizing
    Conceptualizing Experimenting Predicting Synthesizing
    Detecting Formulating Problem Solving Testing and Proving
    Determining Hypothesizing Processing Troubleshooting
    Diagnosing Identifying Questioning Weighing
    Discovering Inspecting Reasoning  
  • Assembling Extracting Making Sewing
    Building Fixing Operating Treating
    Conserving Handling Producing Washing
    Constructing Installing Repairing  
    Digging Lifting Setting  
    Driving Maintaining Setting Up  
  • Achieving Expanding Obtaining Taking Instructions
    Adapting Following Perceiving Traveling
    Anticipating Getting Realizing Understudying
    Attaining Having Responsibility Receiving Undertaking
    Completing Improving Reducing Using
    Delivering Increase Remembering Utilizing
    Eliminating Memorizing Risking Winning
    Establishing Navigating Sensing Working
*This list of transferable skills comes from Richard Bolles’ What Color is Your Parachute?, ed. 2002. The skills were categorized by the University of Missouri Career Center Staff.