Bridging the gap: The top 10 transferable skills for career transformation

Every job you work in will develop your skills, but so too can your hobbies or volunteer work.

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These competencies are something you can carry from one job to another. We call them transferable skills because they prove you can do the job you’re applying to. They don’t have to be a 1:1 imitation of what’s in the job spec. Instead, something you can point to and say, “This demonstrates my capability and adaptability in similar situations.” 

Transferable skills bridge the gap between different career paths. In this article, we outline why transferable skills are important to help you prepare for upcoming interviews and list the top 10 skills recruiters love to see.

Why transferable skills are your career’s best asset

The good news is that everyone has transferable skills, even if nothing comes to mind. Identifying them and knowing how to apply them to a new job or career is a great way to stand out. 

Let’s look at why they’re such a big deal.

Understanding the value of transferable skills

Transferable skills are universally valuable. These skills will be the cornerstone of abilities from your first job to your last jobs. They form the backbone of your career, enabling you to confidently navigate changes and challenges.

From soft skills like communication and leadership to hard skills like coding or math, these skills demonstrate your ability to contribute meaningfully to any position you hold.

How transferable skills fuel career transformation

Transferable skills benefit people as the catalyst for career transformation. They provide foundational proof of an individual’s ability to pivot and grow in their careers. Modern jobs are often characterised by rapid technological advancements and shifting economic trends. 

The top 10 transferable skills for career success

Here’s a closer look at examples of transferable skills that employers in Ireland and around the world value


When we talk about communication, we mean the ability to express ideas clearly, listen actively, and engage in effective two-way interactions with colleagues and clients.

Strong communication skills prevent misunderstandings, create a more positive work environment, and convey ideas and instructions clearly.

Essential in every field, from customer service roles where transparent information exchange with customers is an everyday occurrence, to technical positions requiring simplifying complex concepts for less technical audiences.


Leadership involves inspiring and motivating team members towards a common goal, making decisions, and providing direction. Leaders play a crucial role in the success of projects and their team’s overall productivity and morale.

It’s a skill that’s vital for management positions, project coordination, and any role involving team oversight or the mentoring of colleagues.

Problem solving

This is the ability to identify challenges, analyse underlying issues, and put together effective solutions. Problem-solving skills enable individuals and organisations to overcome obstacles and improve processes.

It’s relevant in IT for troubleshooting, engineering for designing solutions, and customer service for resolving client issues.


Adaptability is being open to change and able to adjust strategies or approaches in response to new information or environments.

Adaptability is key to navigating the changes in the workplace, allowing for flexibility in strategies and innovation. This is important in sectors like technology, where rapid innovation occurs, and startups and agile companies requiring quick pivots.


Teamwork is the ability to work effectively within a group, contributing to achieving shared goals, and supporting team members. It’s important because it helps promote a collaborative work environment and leverages the diverse strengths of team members for better outcomes.

In virtually every professional setting, teamwork is particularly useful in roles involving cross-departmental projects or collaborative initiatives as part of an employee benefits package.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is the capacity to evaluate information and arguments, identify patterns or logic, and make reasoned judgments. It enables individuals to make informed decisions, solve problems logically, and avoid fallacies in reasoning.

This skill is crucial for roles in research, data analysis, strategic planning, and any position requiring evidence-based decision-making.

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are how you build and maintain strong relationships. It helps to create a more functional work environment, keeping everyone on the same page and facilitating a harmonious work environment.

Interpersonal skills are critical in customer-facing roles, human resources, management, and any job requiring interaction with clients or team members.

Time management

Time management is the ability to organise and prioritise tasks to better manage time and meet deadlines. This skill helps to ensure productivity, reduces stress, and allows for the timely completion of projects.

It’s an important skill for everyone, but especially for project managers, freelancers, and professionals needing to juggle multiple tasks.


Creativity is the ability to think outside the box and generate innovative ideas or solutions to challenges. It drives innovation, helps businesses to stay competitive, and solves problems in unique ways.

Most important in creative industries like marketing and design, but also in product development, strategy roles, and any field where innovation is valued.

Simone Kelley, Marketing Manager at Irish Distillers, found storytelling to be a transferable skill throughout her career. She had this to say in a recent interview with Recruit Ireland:

“Storytelling and writing skills have been an important part of every role I’ve had with Irish Distillers, from crafting communications across our brands, writing internal training documents and whiskey guides, planning new product launches, to adapting scripts for TV commercials in various markets.”

Digital proficiency

A relatively new skill, digital proficiency is about your competence in using digital tools, platforms, and technologies relevant to one’s field. With the increasing digitisation, alongside hybrid working conditions, being tech-savvy is essential for efficiency and competitiveness.

Mandatory in IT and digital marketing roles but increasingly important in education, healthcare, finance, and other sectors where technology enhances productivity and service delivery.

Mastering transferable skills: A guide

Everyone has transferable skills, but that doesn’t mean they’re immediately obvious to you. Here, we take a look at how you can find and develop your own unique set of skills.

Identifying your transferable skills

  • Reflect on past experiences: Look deeply into your professional history, volunteer engagements, hobbies, and even everyday activities. 
  • Use assessment tools: These assessments can provide a structured approach to uncovering your strengths by analysing your responses to various scenarios and tasks.
  • Seek feedback: Reaching out to colleagues, mentors, or friends for feedback can provide an external perspective on your skill set.
  • Document your skills: Create a list of identified skills and examples of how you’ve applied them in different contexts.

Developing your transferable skills

  • Educational opportunities: Look for courses, workshops, and seminars that help upskill alongside career aspirations
  • On-the-job learning: Volunteer for projects that push you out of your comfort zone or request assignments that allow you to develop underutilised skills. 
  • Seek mentorship: A mentor can provide guidance, share their own experiences, and offer constructive feedback. 
  • Practice and apply: Look for opportunities to use your skills in real-world scenarios, both within and outside your current job. 

Showcasing your transferable skills

Once you understand your transferable skills, you need to be able to show them off to potential recruiters. Let’s look at how we do this through resumes and interviews.

Crafting the perfect resume

Transferable skills should be mentioned on your resume. When describing your experiences at previous jobs, make sure to tailor your CV to the role you’re applying for. Prioritise the inclusion of skills on your CV that you believe will be relevant for the role you’re applying to.

You may wish to include a more general vocational skills section where you can list all your transferable skills. This helps you influence recruiter’s opinions as they often look for skills they’re keen to see in potential employees.

Need a hand perfecting your resume? Head over to Recruit Ireland’s advice centre, where you can find plenty of information on resumes and how to handle yourself at an interview.

Highlighting your transferable skills in interviews

Prepare to discuss your transferable skills in job interviews, using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) format to describe how these skills have impacted your previous roles and projects. 

  • Situation: Set the scene by describing the context within which you performed a task or faced a challenge at work.
  • Task: Explain the task you were responsible for in that situation. What was your goal? What challenges were you facing?
  • Action: Describe your specific actions to address the task or challenge. Focus on what you did, how you did it, and any key decisions you made. 
  • Result: Share the outcome of your actions. What did you achieve? What did you learn? 

Make sure to practise your delivery before an interview so you remember all the key details. It’s also worth tailoring which situations you talk about depending on the role you’re applying to. Make sure you look the part and wear clothes that match your skill set and the role you’re applying for.

Transform your career with Recruit Ireland

At Recruit Ireland, we are dedicated to helping job seekers on their path to success. We provide resources and expert guidance designed to unlock opportunities and drive professional development.

From understanding transferable skills to perfecting your CV, Recruit Ireland’s job board and advice centre supports Irish workers through promotions, career changes, graduate programmes, and much more.

Discover how Recruit Ireland can be your ally in transforming your career by visiting our job board today.



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