Application advice: Identifying transferrable skills

This post is written by Lindsay Parker, an Application Adviser and PhD candidate in the department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries. Here she outlines some tips and advice for identifying transferrable skills to include in your CV. 

A common concern when writing a CV, particularly at the start of your career or when exploring a new sector is not having enough ‘relevant’ experience. It can be useful instead though, to think about the experience that you do have, and the transferrable skills gained.  

Throughout your time in education, extra-curricular activities, part time jobs, even hobbies, there will be many instances when you have demonstrated your skills. Your CV is an opportunity to connect these experiences to the skills required for the job that you want.  

Getting started with your CV can be daunting.  

If you are struggling to think of examples to include, have a conversation – this might be with a friend, family member, or Application Adviser. Think back to the different things that you have done and tell them – What did you do? How? What challenges did you overcome? Talking this through with someone can help you to remember and to think about the skills that you have demonstrated. The Learn What makes me Employable page on Keats is also a great resource foridentifying your key employability assets.  

For example – if you play an active role in a student society, perhaps you have helped to plan events. This shows organisation and project management skills. Maybe you have taken part in a one-off event, such as a hackathon, and worked in a team to analyse information and solve a problem. As part of your course, you might have presented your work and broken-down complex information in an understandable way – this shows communication skills. In your course handbook, you will find a KASE (Knowledge, Attributes, Skills & Experience) framework, tailored to your course, which will help you to make these connections.  

Transferrable skills can include: Team and interpersonal skills, written and oral communication, analytical skills, problem solving and creativity, planning organization and project management, staff management and leadership, self motivation, initiative and drive, commercial awareness, research, customer orientation 

Tip – keep a working document which you can update each time you participate in an activity or take on a new role – what did you do? What did you learn? Can you link any key skills? – this will help you later to think of examples.  

Next, it’s time to start tailoring your CV to the role that you want. Look carefully at the job description and person specification – what are the skills that they are looking for? Where have you evidenced them?  

Within your CV, you should include evidenced examples of when you have demonstrated these skills. This means being specific and results focused. Think S.T.A.R. (Situation, Task, Action, Result) each time. You can find excellent examples of this in the Career’s & Employability CV pages on Keats.  

Tip – don’t be afraid to use key words from the job advertisement in your CV!  

Finally, when you think that you have tailored your CV appropriately to the role and included clear and specific evidence, use CareerSet to check your CV against the job description or person specification.