Nine transferable skills employers are looking for

JodieAdvice, Final Year, First Year, Graduates, Postgraduate, Second Year

Transferable skills are general skills and abilities which can be applied to a range of different jobs and industries. Employers absolutely love it when you have lots of transferable skills, because they can be used in so many ways in the workplace. The good news is that you probably already have lots of these skills already, as they’re picked up over time through your education, work experience and hobbies.  

Today we thought we’d list nine top transferable skills employers will be looking for in their applicants. If you have any of these skills, make sure to talk about them in your applications and interviews, and bring real-life examples of your skills in action! 

Are you missing some of the skills we’ve listed here? Don’t panic, as we’ve included details about how you can up-skill at the end of this post.


Communication skills

You’ll need to be able to communicate well with other people in any type of job. This includes both verbal and written communication. You should be able to relay information in a clear, concise and focused way, and be able to tailor your message for different audiences and purposes.

It’s also essential that’re you’re an active listener, so you can successfully understand instructions or feedback you’re given, and so colleagues know you value their thoughts.

Flexibility and resilience

This means you can quickly learn new skills and processes to complete tasks, and that you respond well to change. After everything that 2020 threw at us, the ability to adapt to new projects or ways of working is crucial.

It’s also great if you can show employers that you willing to learn and embrace change, rather than it just being something you feel forced to do.

Teamwork and leadership skills

Being a good team player means you can take on responsibilities and work effectively in a group to build positive relationships and achieve desired outcomes.

Employers will be looking for people with good leadership skills. This involves taking charge of projects, managing groups, delegating tasks and motivating others to achieve a specific goal.

Problem-solving skills

If you’ve got good problem-solving skills, you will be able to manage challenging situations at work productively and positively. You’ll need to prove you can take a logical and analytical approach to resolving issues, considering all potential outcomes to make sure you come up with the most effective solution.

Ability to work under pressure

You’ll need to demonstrate that you can keep calm under pressure or during busy periods without becoming too overwhelmed or having it affect your work.

Organisational skills

This is about showing that you can plan out your time well to complete your work. You’ll need to be able to assess the urgency of tasks, prioritise them accordingly and work productively to complete them to deadlines.

Interpersonal skills

In the workplace, you will be working alongside and interacting with colleagues, customers and/or stakeholders from a broad range of backgrounds. It’s essential that you can build good relationships with these people, communicate with them effectively and handle situations appropriately.

Self-management skills

Employers are also looking for people who are pro-active – this means you can decide on tasks you need to complete, new projects to introduce or where to find answers to problems without relying on being told what to do.

It also means your manager can trust you to perform your duties and meet deadlines without them having to micro-manage you.

Negotiation skills

It’s important that you can listen well to your colleagues and talk about what you need from each other, which is where good negotiation skills come in.

You’ll need to be able to discuss with others what you want to achieve and how, and listen to their views – then you’ll need to be able to come up with a solution so that you can both get what you want or need, and feel positive with the outcome.


Worried that you don’t have enough transferable skills yet? Don’t you fret, there’s plenty you can do about that. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Get a part-time job or volunteering role – our JobShop team can help you do just that, so get in touch with them to find out more. You can also browse work experience opportunities on Aston Futures.
  • Secure a virtual internship which you can complete from the comfort of your own home! You can find out more about where to look for virtual internships in this blog post.
  • Complete an online course. There are plenty to choose from – you could do one to delve deeper into a topic you’re already familiar with or you could use them as a chance to learn something completely new! Take a look at these websites to get you started.
  • Join a club or society. Employers love hearing about your extra-curricular activities. Are you a hockey player? That shows you work well in teams. On the committee for a society? That’s an indication you’re dedicated to something you’re passionate about. President of a club? You possess great leadership qualities. There are over 100 student-led groups here at Aston, so you’re bound to find something relevant to your interests.
  • Pick up a new skill – whether you want to learn a language, teach yourself to code or master watercolour painting, there are loads of hobbies you can pick up which will also help you develop key skills like resilience, time management, self-discipline and more!

Photo by fotografierende from Pexels

Jodie, a member of Careers+Placements staff

Written by Jodie Carpenter, Careers+Placements