3 transferable skills you should be working on

Also known as ‘soft’ skills, transferable skills can be applied to any industry or career progression – making them some of the most vital skills to highlight if you’re currently job seeking, looking to make a career change, or hoping to secure that internal promotion at work.

Here are three of the most useful transferable skills to develop, along with some easy-to-implement tips on improving your aptitude in these areas.

  1. Leadership. The action of leading a group of people or an organisation, or the ability to do this.

    Why it’s important: Leadership is one of the attributes all hiring managers look for, and demonstrating this skill can help you secure future roles and stand out from other applicants. More importantly, honing your leadership skills can make you more effective in managing and working on team tasks – meaning it’s a critical career muscle to build even if you’re not currently in a management position.

    How to work on your leadership skills: Like most skills, practice makes perfect. To further develop your leadership skills, ask to take the lead on an upcoming project at work, or take a more active role in supporting junior team members. Remember that leadership is really just about supporting your team to come together and do their best work, and that this skill boils down to communication, attitude and delegation.
  2. Listening. To give one's attention to a sound; to take notice of and act on what someone says.

    Why it’s important: Communication is the backbone of any successful business – and while making yourself heard is important, effective communication is all about listening to your co-workers and stakeholders. Effective listening is crucial in any role, which makes it the ideal transferable skill to hero in your resume. Whether you’re working in retail and need to listen to your customers needs, or you’re a tradie who relies on effective communication to understand the parameters of a job, demonstrating and highlighting your ability to listen can help you secure your next dream role.

    How to develop your listening skills: Listening is something most of us do every day without even thinking about it, but making an effort to develop a knack for active listening can really help you up the ante at work. To hone this skill, make a conscious effort to hear what your colleagues say, and process that information before responding. Show them you’re listening by stopping what you’re doing, giving them eye contact, and acknowledging their comments. Repeating back what someone has said can be a great way to ensure you’ve got the information right, while showing them you’ve taken their feedback on board.
  3. Research. The systematic investigation into, and study of, materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach conclusions.

    Why it’s important: When assessing candidates, employers and hiring managers look for people who show initiative and an ability to learn. Highlighting research skills can indicate both of these attributes, and make you a more productive and effective employee in day-to-day business. Research can be theoretical or practical, so while you may think your job doesn’t require ongoing research, the simple fact is that most of us are learning new things and trialling new methods of doing our work all the time.

    How to develop your research skills: The kind of research you undertake will depend on the industry you’re in, but if you’re looking to improve this skill try to set aside an hour or two a week to consciously explore relevant news, systems, and ways of doing things. Browse relevant trade publications to get a better understanding of news and trends in your field of work. Subscribe to industry blogs or YouTube channels that offer insights and tutorials. Talk to your colleagues and manager about the research they undertake, and glean tips and ideas from them.