How to Effectively Highlight Transferable Skills During a Job Interview

  • On July 26, 2023

Employers are often seeking highly-motivated, committed employees who bring their whole selves to work. But there’s more to you than your work-self. Let prospective employers know what makes you valuable as a human being, not just an employee.

When interviewing, it’s common for job seekers to highlight their assets as they directly relate to previous experience and professional development. But what about the 2 ⁄ 3 of our life that takes place outside of the workplace. How do those experiences affect your abilities at work? Particularly for applicants with limited experience in their field of choice, as well as those who have been out of the workforce for an extended period of time, digging below the surface of your work history and training may help land an interview and job. 

Which Transferable Skills Are Worth Mentioning?

The traits that make you who you are in life can have a profound impact on performance and abilities in the workplace. These “transferable skills” can be beneficial while staying on the same career path, as well as when transitioning to a new role. When preparing for an interview, consider mentioning transferable skills that set you apart from other candidates who may appear stronger on paper. While a candidate may seem like an unconventional hire, their transferable skills may make them the perfect fit for the job.

Examples of life skills that crossover to the workplace include:

  • Patience: Being forced to stop our lives and move everything in-house for a year taught humans a new level of patience. Let employers know how you responded to this abrupt change in a positive light.
  • Resiliency: Resilience is the ability to bounce back and thrive from challenges; it is an important skill, both in life and work, to help cope with stress and protect your mental health and wellbeing. Let employers know how you pushed through a long-term tough situation and grew from it.
  • Self-control: It’s often said that there are two kinds of people: those who plan ahead, and those who never will. Making peace with that truth is difficult, but it’s taught me that how you respond — instead of simply reacting — will dictate your own happiness.

Presentation is Everything

Never mention a transferable skill without giving some evidence that you actually do possess it and without referencing it back to the role you’re interviewing for. Also, remember that until you make a good impression, you want the job more than the interviewer wants you. Therefore, it is your responsibility to prove that you really are as talented as you’re claiming, and that those talents are exactly what they need in their new hire. When planning to emphasize transferable skills, consider doing the following:

  • List your greatest qualities beforehand
  • Think about the role and what skills would appeal to the employer
  • Follow up with evidence and explanation

Think outside of the box when putting your best foot forward. Let prospective employers know you’re valuable in more ways than the traditional work model requires. Post-covid, employers are more open minded than ever in regard to work/life balance and building strong relationship-based teams.
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