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CV - Curriculum Vitae (Job interview concept with business CV resume) , BUSINESS OFFICE BUSINESSMAN WORKING application job

How to Build a CV: Demonstrating Transferable Skills

A CV is an important chance for you to showcase your abilities to a recruitment manager. It is their first impression of you, and a high-quality CV can considerably boost your chances of getting an interview, so it is worth spending the extra time and effort on the content and presentation of it.

Transferable skills are vital to building a strong CV, especially for those just starting in the working world or a new industry.

Here, we will explore how to demonstrate your transferable skills to land that job interview.

What are transferrable skills?

Transferable skills are the skills you pick up over time from hobbies, volunteering, work experience, school, or other daily life activities and can be applied to most job roles. Writing transferable skills into your CV can make you a more acceptable candidate for roles you didn’t even think you could achieve.

No matter your previous experience, transferable skills help you prepare to work in different work environments.

Examples of transferable skills include:

  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Adaptability and initiative
  • Teamwork
  • Organisation

How to write transferable skills onto your CV

Identify your skills

The first step in writing your transferable skills onto your CV is understanding what skills you have. If you are notoriously late, you shouldn’t put time management on your CV for the sake of the recruiter, this can only cause you problems later down the line.

Instead, focus on your strengths. If you are a good communicator, make a point of this in your CV. Equally, if you work well in a team or independently, outline these. Depending on the role you are applying for, certain skills could be more appropriate, but all can be argued as strong skills to have on any CV.

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Tailor to your industry

However, make a show of the ones that suit the industry you aim for the most. If you are applying for life science jobs which involve heavy independence, highlight the relevant ones. While teamwork is always important, the recruiter will want to know how you plan to bring these skills to the job you are applying for and that you understand the job specifications thoroughly. If you highlight your ability to work in a team for a role requiring independent thinking, the recruiter may think you haven’t understood or even read their job description.

Equally, if you are looking to apply for retail jobs which rely heavily on teamwork and organisation, these are the key skills you would want to focus on.

It is crucial that you tailor your CV for each job role, not only to the industry specification but to the job description, to show recruiters your commitment, understanding, and attention to detail.

Write descriptively with real-world examples

Don’t just write the skill as a bullet point and leave it at that. Recruiters are looking for detail. How and when have you shown these skills, and how effective were you demonstrating them. Write the skills descriptively, for example: instead of “I have excellent time management”, try “I have used my time effectively to meet tight deadlines.”

Even better, use the description to add real-world examples. Not only have you got “excellent time management”, but you have “a track record of timely responses in my previous role as an administrative assistant, improving communication efficiency across the company and reducing incoming mail traffic by 25%.” Quantify how these transferable skills have assisted in your work experience, volunteering, etc.

Write with certainty

Confidence is key when it comes to all areas of job applications. Write with confidence in yourself and your skills. If you don’t believe in your skills, how will a recruiter? This is also important for the next stage, as you will need to sell these skills during any interview you get. So, make sure you know what skills you possess, how you have developed them, and even how you want to progress them can help.

Whether you are starting in the working world, applying for a new industry, or exploring an industry you already know, it is important to remember the transferable skills you have. These can be applied to most job roles and will provide a backbone for your progress in new positions.


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