How To Identify Your Transferable Skills


Liberal Arts students have many of the skills that employers are desperately seeking, such as writing, research, critical analysis and time management.

In addition to the skills that you have developed in the classroom, there are numerous other skills that you develop through extra-curricular activities, part-time jobs, volunteer work, etc.

Although you have the skills that employers are looking for, I find far too often that students come into my office feeling like you have very little to offer.

Many seem to think that a university degree should be vocational training.  Rather, what we do in a Liberal Arts degree is teach you to think, reason, deduce, problem-solve and communicate.

We do not train you for one specific career, we train you for numerous, diverse and ever-changing roles – a much better preparation for the realities of today’s work environment than a focused vocational training.

So what are some of those transferable skills?


Speaking effectively, writing concisely, listening attentively, expressing ideas clearly, facilitating discussion, providing appropriate feedback, negotiating, perceiving non-verbal messages, reporting information, editing.

Research and planning

Gathering information, forecasting, predicting, identifying and solving problems, developing ideas and alternatives, organizing, setting goals.

Human relations

Developing rapport, listening, providing support for others, motivating, sharing credit, group work, co-operating.

Organization, management and leadership

Initiating new ideas, paying attention to details, managing groups, decision making, managing conflict, coordinating tasks, teaching, coaching.

General work skills

Being punctual and reliable, managing time, meeting goals, accepting responsibility, setting and meeting deadlines.

All of these skills are in great demand in today’s job market.

Photo credit: Study by Judit Klein on Flickr
About the author

Clare Tattersall is the Manager of Career Development and Community Based Learning at Huron University College at Western University in London, Ont. She oversees the international exchange and internship programs, offers career counseling and development appointments and workshops, and has developed and implemented a co-curricular certificate in Leadership and Professional Development. Clare holds a Master’s degree in English Language and Literature and has over 10 years of experience in the communications sector and post-secondary administration.