Do you know your transferable skills?

Posted by GeniusMesh Team on Mar 29, 2019 12:50:40 PM

Daniel, a 2013 EMBA graduate, had been searching for a new role for over 8 months after he lost his job in a reorganization. Daniel had previously worked as the Director of Mechanical Engineering at one of the largest companies in his small, midwestern city. He had lived in the area most of his life – his house and family were all rooted in the city he called home. Finding new opportunities in the area for someone with his technical expertise, in his industry, was difficult (to say the least).

But what Daniel didn’t realize initially was that his experience extended far beyond mechanical engineering – he also had strong transferable skills which he could leverage to pivot into a new role and industry. These transferable skills eventually helped him land his next job writing patents for a law firm.

What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills are those skills and abilities that are relevant and applicable from one job to the next, regardless of position, function, or industry. Any skill can be transferable, depending on where it’s being transferred from and where it’s transferred to. Commonly cited transferable skills include: teamwork skills, problem solving skills, leadership abilities, written or verbal communication skills, organizational skills, and time management skills.

Why do transferable skills matter for EMBAs?

Assessing transferable skills is particularly important for career changers and experienced MBAs who strive to obtain a role that is different (sometimes drastically) from any of their previous roles, as many recent EMBA graduates do. When a career switcher is unable to demonstrate previous experience in a particular role, employers have to rely on a solid set of

transferable skills from other roles or professional experiences. The goal of the assessment by the employer shifts to evaluate the potential of a candidate. Transferable skills become the backbone of the candidate’s argument that they are indeed qualified for the job.

How to assess transferable skills

The good news is that everyone has transferable skills. Transferable skills are developed throughout a candidate's personal and professional life – in undergrad, in the workplace, through interpersonal interactions, and certainly in the executive MBA program. What becomes critical for the EMBA jobseeker is the identification of the transferable skills (which are also strengths for a candidate) that are relevant for the target position, company, or industry.

Informational interviews with companies that are similar to the target company are a great way to begin to understand which skills are valued in the desired role. Candidates should ask recruiters, hiring managers, or others currently in the desired role what hard and soft skills are most important for success. Candidates should compile a list of skills desired by the company.

The next step is evaluating how the candidate stacks up against the list of desired skills. Which skills does the candidate have that are also strengths? Which skills are demonstrable?  

Candidates should be prepared to list their relevant transferable skills for employers and provide “hero stories” that involve the use of those transferable skills – These examples will go a long way in persuading prospective employers that they are right for the job.



If manually identifying and mapping necessary skills with existing transferable skills feels overwhelming, GeniusMesh can help. Request early access to newly launched career planning tools by clicking the link below. 

Career planning with GeniusMesh


Topics: EMBA, Career Planning, Executive Recruiting, Career Advancement, Transferable Skills