Three coloured sticky notes with the words 'New Skills Loading' above

Why Transferrable Skills are SO Important

While exams, placements and assessments are all important elements of a university degree, there are other things you can do to fill out your CV and make you a more skilled graduate. 

When you start searching for graduate employment, you will likely come across the term “transferable skills” during your job search and wonder what it means. While the whole process can be overwhelming at times, trust me – this term is not something you need to worry about. Just by being a university student you have already developed some of these skills and will continue to do so throughout the completion of your degree, regardless of your chosen field of study.  

When you’re job hunting, you will come to realise that these “transferable” or “soft” skills are actually what makes you stand out from the crowd and are not so soft after all. 

What exactly are transferable skills and what makes them so important? 

“Transferable skills” is a term for a core set of skills and abilities that go beyond a particular job role , and employers often value these skills highly as they can be used in so many ways within any workplace. This is especially important since it’s predicated that Generation Z will have 17 jobs and establish at least five careers within their working life. Skills within this category can help you stand out to employers throughout the interview process, or even open avenues for career opportunities.  

Would you believe you have already developed some of these skills by studying at university? 

Helen McNairney, Employability Consultant for the College of Human and Social Futures says that transferable skills are needed for the future of work. 

“Transferrable skills are exactly as they sound, they are ‘portable’, which means a student can acquire skills during their degree and then apply them in another context, industry, or role.  Some of the most common employability skills employers value include analytical thinking, problem solving, organisation and interpersonal skills. It is normal for students to feel anxious as they approach the transition from student to professional.  However, one way to manage this process is to prepare early by researching jobs, skills, and industries, so they can consider alternative jobs and occupations.” 

While many students complain about group assessments, if you have ever completed one you now hold more than one transferable skill. Communication, problem solving and teamwork are all examples of transferable skills because they can be used in any employed role. For a more comprehensive list of transferable skills and what makes them so important check out SEEK’s helpful publication on this topic. on this topic. 

I know what transferable skills are, what next? 

Want more information on how you can utilise your time at university to gain transferable skills or need help identifying the skills you already have? Lucky for you, the University of Newcastle’s Careers Service is here to help!  

The Careers team is made up of specialists who know the importance of transferable skills and enjoy assisting students to identify and secure opportunities to gain and build upon these skills to give them the best chance of securing their desired position post-graduation. The Careers Service offers various free workshops and initiatives students can take advantage of including careers counselling sessions, CV reviewing, and more! 

Helen McNairney says, “In addition to the discipline specific skills students learn in their program, they can also develop employability skills through practical experience during WIL placements, practicums, internships, volunteering, and extra-curricular activities.  The Careers Service also encourages students to participate in employability programs such as Career Connect to identify and develop their employability skills with additional resources also on Career Essentials and Career Hub.”skills with additional resources also on Career Essentials and Career Hub.” 

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