Five Forgotten Transferable Skills

How do you identify transferable skills? One way is a time in motion study or a skills audit. Or, you can google “transferable skills” and see what the internet tells you. Here are five skills – tenacity, collaboration, comprehension, qualitative and quantitative analysis, and software use – and why I think they are transferable.


Good day bakers, writers, and rock stars. Today we’re talking about transferable skills, and I’ve got 5 for you that I think are often forgotten as a researcher. Transitioning perhaps into another role or transitioning into an entire new career altogether.

The first one is tenacity. Essentially perseverance through adversity. Not many people stick with one project for one year. Let alone trying to stick with the same project i.e., a PhD for 3 to 7 years. if nothing else. If you’ve got your PhD, you’ve shown tenacity. This is really valuable for employers who want you to stick around for a length of time. So, showing that you can stick with a project through lots of potential life changes. Perhaps even job changes. Environment changes. Data changes. That’s really useful. So, if you’re talking about your research. If you’re talking about your PhD, make sure you focus on tenacity.

The next thing is collaboration. One of the things that I see in industry that I see often in academic. Sorry, start again. One of the things that I see in industry is a lot of talk about collaboration but no real actual collaboration. So, industry talk about collaboration but what they really mean is I work with a colleague in a different department. Whereas, what universities, academics do. What researchers do is they go and work with someone from an entirely different field. In some cases, certainly outside their organization. So, getting all of those organizations to enmesh. Getting the different fields to enmesh. learning to talk to essential different languages is all really useful. So, your understanding of collaboration is probably far closer to a real kind of collaboration than say, an industry idea of collaboration. So, make sure you highlight how when you collaborate. It’s not across departments. It’s not across schools. It’s not even within your university somewhere. It’s across potentially geographic national cultural boundaries. So, collaboration is a forgotten transferable skill.

The next is comprehension. So, I’ve talked previously in videos how academics are really good at picking things up. Definitely, the case I think you know, we go from not knowing much about a topic to being pretty well versed in it quite quickly. We know where to find the information. We know what’s good information. We know how to interpret it. We know how to assimilate it. Again, lots of other fields. Lots of other industries can’t do that, and your PhD your research is an example that you’re able to do that.

The next thing is qualitative or quantitative analysis of data. Like obviously we live and breathe data analysis. I don’t think enough academics who are transitioning into an industry role in particular. Realize how much of a few their future role will involve analytics and do some kind of coding or programming to capture that data and present it. So, be mindful that that is a transferable skill.

Finally, I think software use is a really good transferable skill that’s forgotten. I’ve seen lots of people say that they can use the Microsoft Suite. But not many people have to use it day in day out. I see people say, “Oh, I can use SPSS”. But not many people use it day in day out in the same way that an academic does. So, if that’s you, hope you’ve got that transferable skill.

So, there you go. Five transferable skills that I don’t see people come to me, and mention that they’ve got. Feel free to add some more. Feel free to challenge me. I’d love to know your thoughts.