Transferable Skills

Graduate school gives you the chance to develop new skills and sharpen those you already have. Whether you know it or not, you’re also developing skills that go beyond teaching and research; these transferable skills can be applied to work you might do in business, industry, government, or non-profit organizations. Simply put, transferable skills are skills you develop in one setting—or to meet a specific goal—that can be generalized and applied to many different jobs and settings.

Skills You'll Develop in Graduate School

  • Public speaking
  • Working effectively in a team
  • Writing skills
  • Making decisions & solving problems
  • Planning, conceptualizing, organizing & prioritizing
  • Accessing & processing information
  • Analyzing quantitative/qualitative data
  • Having technical knowledge related to the job
  • Proficiency with computer software programs
  • Creating and/or editing written reports
  • Forming an argument/providing supportive details
  • Organizing/managing data
  • Managing projects
  • Leading/motivating others
  • Setting goals and objectives

Perhaps you're not ready to enter the job search, but you probably have a dream job. Search the listings for that job and compare the skills they're looking for with the skills you have. What skills does a preferred candidate have that you don’t have yet? Then brainstorm ways that you can acquire those skills as a graduate student. Remember, transferable skills don’t need to be developed in the same setting as your future area of employment. Once you expand your perspective on the skills you’ve developed in graduate school and begin to see them as a transferable skill set, you’ll have an easier time making the transition to a non-academic career.

Highlight your transferable skills with effective action verbs on your CV.

To help you get started developing these skills: