5 Best Transferable Skills Recruiters Love

As seen on Forbes.

Landing a new job is like solving an intricate puzzle. You need different skills to fit just right before you achieve your goal.

In your career path, you’ll find yourself constantly refining and acquiring skills that are essential. Take a career in the tech world, for example, where staying updated on the latest trends and tools is a must. In marketing, mastering the art of understanding your audience and speaking their language is crucial. And in education, a solid grasp of the most effective teaching methods is what will set you apart.

Bottom line: It’s all about tailoring your specific skills to fit the right role for you.

But what if you’re planning on changing tracks along the way? Will you have to start over from scratch?

Not necessarily. The key to making a big career pivot is often to highlight the skills you already have but in a way that makes sense for the new role. We call these transferable skills, and once mastered, you can land any job you want. 

As a former recruiter and head of talent development, I compiled this list of 5 transferable skills recruiters love most. Read on to see which ones you already have and the new ones to add to your list.

Small Talk (or Communication)

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but small talk will win you jobs. Because in the eyes (more like ears) of a recruiter, small talk equals good communication skills.

Good communication skills are all about being able to express yourself well through writing, speaking, and presenting.  There are a lot of resources out there that can help you learn the fundamentals, but the best teacher here is practice. Because in a job interview, your communication skills will definitely be tested from the get-go. Let’s take a look at this example:

Recruiter: Hi, thank you for your interest in this role! Before we begin, can you tell me a little about yourself?

Candidate 1: Of course, thank you so much for having me! I’ve been following your company for the last few years, and I’m very excited to be here today. As for my experience, I’ve been working as a software engineer for the past five years, with a focus on front-end development. In my current role, I’ve led several successful product launches and most recently collaborated with the CEO to execute on a new initiative that increased our revenue by 20% in Q1! I am excited to be here and learn more about this opportunity.

Candidate 2: Um, sure, I guess I can expand on what’s already on my resume. I’ve worked at a couple of places doing various things, and most recently, I helped out with some programming stuff for ABC Company.

It’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the gist. A good communicator knows their audience, works on the best way to deliver the message, and tries to make it a two-way conversation.

Growth mindset

This has been a buzzword the last few years, but it’s still something that can help you stand out from the rest. Companies want to find talent who challenge the status quo and want to grow with the team. Thus, recruiters really seek out candidates who show excitement and ambition for taking things to the next level – not just for themselves but for the entire organization. 

A growth mindset is infectious. It helps the employee, their co-workers, and the whole organization achieve their big goals and go beyond them in the future! You can bring this up in your interviews by discussing your past projects and what you did to inspire the team to think even bigger.


Ah, the chameleons of the industry. Adaptability is a skill that will help you thrive in any role and industry and always catches the recruiter’s attention. The reason why this is such a sought-after skill is because the world changes so quickly. And companies want talent that can stay on top of the current landscape and adjust their sails accordingly.

So, how do you show off you have this skill? Discuss big wins from your career where you needed to pivot to a different direction. Share stories from when you handled change and how you stayed resilient for the team. These are the qualities that they want to see in you.

Creative thinking

Creativity is not just saved for those in marketing, branding, and PR. Being creative is a skill set that can help any organization take its status to the next level. Consider Apple, for example. The creative thinking of Steve Jobs and his leadership team helped separate them from all the other consumer electronics companies from the beginning. What recruiter or hiring manager wouldn’t love to have a “Steve Jobs” type of thinker on their team?

Emotional Intelligence

And last but not least, we have E.Q. In a fast-paced world, emotional intelligence is an often overlooked yet very important skill that should be highly regarded in hiring. It’s the little things, but exhibiting empathy and being compassionate are great signs of future leaders, and recruiters take notice.

There are many challenges that all organizations will face during the course of their journey. But those with team members who are sensitive and responsive to the needs of others will always outlast those who don’t.  Transferable skills come in all shapes and sizes. What is most important is that you highlight the ones that are most useful for your role and the unique value you bring. Rooting for you!

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