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5 In-Demand Transferable Skills to Help You Land Your Next Job
5 In-Demand Transferable Skills to Help You Land Your Next Job

If the pandemic and “Great Resignation” have caused you to reevaluate your work, you may wonder if you have what it takes to transition to a new role or career. The answer likely depends on your transferable skills.

Transferable skills are a combination of hard and soft skills that apply to different jobs. Hard skills are technical skills like coding or search engine optimization (SEO) and often require specialized training. Soft skills are broader and focused on interpersonal traits like leadership, creativity and emotional intelligence.

While everyone has some transferable skills, there are specific skillsets employers value more than others. As a career coach with more than 10 years of experience who has helped professionals discover and market their skills, here are 5 in-demand transferable skills and tips on how to use them to land your next job. 

1. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking skills are analytical or problem-solving skills. Learning to analyze problems without the interference of personal bias, emotions or assumptions is a key part of critical thinking. Good critical thinkers can thoroughly define a problem and then evaluate and implement the best solution.

Here are some steps you can take to improve your critical thinking skills:

  • Participate in team-building exercises.
  • Improve your analytical skills by taking a math class or playing brain games.
  • Actively volunteer to solve problems. Develop solutions to processes that stifle efficiency or communication.

How do you showcase critical thinking skills as a job seeker?

If you’ve ever improved a process or procedure, highlight how you evaluated the problem and implemented a solution. Be sure to explain how your solution benefited your employer.

2. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is the use of databases, networks, software, artificial intelligence and more over the internet. Strong cloud computing skills can help you become more flexible, adaptable and collaborative. Cloud computing often requires learning how to collaborate on projects with team members who have irregular hours in different locations — creating more flexible and agile employees who can respond to competing demands. Employing workers skilled in cloud computing also allows organizations to lower operating costs, scale their business and increase data security.

To gain cloud computing skills, consider using any of these resources:

How do you showcase cloud computing skills as a job seeker?

In your cover letter and interview, provide examples of when you have used cloud computing in an organization to scale or improve efficiencies. You’ll also want to showcase your knowledge of any programming languages and databases.

3. Data Literacy

Data literacy skills are essential for many jobs, from business and technology to education. Business leaders predict that data literacy will be the most in-demand skill by 2030. Data literacy involves understanding qualitative and quantitative data, answering questions and developing solutions from the data.

Additionally, you need to know how to interpret or distinguish the reputability of data sources. In a world where humans are inundated with lots of information, being able to distinguish facts from fiction is critical.

To gain data literacy skills, consider using any of these resources:

  • Ask questions about data to continue to build your reasoning skills.
  • Take a course on research methods that focuses on qualitative or quantitative methods.
  • Expand your knowledge of data analysis tools like SPSS.

Explore one of the many UW certificates or courses in data analytics.

How do you showcase data literacy skills as a job seeker?

List any technical skills and proficiencies in data literacy software you have. Provide examples of how you have used data to find and implement solutions.

In an interview, demonstrate your proficiencies in understanding different data types (qualitative vs. numerical) and how you have communicated data to people in an organization.

4. User Experience (UX)

User Experience refers to how a user experiences a product, system or service. Employers are eager to hire workers with excellent wireframing and prototyping, UX writing, visual communication and user testing skills as they strive to define a great user experience for their customers.

To gain or redefine your user experience skills, consider some of these options:

How do you showcase user experience as a job seeker?

Include any UX courses, training or certifications on your resume. In the cover letter and interview, provide specific examples of how you helped improve the user experience for customers. Showing an employer that you possess excellent problem-solving and collaboration skills is vital to being a great UX designer.

5. Emotional Intelligence

According to Business News Daily, emotional intelligence accounts for twice as much as IQ and technical skills combined when determining who will be a top performer in the workplace. Professionals who can respectfully express their emotions and not let them interfere or impact objectivity are known to have high emotional intelligence.

What’s more, the World Economic Forum 2020 Future of Jobs report says that emotional intelligence is among the 10 most in-demand skills and will continue to be through at least 2025.

To enhance or build your emotional intelligence skills, consider doing the following:

  • Build your self-awareness by practicing mindfulness activities.
  • Try positively expressing your feelings by going to counseling or journaling.
  • Be aware of your emotional triggers by noting what situations induce or produce emotions, especially negative ones.

How do you showcase emotional intelligence as a job seeker?

In an interview, the best way to showcase emotional intelligence is by using the STAR method. Provide examples of how you helped solve a disagreement or conflict on a team.

In an increasingly competitive economy, you must commit to upskilling and reskilling. As our economy continues to grow and evolve, gaining transferable skills is a way to ensure you remain marketable.


For more career tips and industry trends, visit the News & Features section of our website, and subscribe to our email list. To learn more about UW Professional & Continuing Education certificates, degrees and courses, explore your options or contact us.


Dr. Ciera Graham

Guest writer Dr. Ciera Graham has 12 years of experience as a higher education administrator. She enjoys writing on issues pertaining to the challenges impacting women and ethnic minorities in the workplace. She is a past career columnist for the Seattle Times and the Everett Herald, and a current editorial contributor to Career Contessa and Best Colleges. 

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