Transferable Skills

Career Engagement

Through the course of your education, internships, extracurricular activities, and work, you have developed skills in many areas. Work skills — also called job skills — are the competencies you need to perform tasks the job requires.

If you’ve researched, written, edited, and presented papers for a class, you’ve used skills that are not limited to that class but are transferable to many situations or occupations. A prospective employer expects you to apply the skills you have learned to the work environment.

But sometimes, it’s hard to identify your OWN skills and know-how to transfer them into different fields.

By identifying your skills and knowing the “language” to describe and discuss skills, you can better communicate your value to potential employers.

You will use the “language of skills” throughout your professional life when you:

  • Write a resume
  • Read about a job opening
  • Go for a job interview
  • Talk with your supervisor
  • Ask for a raise
  • Seek a promotion
  • Change your career

Career Competencies

Career competencies are transferable skills you can take from one situation to another. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has identified eight competencies associated with career readiness. The following NACE Career Competencies are sought after by nearly all employers, including those who hire UT Austin College of Education students.

Critical Thinking/Problem Solving

Exercise sound reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions, and overcome problems. The individual is able to obtain, interpret, and use knowledge, facts, and data in this process, and may demonstrate originality and inventiveness.

Oral/Written Communications

Articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms to people inside and outside of the organization. The individual has public speaking skills; is able to express ideas to others; and can write/edit memos, letters, and complex technical reports clearly and effectively.


Build collaborative relationships with colleagues and customers representing diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, religions, lifestyles, and viewpoints. The individual is able to work within a team structure, and can negotiate and manage conflict.

Digital Technology

Leverage existing digital technologies ethically and efficiently to solve problems, complete tasks, and accomplish goals. The individual demonstrates effective adaptability to new and emerging technologies.


Leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals, and use interpersonal skills to coach and develop others. The individual is able to assess and manage his/her emotions and those of others; use empathetic skills to guide and motivate; and organize, prioritize, and delegate work.

Professionalism/Work Ethic

Demonstrate personal accountability and effective work habits, e.g., punctuality, working productively with others, and time workload management, and understand the impact of non-verbal communication on professional work image. The individual demonstrates integrity and ethical behavior, acts responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind, and is able to learn from his/her mistakes.

Career Management

Identify and articulate one’s skills, strengths, knowledge, and experiences relevant to the position desired and career goals, and identify areas necessary for professional growth. The individual is able to navigate and explore job options, understands and can take the steps necessary to pursue opportunities, and understands how to self-advocate for opportunities in the workplace.

Global/Intercultural Fluency

Value, respect, and learn from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions. The individual demonstrates openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity, and the ability to interact respectfully with all people and understand individuals’ differences.

Transferable Skills for Teachers

Sometimes you train to be a teacher, but can’t find a teaching position or you finish the program and realize that you do not want to teach.

How do you translate your teaching education and experiences into terms a private-sector employer will understand and value? What transferable skills do you have?

Consider the following examples as you identify transferable skills that you gained through teaching and the Professional Development Sequence.

Teachers are Passionate and Committed

Teachers tend to be passionate about helping people. In spite of many obstacles, you persevere in order to get the job done. You perform above and beyond normal standards because you want your students to succeed.

Employers want people who can power through the rough patches and get the job done.

Teachers are Creative and Innovative

In an era of low budgets and student iPhones, classroom teachers have to think outside the box in order to provide engaging and meaningful learning experiences.

Companies need employees who can innovate in order to bring success to a client, program, or system.

Teachers are Effective Communicators

Teachers are adept at communicating verbally and in writing to different audiences – students, administration, and parents, etc.  Each of these interactions requires a different communication style tailored to the audience’s level.

The private sector requires effective communicators. It comes down to knowing one’s audience and assessing its needs, a skill that teachers are constantly perfecting.

Teachers are Multi-taskers

Through the course of your education, internships, extracurricular activities, and work, you have developed skills in many areas. Work skills — also called job skills — are the competencies you need to perform tasks the job requires.

Transferable Skills: What Do You Do Well?” will help you identify your skills and give you the language to communicate them. Also, it will help you find areas that you need to develop. Finally, you should be able to provide a brief example of how you have used each skill.