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Top Transferable Skills Web Sites


Mary Askew

To be successful in the workplace, employees have to possess transferable skills. Knowing about these skills will help teens and adults prepare to be successful in the workplace. Transferable skills are a product of our talents, traits and knowledge. These skills determine how you respond to new activities, work situations or jobs.

Transferable skills are non-job specific skills that you have acquired during any activity or life experiences. Student activities and experiences include campus and community activities, class projects, and assignments, hobbies, athletic activities, internships and summer part-time jobs.

Transferable skills fall into three (3) groups: Working with people, working with things, and working with data/information. These terms are defined below:

Working with people skills happen when people sell, train, advise, and negotiate.

Working with things skills occur when people repair, operate machinery, sketch, survey, or troubleshoot.

Working with data/information skills involve budgeting, researching, and analyzing.

The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) is a model for transferable skills resources and web sites. In 1990, a commission of schools, government, unions, and corporations developed five SCAN competencies and three SCAN foundation skills. The Five Competencies are: Resources, information, interpersonal, systems, and technology.

The meanings of the competencies are:

Resources competencies describe the allocation of time, money, material resources, facility resources, and human resources.

Information competencies involve acquiring, evaluating, organizing, maintaining, interpreting, communicating and processing information.

Interpersonal competencies include team participation, teaching, customer services, leadership, negotiation, and cultural diversity.

Systems competencies work with understanding systems, performance monitoring, and systems designs.

Technology competencies involve the selection, application, maintenance, and troubleshooting of technology.

Besides competencies, there are three (3) Foundation Skills: Basic, thinking, and personal qualities. The terms are explained below.

Basic skills involve reading, writing, arithmetic, mathematics, listening, and speaking.

Thinking skills include creative thinking, decision making, problem solving, seeing things in the mind’s eye, knowing how to learn, and reasoning.

Personal qualities are responsibility, self esteem, sociability, self-management, and integrity/honesty

Universities and professional organizations, such as California State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Quintessential Careers, and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) agree these transferable skills are important. These organizations have created transferable skills surveys, exercises, and web sites.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) is a professional association connects more than 5,200 college career services professionals at nearly 2,000 college and universities nationwide, and more than 3,000 HR/staffing professionals focused on college relations and recruiting. NACE has compiled the twenty (20) top personal qualities/skills that employers requested the most:

1.Analytical skills

2.Communication Skills

3.Computer skills



6.Entrepreneurial skills/risk-taker


8.Friendly/outgoing personality


10.Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)

11.Leadership and management skills


13.Organizational and time management skills

14.Real Life Experiences


16.Strong work ethic


18.Teamwork skills (works well with others)

19.Technical Skills


Communication skills are the most popular skills listed on the web sites. Communication deals with speaking effectively, writing concisely, listening attentively, and other abilities that result in the expression, transmission and interpretation of knowledge and ideas. Communication skills help you communicate what you know. Examples of communication skills include:






Selling ideas, products or services




Communication skills are involved in the other skills, such as organizational management, human relations, program administration, research & planning. Organization, management, leadership, and human relations skills are the ability to supervise, direct and guide individuals and groups in the completion of tasks and fulfillment of goals. Organization, management and leadership skills consist of:

Making decisions

Assuming and delegating responsibility

Organizing people and tasks

Negotiating agreements

Management and administrative skills organize and coordinate people, projects and events. As a manager, you handle multiple tasks, set priorities, and adapt to changing conditions and work assignments. As leaders, you use skills to motivate individuals and groups to assess, perform, set goals, evaluate, and follow through situations effectively.

Managers and leaders use human relations skills. Human relations, interpersonal, or people skills, develop rapport, negotiate, and help people overcome their differences.

In addition to human relations skills, managers and leaders need planning and reasoning skills. Program administration, research and planning are essential when you gather information, analyze data, present ideas, and generate solutions.

Analyzing, planning, and reasoning skills are used in the field of research. Research skills help you search for specific knowledge, determine future needs, investigate and record findings, find answers, and evaluate strategies.

Besides planning and reasoning skills, problem solving and creativity activities involve the ability to find solutions to problems using experiences, information, and available resources. Problem solving and goal setting involve assessing a situation, gathering information, identifying key issues, anticipating problems, and generating multiple solutions.

Transferable skills are also called Soft Skills. Simon Fraser University, a leader in management education, lists the ten (10) Soft Skills:











There are free surveys, activities, and exercises that help identify your transferable skills. Examples of resources include:

Identify Transferable Skills Exercise

Identifying Transferable Skills in Career Planning

Identify Your Transferable Skills Survey

Transferable Skills Checklist

Transferable Skills Exercise

Transferable Skills Guidebook

Transferable Skills Survey


Binghamton University, State University of New York, Career Development Center, LSG 500, PO Box 6000, Binghamton, New York, 13902-6000, 607-777-2400

Career Center California State University, Chico Chico, CA 95929-0700, (530) 898-5253

Career Center, Student Affairs, Carnegie Mellon University 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Identify Transferable Skills Exercise. Career Development Services, A Division of Undergraduate Studies, Auburn University, 303 Mary Martin Hall, Auburn, Alabama 36849, (334) 844:4744

Identifying Transferable Skills in Career Planning. William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627:0107

Identify Your Transferable Skills. Career Center University of South Carolina H. WILLIAM CLOSE (BA) BLDG., 6th FL.

Job Outlook 2007, What employers want (and you need to have), National Association of Colleges and Employers, 62 Highland Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18017-9085, 800/544-5272

Quintessential Careers, DeLand, FL 32720

Rochester Institute of Technology, Office of Cooperative Education and Career Services, 57 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623, 585.475.2301

Transferable Skills Checklist. Missouri State University, Career Center, Carrington 309, Glass 103, 901 S. National, Springfield, Missouri 65897, 877:836:JOBS

Transferable Skills Exercise. Wisconsin Job Center, 201 E. Washington Avenue, Madison WI 53702

Transferable Skills Guidebook. Simon Fraser University (SFU) BUSINESS, Career Management Centre, 2361, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, V5A 1S6

Transferable Skills Survey. Career Services, University of Minnesota Duluth, 22 Solon Campus Center, 1117 University Drive, Duluth, MN 55812:3000

University of Alabama Career Center, 330 Ferguson, 205:348:5848

USC Career Planning & Placement Center, 3601 Trousdale Parkway, Student Union 110, Los Angeles, CA 90089:4897, (213) 740:9111

Dr Mary Askew specializes in career tests, websites, and books for adults. Get easy to use, yet comprehensive career resources. Reach your career potentials at


. Contact Dr. Askew at learning4life@qwest.net.

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