What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills are general skills you can use in many jobs. You gain these skills from previous jobs, projects, voluntary work, sport, your home life, hobbies, and interests. They enable you to be adaptable and flexible in case you need to change your job.

Your Military Career has given you an abundance of transferable skills and along with your life experience these skills can give you a distinct advantage over your competition in the job market. Employers see candidates with transferable skills better at problem solving and better at generating new ideas and meeting the expectations that others put on them.

To give you an idea of how your skills are transferable here is an example; your ability to think on your feet, remaining composed under pressure. These skills may enable you to handle the logistics demands of shipping customer goods with the same efficiency needed to transport heavy troops, munitions and supplies.

Below are some transferable skills that may be relevant to your job opportunity. Think about how you can convey them on your CV and in interview.

  • Communication skills - Critical in conveying orders and articulating information clearly, effectively and persuasively.
  • Leadership skills - The ability to inspire, influence, motivate; assess situations, make decisions; take risks and determine goals; achieve results through resourcefulness, creativity, and teamwork.
  • Analytical skills - Used to evaluate data; research, compile, and interpret information; apply logic; handle numbers; and determine patterns.
  • Organizational skills - Includes time management; the ability to prioritize, disseminate and record data; generate accurate reports; manage resources; multi-task, administer, direct, and coordinate.
  • Technical skills - The application of practical know-how and hands-on proficiency with specific equipment and machinery, software and hardware, chemical substances, techniques and procedures.
  • Personal qualities - Having integrity, loyalty, resilience, character; self-discipline and control; being punctual, reliable, responsible, structured, resourceful, mission-oriented, with a can-do attitude.
  • Interpersonal skills - The ability to listen, take orders, cooperate, supervise, negotiate, guide and be part of a team.

All of your Military disciplines can be transferred to the corporate, educational, technology, arts, government, fitness and security sectors to name but a few but translating them to paper can be difficult when you are used to using military acronyms and jargon.

Read some examples below of how your skills could translate from the Military to Civilian roles;

  • Aircraft Technician – engineering sectors; mechanics; energy industry; air traffic repairs.
  • Submarine operations – complex computer programs; high tech communication systems; cryptology
  • Armed forces chef – food service; catering; events; restaurant business; personal chef; food safety/inspection/distribution; culinary specialist .
  • Combat Medical Technician – Hospital ER, Paramedic, Medical Consultant
  • Special Forces – law enforcement; nuclear power plant security; bodyguard; private detective; hostage negotiations; film consultant; M15

It is important when constructing your CV and covering letter that you translate your skill set into terms that businesses will understand, assume they know nothing about the Military. Take your time converting each role and experience within the military into business terms. If you have researched your role thoroughly this shouldn’t be too difficult once you bet going.

You have a lot to be proud of so keep that firmly in your mind. Anyone who tells you to play down your military experience is wrong. Your military experience is an asset and should be marketed thus. Many employers realize the value of bringing veterans on board. Make sure your CV clearly communicates the value to the employer of all your attributes relating to your military Career but LEAVE OUT COMBAT.

Be confident but not arrogant; remember that likeability is a key factor in your employability.  People want to work with nice people as simple as that sounds.

Our advice includes