Transferable skills categories

The five main transferable skills categories are:

Communication: the ability to express feelings and ideas in a clear and comprehensible manner together with the skilled assessment of information and knowledge.

Research: the ability to plan and execute information searches together with the repacking of the information. It also includes concept forming and the design of a workable plan based on accurate forecasting and problem solving skills.

Interpersonal relations: the ability to form and maintain mutually beneficial relations with co-workers, fellow students, friends and family as well negotiating skills, conflict resolution, motivational skills and assistance provision.

Management: the ability to oversee tasks, lead groups and provide direction to ensure the successful completion of projects and tasks.

Employment: everyday skills required to survive in the workplace and to promote job satisfaction.

Developing communication skills

You can further your communication skills through written communication classes or by regular writing. Make use of a thesaurus and dictionary to expand your vocabulary. There are several sites on the Internet where English grammar and writing styles can be practiced for free. Do this at least once every two weeks.

Oral communication includes your ability to understand non-verbal gestures such as frowning and folding arms. It also includes being skilled at expressing your feelings in a tactful manner whilst being able to listen to others without interrupting them. It includes the ability to convince people to do something through words. Learn to be assertive, but still being sensitive to the feelings of co-workers. Get involved in a discussion group on a topic that interests you and thereby learn to debate issues. This will come in handy with meetings and salary negotiations.

Acquiring research skills

Research is seen as one of the most important transferable skills categories as this entails the ability to acquire relevant data and interpreting it. It also entails being able to use the information to do forecasting and analysis. You can further your research skills by taking a course that involves a lot of research as you will also learn about the correct methodology for research through such a course. Another way is to practice by identifying a problem in your company and finding workable solutions for it. Compile a report that you can hand to your supervisor. Use several resources such as the Internet, focus groups in the company, trade journals, reports from co-workers and statistics to arrive at a workable solution.

Interpersonal relations

If your people skills are poor, then you will not be able to convince co-workers to complete projects or see your point of view. People skills involve liking others and seeing the best in everyone. Once you have changed your attitude towards fellow workers, you will become more relaxed and easy to communicate with. Learn to be sensitive towards the problems and issues that fellow workers face. People like those who stand by them and support their views. If you happen to differ on a topic, leave enough room for another?s viewpoint, but give your suggestions.

Refrain from criticizing, rather provide solutions. Don't yell at fellow workers or students, take a deep breath and when you are calm, discuss issues at hand. This also includes the ability to facilitate conflict resolution. It is better to be known as the peacemaker than to be famed for your temper and inability to get to an agreement.


An effective manager has the ability to exert control over his workers without being a dictator. Fear and respect are two different concepts. People, who lead through fear, don't have loyal subjects. People who lead by example and through motivation have sub-ordinates that will do anything for the team.

Learn effective management, leadership and organization skills by entrusting work to colleagues and by motivating them to complete the tasks at hand in the given time. Don't let someone struggle; rather have regular meetings to discuss problems and projections. Provide alternatives and guidance.


You normally spend at least a third or more time of your day at work. A lack of skills required for a specific job, can lead to severe job dissatisfaction. Fellow workers and supervisors will soon realize that you are not able to perform as required. Learn the basic skills for survival in the workplace such as computer literacy, effective time management, discipline and the basic requirements for your specific position.

These broad transferable skills categories, are seen in many instances, as much more important than hard skills taught at university. Practice the development of the above transferable skills categories and list those areas where you need improvement.