Top 10 Highly-Transferable Job Skills Employers Look For

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Every new job will present you with a learning curve to round. Over the first 3-6 months, your time will be spent learning the tricks of the trade and ironing out the finer details of your role. 

This is true of every position, at every company, across industries. 

Some skills — commonly referred to as “hard skills” — can only be learned through on-the-job experience, education and training. Without the right set of hard skills, people can't succeed in more technical, specialized roles — like in software development, law or engineering, for example. 

However, there is another category of skills: soft or core skills. These skills, although just as important as hard skills, are also more universally applicable. It’s safe to say that the specific set of soft skills employers look for is relatively similar across the board.  

Here at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS), we regularly hire employees in an array of departments. From truck drivers and sales professionals to mechanics, accountants and IT experts, a person’s hard skills play an important role in our hiring decisions — but so do their “soft” ones.

In this article, we have listed 10 of the most transferable, soft skills employers look for in a job candidate. An individual with these skills has the opportunity to succeed in practically every industry. Do you have any of them? Let’s find out.  

10 Transferable Job Skills Employers Look For:

  1. Critical thinking
  2. Teamwork
  3. Problem-solving
  4. Attention to detail
  5. Adaptability
  6. Analytical thinking and reasoning
  7. Communication
  8. Initiative
  9. Creativity
  10. Leadership

1. Critical Thinking

A person’s ability to think critically about a problem, strategy or activity is a skill employers desire. No matter which industry you work in, or what your job title is, being able to objectively analyze an issue and formulate an objective decision on how to solve it will prove invaluable. 

Employers like to hire critical thinkers because they can depend on them to make informed, purposeful decisions. This is a highly transferable job skill as everyone, from those in front-line, customer-facing roles, to C-Suite executives, must think critically every day. 

2. Teamwork

The business world is a marketplace brimming with teams. Every company has teams of individuals working together in pursuit of a collective goal. For this reason, many employers look for individuals who have teamwork skills and experience.

The ability to collaborate, give constructive feedback and compromise top the list of fundamental teamwork skills. Often, to gauge their skill, companies will question a job candidate’s background working on a team. This is done by asking about an individual’s professional journey and how these skills have been tested, utilized and improved over time.


3. Problem-Solving

When hiring a new employee, most businesses seek out those they know will be a good fit. Sometimes, this comes down to that person’s background and job history. At other times, however, companies look for people that have solid problem-solving skills.

Your problem-solving skills should allow you to identify a problem, define what needs to be done, explore your options for solving that problem and then select the best solution. In the fast-paced business world, these skills are of paramount importance, allowing employees to disconnect from strict directions and take corrective action on their own.

Every job requires some sort of daily problem-solving. As such, expect to apply these skills no matter where you end up.

4. Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is another highly-transferable job skill; all employers expect quality output from their employees. For this reason, companies look for employees that can thoroughly examine their work, pick out areas where improvement can be made and follow through with corrective changes. 

Attention to detail also includes the ability to budget time and resources correctly to stay on top of one’s workload. These skills are essential to employee success in any role. 

5. Adaptability

Things move fast at every company and, sometimes, things change. Be it because of a change in leadership, strategy or structure, or because market forces dictate it, at some point, businesses change.

Businesses want employees that can change along with them, employees that have the flexibility and skillset to take these adjustments in stride. Often, people that have more trouble adapting, or are resistant to internal shifts, have difficulty succeeding at a company long-term. That said, if you are adaptable, open to change and eager to help your company thrive, these skills will serve you well everywhere. 

6. Analytical Thinking and Reasoning 

Analytical thinking and reasoning skills help people analyze inputs and solve difficult problems. Having analytical thinking in your toolbox will help you process information and constructively take action. 

Once again, this is a highly transferable skill. Practically every job requires people to draw conclusions based on a set of data. As such, expect to use your analytical skills — skills such as forecasting, brainstorming, report analysis and research — in most roles. 


7. Communication

Communication skills are essential to your career success. These skills include things like active listening, presentation, written and oral communication, clarity and nonverbal communication. 

Effective communication skills will prove beneficial to you every day. All companies need employees to possess these skills as they lend themselves well to collaboration and collective goal attainment. If you’re a good communicator, make sure to specify this during your interview process. Highlight how your skills have grown over time and how you have utilized them in past roles. No matter what industry or job you’re hoping to enter, being a good communicator will serve you well. 

8. Initiative

Although it’s eighth on our list, the importance of taking initiative — to solve a problem, meet a deadline or start a project (for example) — can’t be overstated. Every company wants to fill its ranks with “go-getters,” individuals who are passionate about their work and aren’t afraid to set the bar high — without prompting. 

That’s why, whether you’re applying for an entry-level job or a senior position, having initiative skills is important. 

9. Creativity

Even if you’re not a “creative professional” by trade, having some level of creative/out-of-the-box thinking skill is good. Job candidates that display their ability to create, come up with original ideas and use their imaginations to solve problems are desirable to employers. 

If creativity has always been your strength, you’re well-equipped to succeed in a variety of industries and jobs. This transferable job skill is among the hardest to organically develop, making it a strong tool within your professional toolbox. 


10. Leadership

Leading a group of people isn’t easy. No one ever claimed it was. However, having leadership skills can serve you no matter your job function. Among other things, “leaders” inspire those around them, provide strategic ideas, make complex concepts easy to understand and take initiative. 

These are all things companies value in their employees. Being a good leader can be learned. That said, if you have some of these skills now, you’re in a great position to succeed across industries. 

What’s It Like to Work in The Transportation Industry?

Although these job skills apply to every industry, they are particularly desirable in the transportation/logistics space. You see, every product you purchase, utilize or interact with daily — from the computer you’re using to the car you drive — was moved by transportation companies (probably multiple times) during its lifecycle.

However, with so many moving pieces to account for each day — and so many external forces to compete with — transportation companies are constantly challenged. That’s why employing people with these 10 skills is so crucial. 

But what’s it like to work in the transportation field? Would a career here be a good fit for you? 

Honestly, transportation is a great place to work; you make a measurable impact on the world. That said, transportation is also not the right fit for everyone. 

So, to help you decide whether a job in this industry is worth pursuing, read this article on the pros and cons of working in the transportation industry

And, after checking it out, if this industry intrigues you, take a look at ATS’ open positions. We’re always looking to add talented individuals, like you, to our growing family.

Tags: Sales Careers, Career Resources

Megan Miller

Written by Megan Miller

Megan started her journey with ATS in 2015 as the first full-time recruiter for ATS Logistics. Today, as ATS' revenue enablement manager, Megan focuses on developing strategies to support ATS' fast-growing sales teams and organization. Working with colleagues she now calls friends, Megan supports ATS' teams as they serve customers around the world.

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