Students at a career fair

Assess Your Transferable Skills

To identify academic and professional goals in your Individual Development Plan, you must first assess your skills. 

Why do we call them "transferable" skills? 

  • They are skills that realistically reflect your strengths, abilities, and gaps no matter your field of study. 
  • They correlate with competencies your future employers are looking for on a CV and/or resume.
  • They are integral to every phase of your academic and professional development. 

Listen to the experts 

Featuring Sharolyn Kawakami-Shulz, PhD and Jenna Hicks PhD (Medical School Office of Professional Development), and doctoral candidate Chelsea Cervantes de Blois. Watch video here if you can't access YouTube. 

After this video, you'll remember: 

  • Transferable Skills are applicable across a wide variety of sectors, careers, and position types.
  • As a graduate student, you are already developing transferable skills; it should be your goal to apply them outside your current environment.
  • On resume or in an interview, It is important to provide relevant and specific examples that demonstrate your skills.
  • Speak the cultural language of the person or field in which you're communicating.
  • Add transferable skills goals to your Individual Development Plan (IDP).

Transferable Skills Checklist

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Transferable Skills Checklist


Communication as a Broad Objective

Skillfully express, transmit, and interpret knowledge and ideas.

Specific Skills

  • Communicate across cultural backgrounds
  • Communicate to a wide audience
  • Communicate to a non-specialist audience
  • Speak effectively
  • Write concisely
  • Listen attentively
  • Express ideas
  • Facilitate group discussion
  • Provide appropriate feedback
  • Negotiate
  • Perceive nonverbal messages
  • Persuade
  • Report information
  • Describe feelings
  • Interview
  • Edit

Research & Planning

Research & Planning as a Broad Objective

Successfully search for specific knowledge and conceptualize future needs and solutions.

Specific Skills

  • Forecast, predict
  • Create ideas
  • Identify problems
  • Imagine alternatives
  • Identify resources
  • Gather information
  • Solve problems
  • Set goals
  • Extract information
  • Define needs
  • Analyze
  • Develop evaluation strategies

Human Relations

Human Relations as a Broad Objective

Use interpersonal skills to resolve conflict, relate to, and help people.

Specific Skills

  • Develop rapport
  • Be sensitive
  • Listen
  • Convey feelings
  • Provide support for others
  • Motivate
  • Share credit
  • Counsel
  • Cooperate
  • Delegate with respect
  • Represent others
  • Perceive feelings, situations
  • Assert

Management & Leadership

Management & Leadership as a Broad Objective

Supervise, direct, and guide individuals and groups to complete tasks and fulfill goals.

Specific Skills

  • Initiate new ideas
  • Handle details
  • Coordinate tasks
  • Manage groups
  • Delegate responsibility
  • Teach
  • Coach
  • Counsel
  • Promote change
  • Sell ideas or products
  • Make decisions with others
  • Manage conflict

Work Survival

Work Survival as a Broad Objective

Use day-to-day skills to promote productivity and work satisfaction.

Specific Skills

  • Implement decisions
  • Cooperate
  • Enforce policies
  • Be punctual
  • Manage time
  • Attend to detail
  • Meet goals
  • Enlist help
  • Accept responsibility
  • Set and meet deadlines
  • Organize
  • Make decisions

Get Started!

Download a Transferable Skills Checklist

This Transferable Skills Checklist was first developed by the University of Minnesota Duluth's Career & Internship Services.