Transferable Skills

 “The concept of transferable skills creates a powerful link between higher education and the work world. Skills are the core elements of any job. While taking any course, list the specific skills you are developing and how you can transfer them to the work world. Almost everything you do in school can be applied to your career–if you consistently pursue this line of thought.” (Ellis, 2015).

Each of us has our own set of unique skills. We might not even think of them as skills, but they are!

For instance, I love gardening, and then take the items from my garden to make jams, jellies, pickles, and sauces (in addition to just adding them to regular recipes). I never thought of the ability to garden as a skill of mine until I started talking to others about gardening. I often hear people say “I just don’t have a green thumb.” My response is a simple – I didn’t have one either when I started. I didn’t know that tomatoes need calcium or that cucumbers attract gnats. I didn’t know that my pumpkin plants would attack anything within reach and pull them down to the ground. I had no idea that failing to harvest my artichoke plants early enough would result in beautiful, but inedible purple flowers.

These skills didn’t just appear out of nowhere. They were developed and honed over time and no matter how much “skill” I may have in gardening, every year I learn something new or mess up in an entirely new fashion. However, the desire to have a good garden encouraged me to research, join gardening groups on Facebook, follow gardeners in other social media, buy books, and engage in “experimentation” to find the best way for me to garden.

In this scenario, my “transferable skills” would be those skills that encouraged me to research and find solutions to my problems, and those skills that encouraged me to conduct trials and experiments to improve upon my own techniques. My every day perseverance to have a good garden would also be a “transferable skill.”

Let’s discuss:

  • What are the three elements the text discusses as the master student process and how do these elements apply in developing your personal skill sets?
  • What are some of your transferable skills?


Ellis, D. (2015). Becoming a master student (15th ed). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

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