Gaining & Articulating Career Competencies

It is important to describe your experiences in terms of tasks and transferable skills so that employers fully understand how and what your accomplished.

Here are the Top 12 Transferable Skills employers look for on your application materials:

Creativity & Innovation

The ability to apply specialized knowledge, insight, and information to come up with unique ideas and solutions.

  • Make a list to sort your thoughts and select an idea as you see patterns form
  • Hone and make time for creative and design thinking and block time during your most creative hours
  • Learn how to clarify the problem/challenge and consider writing a problem statement to stay focused
  • Build a ‘design team or network’ to bounce ideas off others and see different angles to help reconstruct your idea
  • Be open to feedback through sharing your ideas with team members to engage and inspire others
  • Learn how to pitch your ideas to decision-makers and be prepared to ask for resources
  • Take risks and develop prototypes are necessary to try, test, and refine ideas

Accentuated, acted, animated, architected, assessed, brainstormed, built, captivated, cataloged, commissioned, conceptualized, created, designed, developed, edited, educated, envisioned, fashioned, framed, generated, illustrated, invented, launched, marketed, merchandised, patented, piloted, pioneered, produced, promoted, publicized, shaped, spearheaded, strategized, tailored, tracked, transformed

Critical Thinking & Judgement

The ability to identify and respond to needs based on an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information. *Reprinted courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers

  • Make decisions and solve problems using sound, inclusive reasoning and judgment.
  • Gather and analyze information from a diverse set of sources and individuals to fully understand a problem.
  • Proactively anticipate needs and prioritize action steps.
  • Accurately summarize and interpret data with an awareness of personal biases that may impact outcomes.
  • Effectively communicate actions and rationale, recognizing the diverse perspectives and lived experiences of stakeholders.
  • Multi-task well in a fast-paced environment.

Analyzed, appraised, applied, argued, assessed, compared, contrasted, constructed, contrasted, defended, described, distinguished, estimated, evaluated, generated, identified, illustrated, interpreted, introduced, justified, modeled, outlined, proposed, recommended, researched, solved, synthesized


The ability to feel the situation of another and see that individual’s worldview to better understand their position.  

  • Utilize active listening with the goal of understanding
  • Ask questions of others with genuine curiosity
  • Listen with an open mind and let go of any pre-conceived biases
  • Abstain from offering unsolicited opinions or advice
  • Acknowledge and validate the feelings and emotion the person is experiencing
  • Without making it about you, share a similar scenario and offer perspective and a lesson you learned from the experience

Acknowledged, adapted, addressed, advocated, approached, built, clarified, coached, collaborated, contributed, counseled, demonstrated, enhanced, engaged, empathized, empowered, expressed, guided, identified, interacted, inquired, listened, recognized, related, responded, shared, supported, validated


The ability to demonstrate the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures; and engage in anti-racist practices that actively challenge the systems, structures, and policies of racism. *Reprinted courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers

  • Solicit and use feedback from multiple cultural perspectives to make inclusive and equity-minded decisions.
  • Actively contribute to inclusive and equitable practices that influence individual and systemic change.
  • Advocate for inclusion, equitable practices, justice, and empowerment for historically marginalized communities.
  • Seek global cross-cultural interactions and experiences that enhance one’s understanding of people from different demographic groups and that leads to personal growth.
  • Keep an open mind to diverse ideas and new ways of thinking.
  • Identify resources and eliminate barriers resulting from individual and systemic racism, inequities, and biases.
  • Demonstrate flexibility by adapting to diverse environments.
  • Address systems of privilege that limit opportunities for members of historically marginalized communities.

Acknowledged, adapted, addressed, advocated, approached, built, challenged, clarified, coached, collaborated, contributed, counseled, demonstrated, eliminated, engaged, enhanced, empathized, empowered, expressed, guided, identified, included, interacted, influenced, inquired, listened, led, managed, partnered, recognized, related, responded, shared, supported

Interpersonal Communication

The ability to focus on the individual speaking, comprehend their message and thoughtfully respond to what was conveyed.

  • Ability to express yourself effectively (written and verbally)
  • Ask questions and clarify meaning with an approachable tone
  • Present yourself professionally both inside and outside of the office
  • Actively listen and ask others for their point of view
  • Ask clarifying questions to facilitate understanding
  • Present ideas effectively using a professional tone
  • Participate in group and team discussions
  • Ask questions to obtain information
  • Confront and express opinions without offending others
  • Debate and discuss ideas with others using a professional tone
  • Influence and persuade others to a certain point of view

Advised, advocated, articulated, clarified, contributed, convinced, coached, counseled, described, documented, guided, influenced, intervened, informed, inquired, listened, mediated, motivated, negotiated, persuaded, reasoned, referred, simplified, supported, translated

Leadership & Initiative

The ability to engage others toward achieving common goals, manage emotions, overcome obstacles and adversity, to complete tasks.

  • Cast vision, direction, and elicit buy-in
  • Guide and inspire others to meet the goals and objectives.
  • Develop and facilitate innovative ideas and solutions to complex problems
  • Take smart risks and make hard decisions
  • Negotiate terms, conditions, and deadlines
  • Recognize potential, develop, encourage and mentor talent
  • Foster a sense of ownership among team members
  • Delegate responsibility and review performance
  • Obtain the appropriate tools and resources needed for success
  • Be prepared and take on more than what’s required

Accomplished, achieved, chaired, championed, coached, coordinated, conceptualized, developed, devised, directed, empowered, established, facilitated, implemented, influenced, inspired, managed, mentored, motivated, originated, pioneered, started, trained

Organization and Detail Orientation

The ability to focus on and prioritize tasks, and utilize time and energy efficiently in order to achieve goals thoroughly and accurately.

  • Identify and prioritize and categorize tasks, information, and details
  • Create efficient organizational systems and protocols
  • Develop guidelines for implementing and follow through on task/plan completion
  • Show up to work, meetings, and events prepared and on time, if not a bit early
  • Set up a standard operating procedure to maintain a high-quality work product
  • Break up large projects into smaller tasks and develop a timeline for task completion
  • Utilize a task management system to help systemize goals and timelines
  • Build-in breaks to reset your focus before taking on new tasks or projects
  • Make a habit to review, proofread, and check the accuracy of documents and reports

Accounted for, aligned, blueprinted, budgeted, caught, calculated, cataloged, charted, cited, completed, corrected, designated, drafted, filed, identified, itemized, lined up, listed, outlined, planned, plotted, prioritized, mapped out, noticed, recounted, resolved, sequenced, shaped, standardized, structured, tabulated

Problem Solving

The ability to evaluate problems using knowledge, facts, and data to ideate possible solutions to make logical decisions.

  • Anticipate problems and handle several challenges simultaneously
  • Define problems and identify apparent causes
  • Ability to think outside of the box and ideate possibilities/solutions.
  • Analyze problems from multiple angles and perspectives
  • Engage others in the process to enhance the number of ideas/solutions.
  • Develop plans to implement solutions
  • Research, benchmark, and outline/strategize an action plan
  • Create innovative solutions to problems

 Adjusted, alleviated, concluded, elevated, engaged, extended, formulated, identified, implemented, increased, persuaded, negotiated, reduced, refined, reformed, resolved, streamlined, strengthened, transformed

Professionalism & Work Ethic

The ability to consistently commit to a high standard, be a self-starter, follow through on tasks, and maintain a positive outlook.

  • Commit to your own standard of excellence and set/achieve high standards.
  • Consistently maintain a positive and open outlook when experiencing challenges.
  • Ability to manage your attitude, emotions, mental/physical well-being.
  • Take responsibility for your own learning & development needs.
  • Take ownership and responsibility for decisions.
  • Consistently plan, prioritize, and manage your time and workload.
  • Demonstrate diligence, patience, and resiliency when dealing with difficulties.
  • Adapt your approach or style to a range of individuals and circumstances.
  • Prioritize your own self-care at work and outside of work to maintain balance and avoid burnout.
  • Demonstrate self-belief and advocate for your professional growth and development.

Accomplished, aimed, aspired, attended, committed, cultivated, dedicated, educated, endeavored, engaged, ensured, finished, followed, learned, listened, mastered, performed, polished, practiced, refined, respected, strategized, strived, trained

Resourcefulness & Adaptability

The ability to be nimble and quickly respond to changing trends, industry, and organizational shifts.

  • Learn new information quickly to change directions or strategies as needed.
  • Analyze any gaps between actual performance and desired performance and make a plan to shift the direction
  • Balance self-reflection with the self-belief to stay motivated and make a change
  • Ask for feedback and develop a growth mindset
  • Be acutely aware of changes in your environment
  • Seek ways to develop new skills that add to your value proposition

Acclimated, adapted, adjusted, aligned, altered, amended, anticipated, changed, complied, converted, exchanged, evolved, learned, modified, pivoted, reset, reversed, revised, reworked, shifted, replaced, reshaped, transformed, transitioned,


The ability to work collaboratively with others through sharing knowledge, learning together, and building consensus to reach goals and objectives.

  • Get along and work productively in a group setting
  • Be positive, patient, approachable, and dependable.
  • Being open to new ideas and solutions to meet objectives
  • Listen actively to understand other’s point of views
  • Practice empathy and flexibility with the ability to pivot when needed.
  • Support and acknowledge others for reaching goals
  • Collaborate with team to identify and solve problems
  • Compromise to find the most realistic solution
  • Evaluate solutions to complex issues and concerns
  • Initiate small talk and build rapport with others
  • Deal with conflict and difficult team members effectively
  • Convey a sense of belonging, humor, and goodwill in the workplace

Collaborated, consulted, cooperated, contributed, encouraged, engaged, ensured, guided, helped, interacted, partnered, related, supported


The ability to leverage existing digital technologies and learn new and emerging technologies efficiently to help solve problems, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.

  • Continually seek certifications and training around new technologies that elevate your skill level
  • Read technical books and online tutorials that stretch and expand your knowledge and skill level
  • Develop competencies around a new program, language, or platform
  • Subscribe to technical magazines and sites to stay up to date on innovation and new trends
  • Seek mentorship and feedback from knowledgeable colleagues and mentors.

Accelerated, built, computed, constructed, developed, distributed, duplicated, eliminated, enabled, engineered, equipped, evaluated, generated, installed, integrated, investigated, launched, maintained, monitored, operated, outsourced, performed, prevented, printed, processed, programmed, repaired, replaced, restored, systemized, updated, upgraded, validated, wrote

Written Communication

The ability to articulate and express thoughts and ideas effectively to inform, instruct, persuade and tailor communication to multiple audiences.

  • Organize key points, themes and thoughts so the message is clear and easy to understand
  • Utilize a professional and appropriate tone to convey respect to the reader
  • Break content into easy-to-read paragraphs or sections by using bullet points, headers and short paragraphs
  • Proofread for correct punctuation, spelling and grammar

Addressed, authored, briefed, clarified, composed, corresponded, created, critiqued, described, developed, documented, drafted, edited, expressed, highlighted, formulated, organized, penned, proposed, recorded, reported, reviewed, summarized, transcribed, translated, wrote

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  2. Indeed Editorial Team. (2022, November 21). A complete guide to effective written communication. Indeed.
  3. Kaplan, Z. (2022, September 2). Top communication skills for the Workplace. Forage.
  4. National Association of Colleges and Employers. (n.d.). What is Career Readiness? (n.d.).
  5. National Association of Colleges and Employers. (n.d.). What is Career Readiness?. NACE.
  6. Ponio, J. (2022, November 30). Ways to show empathy sincerely. Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen.
  7. University of Notre Dame. (n.d.). Verbal/written communication. Undergraduate Career Services.,listen%20for%20meaning%20and%20understanding
  8. Wigan & Leigh College. (n.d.). Employability skills: Written communication skills. Learning Support and Resources.,and%20summarising%3B%20and%20writing%20reports.&text=Structure%20and%20layout%20can%20be,quality%20content%20takes%20much%20longer