The top transferable skills for landing a high-earning job—and how to add them to your résumé

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Want to earn more money? Take note of these 10 skills when writing your résumé.
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It’s no secret that some industries pay lots more than others.

Unfortunately, it’s often not until after you’ve actually studied, gone through multiple rounds of interviews, landed your dream role, and then compared your new salary with your friends, that you realize your industry criminally underpays.

But not all is lost, because the experience gained in one industry can be useful to getting your next big gig in a better paying one. 

Now, new research shows which transferable skills are worth developing and highlighting on your CV, so you can aim to earn more money as you move to future roles. 

The top transferable skills for high-paying jobs

New research from Open Study College rounds up the top 10 transferable skills that employers with the top paying jobs are looking for in candidates: 

  1. Computer and technology competency with hardware and software systems
  2. Leadership skills
  3. Excellent verbal communication skills
  4. The ability to use your initiative
  5. Business management skills
  6. Customer service skills
  7. To be thorough and pay attention to detail
  8. To be flexible and open to change
  9. The ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  10. The ability to work well with others

Unsurprisingly, employers will pay professionals with tech skills generously—and as the world becomes increasingly digital with the emergence of ChatGPT, it’s unlikely the demand for computing knowledge will die down any time soon.

But those who aren’t computer whizzes will be pleasantly surprised by the prevalence of soft skills in the top 10. 

The good news is, whether or not your current role offers any of these skills, there are things you can do to add them to your résumé, a recruitment expert tells Fortune

How to gain these transferable skills

Many companies offer learning and development programs, for staff. Zahra Amiry, Omnicom Media Group’s talent attraction associate director advises workers to jump at these opportunities.

“Even if it doesn’t feel relevant to you at the time, it may be relevant to you in the future,” she says.

For example, despite working in recruitment she’s currently learning about all things e-commerce on the side.

“Do I physically do any of those things on a day-to-day basis? Absolutely not. Did I turn down the free training that I was offered because it was a lot of work? Absolutely not—it’s a development point,” Amiry says. “Although I’m not sure what I can use it for right now, it may give me possibilities and open doors in the future.”

But if your employer isn’t offering you any chances to develop new skills outside of your role, then don’t be afraid to teach yourself. 

When it comes to sharpening up your tech skills or learning how to use new software from scratch, YouTube is a good starting point, Amiry says: “It is going to be harder work, but that work will pay off one day.”

Meanwhile, if you’re not getting the chance to flex your soft skills in your current role, she suggests looking out of the box. Want to gain leadership skills but you’re not in management? Become a mentor.

“It’s about being proactive and trying to learn yourself, if you’re not being offered the training internally,” she adds.

How to promote soft skills on your résumé

Unlike the ability to operate elaborate software, soft skills are hard to actually prove on a CV.

For example, “the ability to accept criticism” isn’t really something most people would drop on their résumé. But you could write that you’re trying to constantly develop and grow, Amiry suggests. “An interviewer will pick up on that and ask what you are doing to develop and grow”—queue your rehearsed response around encouraging constructive criticism.

Other résumé appropriate keywords she suggests candidates use to show off their soft skills (without looking like they’ve copied and pasted this list), are “quick learner”, “enjoys a challenge” and “internal and external stakeholder management”—which is just jargon for someone who can maintain relationships.

“You can’t show who exactly you are through a CV. But you can show glimpses of the best parts of you,” she adds. “It’s all about dropping hints so by the time you get to the interview, you can wow them.”

Plus, don’t be daunted by senior-sounding skills like “leadership”. Amiry reckons that actually many people can probably write they have leadership skills on their CV without even realizing it. 

“For me, that’s management,” she says. “So whether you manage one person (or 100), that’s still a development point.” 

Ultimately, it’s important you don’t underplay these soft skills if you want to bag a high-earning job, Amiry warns, because the more senior you get, the more you’ll move away from being a “doer” who perfroms technical tasks to being the one who leads those who do.

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