Biomedical Graduate Education

Transferable Skills Worksheet

Working in the laboratory allows you to learn difficult techniques and make important contributions to scientific inquiry. While you conduct experiments, you are also gaining transferable skills, highly adaptable abilities that will serve you for the rest of your professional life — even away from the bench!

What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills are skills and abilities that you can apply across various jobs, industries and areas of life. Common examples are communication, leadership, critical thinking, research, and organizational skills. After reading through this page, fill out our Transferable Skills Worksheet to learn how the work you have done translates into transferable skills.

Why are they important?

Although they are often referred to as “soft” skills, especially when compared to the more specialized technical skills required in job postings, transferable skills are very valuable to employers. Indeed, transferable skills are key skills in industry! This is true in academia as well. To learn more about why these skills are important, read this article from Science magazine. While the article mentions postdocs, much of the information is applicable to all research trainees.

Do I have any transferable skills?

Yes! You have developed these skills throughout your life — at your university, workplace and home. Our worksheet will help you identify which skills you have already developed. From there, you can think of which you would like to develop. For pre- and postdoctoral trainees, we encourage you to consider incorporating those into goals on your Individual Development Plan.

I’ve filled out the worksheet — now what?

Once you are aware of your transferable skills, you can showcase them in your job search materials (e.g., resume, CV, cover letter, LinkedIn profile) and when networking or going on job interviews!