Technical and Transferable Skills: How Do They Differ?

Technical and transferable skills are critical in order to succeed in the workplace, graduate/professional schools, and your community, and they are all skills that you can learn, cultivate, develop, and maintain over your lifetime. Let’s clarify the difference between the two types of skills.

Scroll over each image below for examples of technical and transferable skills:

What Are Technical Skills?

Technical skills are typically acquired through the classes required by your specific major, as well as through internships related to your area of expertise.

What Are Transferable Skills?

Transferable skills are skills that you acquire above and beyond job-specific technical skills. Transferable skills may be a little less concrete to define because they're "soft skills," but just as valuable to your future employer. Most importantly, they are nearly universally sought by employers and graduate programs!

Now that you understand the difference between the two skill types, and you understand how critical it is to have some of these skills “in your tool belt” (and on your resume!) before interviewing, let’s take a look at how you can obtain these skills!