Recap of Transferable Skills Workshop
Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 1:45PM
By Lana Smith-Hale, Graduate Career Consultant in Advice, Career Preparations, grad student, graduate student, recap, transferable skills, uc santa barbara, ucsb, workshop

Credit: inspiringinterns.comTransferable skills is a buzzword in nowadays – perhaps you’ve heard the term and wondered, "What does that really mean?"

In case you missed it, on February 3, I presented a workshop on how to identify the transferable skills you are getting from your graduate program. Transferable skills can be defined as a way to talk about your academic skills more broadly. By being able to recognize your transferable skills, you are able to talk to people outside academia and those unfamiliar with working with Ph.D./Masters students about the skills that are relevant to what they do.

In grad school, you learn to become a highly trained researcher who can understand nuanced and specialized information. This is what you are working hard to achieve, and this is to be celebrated. But it certainly isn’t the full range of skills you are learning. So what else are you getting from your graduate program? You are learning skills that go beyond technical skills and fall into other categories such as how to work on a team, how to develop and manage a project, and how to communicate difficult concepts.

The art of this is thinking about your tasks and turning them into skills. I encourage you to spend time thinking of what your transferable skills are, beyond the specific duties or tasks assigned by your advisor.

The other point I wanted to make is that graduate students often have to become their own advocates in order to show how the knowledge you have is relevant and applicable to various employers. To do that, you need to learn how to talk your skills beyond your highly specified knowledge. By being able to show what your diverse skill set is, you are opening the door to many possibilities.

Stay tuned for this popular workshop to be held again in the near future!

Article originally appeared on The GradPost at UC Santa Barbara (
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