Liberal Arts Transferable Skills

As a Liberal Arts major, your major may not have prepared you to work within a specific field, but it has taught you widely applicable skills that are transferable to the workplace in many different industries and career fields.  Employers are frequently looking for these skills as much as they are looking for technical skills and knowledge.  With your Liberal Arts background, employers will also be impressed with you because you are able to think critically, work well with people, make quick decisions and possess excellent analytical and communication skills. 

Skills Most Valued by Employers

  • Writing Skills – to express oneself clearly through written words
  • Interpersonal/Social Skills – to get along well with others
  • Negotiation Skills – to bring about an agreement by bargaining
  • Problem-Solving Ability – to identify the source of a problem and provide a solution
  • Global Awareness – to possess an understanding of other cultures
  • Ability to Synthesize – to combine separate elements to form a new whole
  • Multicultural Skills – to relate to people from diverse cultures
  • Foreign Language Skills – to communicate in multiple languages
  • Creativity – to bring a fresh perspective to a situation
  • Organizational Skills – to manage multiple project effectively
  • Self-Starter – to work efficiently without supervision
  • Teamwork Ability – to work well with others and put personal interests aside for the good of the group
  • Oral Communication Skills – to express oneself clearly through the spoken word
  • Flexibility – to adapt to new and different situations
  • Leadership Skills – to guide the activities of a group and influence the opinions of others
  • Presentation Skills – to deliver a message to an audience effectively
  • Computer Skills – to be knowledgeable about various types of computers and software
  • Critical Thinking Skills – to sift through a large amount of information and make decisions about what is most useful
  • Analytical Skills – to examine in detail or to separate data, ideas, or objects into their parts


Transferable Skills:  Self-Assessment

Use the list below (or click here to download) to help build your list of transferable skills.  When assessing your own transferable skills, consider many different situations in which you could have gained these skills – coursework, extracurricular activities, leadership roles, internships, part-time work, volunteerism, etc.  In an interview, be prepared to provide specific examples of how you have utilized these skills.  It is not enough to possess these skills; you must be able to articulate those skills and abilities as they relate to the position you are seeking.

Click here to download the PDF version of the checklist.

Communication Skills
□ Listen with objectivity and paraphrase the content of a message
□ Use various forms and styles of written communication
□ Speak effectively to individuals and groups
□ Use various media to present ideas imaginatively
□ Express one’s needs, wants, opinions and preferences without offending sensitivities of others
□ Identify and communicate value judgments effectively
□ Use argumentation techniques to persuade others
□ Describe objects or events with few errors
□ Follow written and oral instructions
□ Answer questions and explain
□ Negotiate, bargain or discuss competitive viewpoints to reach a compromise
□ Interview others to acquire information about them
□ Teach/train others by providing knowledge, insight and help to understand ideas and/or procedures
□ Facilitate groups by creating and implementing a structure to enable group to meet stated objectives

Critical Thinking Skills
□ Identify quickly and accurately the critical issues when making a decision or solving a problem
□ Identify a general principle that explains interrelated experiences or factual data
□ Define the parameters of a problem
□ Identify reasonable criteria for assessing the value or appropriateness of an action or behavior
□ Adapt one’s concepts and behavior to changing conventions and norms
□ Apply appropriate criteria to strategies and action plans
□ Take given premises and reason to their conclusion
□ Create innovative solutions for complex problems
□ Analyze the interrelationships of events and ideas from several perspectives

Research and Investigation Skills
□ Use a variety of sources of information
□ Apply a variety of methods to test the validity of data
□ Identify problems and needs
□ Design an experiment, plan or model that systematically defines a problem
□ Identify information sources appropriate to special needs or problems
□ Formulate questions relevant to clarifying a particular problem, topic or issue

Valuing Skills
□ Assess a course of action in terms of its long-range effects on the general human welfare
□ Make decisions that will maximize both individual and collective good
□ Appreciate the contributions of art, literature, science and technology to contemporary society
□ Identify one’s own values
□ Assess one’s values in relation to important life decisions

Information Management Skills
□ Sort data and objects
□ Compile and rank information
□ Apply information creatively to specific problems or tasks
□ Synthesize facts, concepts and principles
□ Understand and use organizing principles
□ Evaluate information based on appropriate standards

Design and Planning Skills
□ Assess needs
□ Set realistic goals
□ Identify alternative courses of action
□ Predict future trends and patterns
□ Create, imagine and develop new concepts; approach existing elements in new ways and merge abstract ideas to form original solutions to problems
□ Follow through with a plan or decision
□ Attend to details w/o losing track of big picture while working with wide variety and/or great volume of information
□ Accommodate multiple demands for commitment of time, energy and resources
□ Make and keep a schedule to manage time effectively
□ Set priorities

Human Relations and Interpersonal Skills
□ Keep a group “on track” and moving toward the achievement of a goal
□ Maintain group cooperation and support
□ Interact effectively with peers, superiors and subordinates
□ Express one’s feelings appropriately
□ Understand the feelings of others
□ Make commitments to people
□ Analyze behavior of self and others in group situations
□ Demonstrate effective social behavior in a variety of settings and under different circumstances

Management and Administration Skills
□ Analyze tasks
□ Develop programs/ideas through rigorous preparation and task arrangement
□ Identify people who can contribute to the solution of a problem or task
□ Identify resource materials useful in the solution of a problem
□ Organize people and tasks to achieve specific goals
□ Delegate responsibility for completion of a task
□ Motivate and lead people
□ Supervise others by giving direction, purpose, inspiration and necessary authority to carry out tasks
□ Budget funds to be used for intended purposes without exceeding available resources

Self-Management and Career Development Skills
□ Develop personal growth goals that are motivating
□ Accept the consequences of one’s actions
□ Be willing to take risks
□ Adapt to changing environments
□ Take initiative to be proactive and reach goals with minimum external supervision
□ Accept and learn from negative criticism
□ Persist with a project when faced with failure unless it’s clear that the project cannot be carried out or is not worth the time or effort required to complete it
□ Generate trust and confidence in others
□ Identify, describe and assess one’s needs, values, interests, strengths, weaknesses and skills acquired through formal education and general life experiences and their relative importance
□ Match knowledge about one’s own characteristics/abilities to information about career opportunities
□ Relate the skills developed in one environment to the requirements of another environment
□ Market oneself to employers through resumes, networking and interviews


Tulane University Career Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5107