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What types of skills are there?

If you think about the things you and your friends are good at, it shouldn’t be hard to notice the range of skills people have. After all, everyone is unique!

At work, there are three main skills groups. These are:

  • employability skills
  • transferable skills
  • specialist skills.

Each of these is then made up of a range of more specific skills. To help you understand which skills you might have, let’s break these down.

The video below is also worth watching to get you started.

Useful links:

Lose and Sifila – Aspiring dancers

Employability skills

Employability skills are the most important for the workplace. These include things like having a positive attitude, teamwork and resilience, and have been identified by employers as the key skills they are looking out for

Useful links:

Porsha – School leader and aspiring teacher

Transferable skills

A transferable skill can be used in more than one situation or job. They aren’t specific, and are generally used in life outside of work, as well as in the workplace. Often they will also cross over with employability skills.

Examples of transferable skills include:

  • the ability to organise and run a team
  • strong communication skills
  • an eye for detail.

Erita — kapa haka leader

Specialist skills

Specialist skills aren’t as common as employability or transferable skills but are often very important for different job. These are specific to a certain job or group of jobs.

Examples include:

  • speaking another language
  • being able to use technical equipment.

Abraham – Aspiring pilot

Skills learned outside of work

Even if you haven't has a job before, you may already have developed some of the skills employers are looking for. These also often fall into the transferable or employability skills categories, and include things like:

  • learning how to manage people from helping run a local sports team
  • improving your organisational skills by helping with the hospitality on the local marae.

Don’t forget about these when you’re writing your CV or at your job interview. They’ll help you sell yourself better!

Oceania – Boxer and aspiring author

What jobs can I get with my skills?

Now you’ve had a chance to think about what your skills and strengths are, you might be interested in knowing what that means for your work. The ‘Choose a career’ section of this site provides more information, though make sure you also check out's Skill Matcher tool below.

Useful links:

Key websites

  • has information on everything from how to apply for scholarships to writing CVs, helping you decide what career is right for you.