Transferable Physics Skills

  • Helena Kudiabor
  • Apr 12 2023

Even if you don’t have any physics-related experience, or you didn’t study physics at a higher level, you can still secure a successful physics career. The other experiences you have will provide you with a number of transferable skills.


What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills are skills or abilities that can be applied to a range of different roles or occupations. Having transferable skills allows you to gain a career or opportunity in the sector you’re interested in, even if you don’t have relevant work experience. The most common transferable skills are: problem solving, leadership, communication and critical thinking.

What transferable skills are valued in physics?

A number of transferable skills are highly valued in a range of physics careers. Examples include:

  • Written and verbal communication (the ability to convey written and spoken information)
  • Organisational skills (the ability to manage your time effectively and keep on top of things)
  • Research skills (sourcing information from a variety of sources and compiling it)
  • Problem solving (finding solutions to problems, particularly those which require you to think outside the box)
  • Team working (collaborating with different people and dealing with conflicts)

Note that you don’t need to have all of these skills to have a successful physics career.

What transferable skills do I have?

If you’re struggling to think of transferable skills, look back on your education and any work experience you have. Think about the skills you need to succeed in these times. For example, if you completed a BTEC course or Cambridge Technical with good results, this is an example of organisation skills at work. You successfully prioritised different tasks and managed to keep on top of your work. In case you’re still stuck, it’s worth asking teachers or trusted relatives about skills they think you’ve gained.

How do I talk about my transferable skills to employers?

Once you have an idea of the skills you have, it’s worth thinking of examples in which you put them to use. For example, if you developed problem solving skills from your retail job, talk about a time when you had to use these skills, such as a time when you successfully resolved a customer’s complaint. This shows to employers that you have valuable experience, and would be an asset to the company.

How can I develop transferable skills?

While you don’t need all the skills mentioned above to have a successful physics career, developing them is still beneficial. You can develop your existing skills (or nurture new ones) by taking on new experiences. For example, if you’d like to develop your communication skills, you could launch a social media campaign for a cause you’re passionate about.