Survey: 57% of Today’s Newly Unemployed Can’t List Skills that Will Get Next Job


A majority of job seekers can’t capture transferable skills on their resumes or identify how those skills apply to other industries, according to a LiveCareer national survey of 1,519 people left unemployed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Furthermore, these job seekers are not comfortable speaking with potential employers about those key skill sets. Collectively, these findings reveal a significant gap in knowledge about transferable skills as well as confidence in how to use them among the more than 36.4 million U.S. workers who filed for unemployment between March 21st through May 9th.

This inability to understand and articulate their transferable skills threatens to make the stay on the unemployment rolls much longer for millions of job seekers who sorely need work.

  • 57% (20.8 million) can’t identify their transferable skills with a high degree of confidence.
  • 58% (21.1 million) aren’t sure how to include transferable skills on their resume.
  • 53% (19.3 million) can’t identify the best resume format to use to get their next job.
  • 34% (12.4 million) can’t provide good examples of how their skills would apply to another job.
  • 58% (21.1 million) aren’t confident they can find new jobs where their skills would apply.
  • 56% (20.4 million) are looking for a job in a similar industry even though that industry may be significantly cutting back employment.

“Understanding how to apply existing skills to a new job, perhaps in a different industry, could get job seekers the jobs they need to support their families in this unprecedented unemployment situation,” said Doug Jackson, Co-Chief Executive Officer of BOLD.

Seeing this need, LiveCareer created a special resource to help job seekers showcase their unique skills and abilities to employers to quickly land employment. This collection of articles, tips and guides provides workers with positive and actionable advice on attaining and maintaining employment during and after the coronavirus crisis, which continues to reshape the employment landscape.

LiveCareer’s Skills Match Series is the centerpiece of the Your Guide to Navigating Employment and the Coronavirus Pandemic resource site. Through this series, the more than 36.4 million workers who filed jobless claims can learn how to use the skills they have developed to find employment in industries that are currently hiring.

LiveCareer’s approach is simple:

  • Be the job seekers’ ally.
  • Job seekers have valuable skills sought by employers who are currently hiring.
  • Within this challenging climate lies an opportunity for the job seeker to reinvent themselves.
  • There are jobs out there — we are here to help job seekers find them and get hired.

“Once we saw how rapidly the unemployment numbers were growing, we quickly adapted to create customer-focused resources to help job seekers impacted by layoffs or furloughs redirect their skills to industries that were growing,” Jackson said. “Our resource center provides them with assistance to attain professional and financial security, and aligns with BOLD’s goal to transform work lives.”

See the survey results in our Transferable Skills Infographic.

About the survey
Data collection occurred over a period of five days, May 6–May 11, 2020. During the online survey administration, a total population of 36,492,000 U.S. workers had already filed jobless claims between March 21 and May 9 due to the economic collapse caused by COVID-19. The sample collected (n = 1,519) is representative of the U.S. labor force according to known distributions of gender, geographical region and age group, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. At a 95% confidence level, the margin of error is +/- 2.5%.

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