With many students graduating this May, career experts looking to change industries, and the virus putting some companies into lockdown transferable skills are going to be a hot topic.
Transferable skills are abilities or proficiencies that you can utilize in a variety of different careers. They are skills that you pick up during previous jobs, courses, school, volunteer work, and even though caring for your children, a family member or friends.
We ALL have transferable skills. We just don’t always know how to utilize them.
What Are Some Examples of Transferable Skills?
Our transferable skills are a result of our life experiences. When deciding what transferable skills we should use in our resume or interview we need to first understand what sets us apart from our competition.
Start by making a list of every single one of your skills. You could utilize the skills you learned from being a parent or leading a team project in college. Just be sure you are writing down everything you can think of.
This list should be a combination of both hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills are skills that relate to industry technology, data, and/or computer proficiency. A notable example of this is being adept at Microsoft Office Suite. Microsoft is a technology that many companies use on a daily basis.
Soft skills are your communication and people skills. These skills relate to how easy it is for you to communicate with a team or collaborate with clients.
Both hard skills and soft skills are used daily in a variety of industries and are both equally important. So, after you finish writing down your list of skills decide which ones you are most experienced with.
Here is a list of some transferable skills that are beneficial for most industries:
Knowing how to lead and train a team is something that can’t be easily taught. It takes practice and the right kind of character to truly lead a team successfully. Companies value people that can unite a team and work to reach common goals.
Top-notch communication skills are important for every industry. Knowing how to communicate effectively with executives, employees, colleagues, and customers is something nearly every company is looking for in a new addition to the team.
Excellent time management allows you to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time. Many industries today are becoming more and more fast-paced. Hiring managers want to hire someone they know can keep up and get their work done in a timely manner.
This ties in closely with communication. Knowing how to connect with customers, resolve issues, and leave them feeling satisfied is a skill that almost every industry finds very valuable.
Knowing how to keep things organized leads to more productivity and efficiency. It makes managing your workload, documents, and schedules easy. Employers LOVE seeing this skill.
Great negotiation skills help you build more robust business partnerships and leads to success within a company. Negotiation is something you can expect to do whether it is trying to make a sale, complete a project, or find common ground with your colleagues.
Hiring managers LOVE to see people that already have proficiency with certain applications or software. It means less training for them and that the employee will be ready to jump right into action.
- Microsoft Office Suite
- Adobe Creative Cloud
- Google Analytics
- Programming languages
Proficiency in another language
This is a unique skill that not many people have. This sets you apart from the competition because knowing more than one language is a very useful ability to have and opens doorways to communicating with different individuals.
If you were previously a sales manager and are looking to transition into the hospitality industry you would want to utilize your communication, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills. That is why determining what skills are vital to the job you want is important. If you know what skills the hiring manager is looking for you can then determine if you have them.
Adding Transferable Skills to Your Resume.
Now that you have determined what your most important transferable skills are it’s time to add them to your resume.
The areas I recommend utilizing your transferable skills on the resume are:
- Your Professional Summary.
- Your Skills Section.
- The Job Descriptions.
Your summary is the first thing a hiring manager sees when looking at your resume. It is VERY important that you use the summary to sell yourself to the hiring manager right away.
You are explaining to the hiring manager why you are the best candidate for the job and what you can bring to their company.
If you are applying for a position as a graphic designer straight out of college than you want to utilize the skills you learned while getting your degree. Here is an example:
“Innovative Graphic Designer demonstrates excellent abilities in Adobe Creative Cloud, website design, social media marketing, and customizing unique, well-developed designs within a strict deadline.”
Learning to customize designs, work with technologies like Adobe, and complete tasks within a deadline are all skills you would have learned throughout your coursework and they can be used in the resume.
The same goes for your skills section and job descriptions.
If you are currently trying to make the change from the customer service industry to marketing than make sure your job descriptions highlight your transferable skills. Here is an example:
“Aided in the customization and promotion of signs used to entice more customers.”
Marketing jobs promote creativity. So, utilizing times where you were able to show your creativity in a previous position is an excellent way to use your transitional skills in this scenario.
Sneaking Transferable Skills into the Interview.
During an interview, the recruiter is going to ask your many behavioral, skill-based, and experience related questions.
If you don’t have direct experience with one of the questions they ask you then you can spin it and try using a transferable skill you have. Let’s look at another example.
If a hiring manager were to ask, “Tell me about a time you led a team” and you’ve never had any direct management experience, then a good way to answer is to think of a time you had to take on great responsibility.
You could answer with a time you were the leader of a project at school or work. Even though you weren’t a manager you still had to create standards for the project, lead your classmates/colleagues, and make sure the project was complete.
It’s impressive to see potential employees think outside the box during an interview and it will leave the hiring manager interested in getting to know more about you.
Be sure that throughout your entire job search you are using your transferable skills on your resume, your cover letter, and even during all of your interviews. It gives the hiring manager a better idea of who you are and why hiring you would be a great addition to their team.