Career transitions and transferable skills
Many people feel that if they had to start over, they would choose a different career. If you are at the crossroads of a career, a.k.a., life change – it is likely that you feel wary and humbled by starting all over again. However, a career change, while daunting, can be a marvelous opportunity. Besides focusing on what you want to do and networking to your fullest potential, the career change process can be made simpler by understanding how to maximize and market your transferable skills.
Transferable skills are the skills you have acquired over years of experience, starting from high school, and can be applied to your new job. Everyone has transferable skills such as communication, leadership, customer service, project management you just need to rethink your experiences in an analytical fashion. Your transferable skills should be clearly mapped out and predominant in your thoughts so that you can successfully talk about them to write resumes, interview, and to network. Read the following steps to understand how to identify and use your transferable skills to apply for new positions:
- Make a list of ALL your experiences, from volunteering to professional. Start from high school and write out all your tasks/projects that you completed during those experiences.
- Use an umbrella list of basic transferable skills such as, research, planning, organization, communication, leadership, planning, customer service, meeting goals and project management and think about if you displayed these skills for every task/project in every job you have had.
- To further understand what your strengths are, think about the challenges you faced in these roles, and how you overcame them.
- Think specifically of when you displayed leadership and project management skills, enhanced performance of other team members, etc. For example, if you were a waiter in high school, you were probably confronted with difficult customers and therefore, managed customer needs and are efficient at multitasking.
- You will soon realize that you have a pool of skills that are applicable in many jobs.
- Use strong action words to portray these skills when writing your resume and interviewing for your new career.
- Back your transferable skills with interesting stories or examples. Always portray yourself in a positive light.
- When applying to jobs, describe how you fit the position by showing how you have the skills that employers are seeking. Doing company research is also helpful in identifying which skills might be needed in that company’s environment.
Be confident and use this time in your life positively, show the employer that you are upbeat and conscientious and that you will deliver results as a direct consequence of your hard work and dedication.