by: Kelsee Hankins
One of the hot buzzwords you’ll hear if you’re in the throes of rewriting your resume and job hunting is “transferable skills.” You may also hear them referred to as soft or generic skills. In simple terms, these are the traits and talents that you take with you from job to job. These skills usually aren’t related to any specific job, but they are the skills you apply in the workplace every single day. Even if you’re moving from retail to manufacturing, or marketing to finance, certain items from your tool belt of career experience will be useful no matter what you are pursuing.
Employers are looking for more than a degree and major accolades. Companies want candidates that are a right match for their company and identifying your transferable skills is one way employers gauge your compatibility. Knowing what transferable skills you bring to the hiring table are crucial while you’re job hunting. Here are some tips to help you identify the transferable skills you can bring to a new workplace.
Start with the New Job Description
You’ve probably been looking at a ton of job descriptions for your new chosen field. What similarities are you noticing? Are there similar skills or qualifications? Take note of those when crafting your resumes and cover letters.
Pinpoint What Skills You Bring
There are no hard & fast rules here. You can be creative in how you connect past work experiences to a potential employers needs.
- Dig deep into the jobs of your past and think about all the details. What were your day to day duties? What projects did you complete? What skills (like technology, applications, certifications, etc.) did you improve while on the job? Getting down to the details can help you identify your own transferable skills.
- Check for overlap between your past work experience and what the job is requesting, there you will find your transferable skills.
- EXAMPLE: Karen is a server captain in a restaurant. She’s been responsible for training new servers, multi-tasking, cash handling, and creating excellent customer experiences. Now, she’s looking to advance to a higher level sales position. What skills from her days as a server will she also put to use in a sales position? Leadership, composure under pressure, training, customer service, and teamwork, to name a few. If she highlights those skills, a potential employer may be able to see Karen performing well in a sales position.
- If you don’t have the work experience to start with, consider any volunteer work, hobbies, or school experience where you’ve been developing skills.
Once You’ve Got It, Flaunt It
After you’ve identified what your transferable skills are, it’s time to prove it to your prospective employers. These transferable skills should always be highlighted with a result. Did you increase sales? Improve customer retention? Recruit more employees? List your transferable skills with facts and figures to backup your successes. Once you’ve got the interview, you should have more time to talk about these skills in-depth.
Regardless if you’re looking to switch jobs or entirely change careers, taking the time to do a little research for what your potential employers are looking for can help you identify the transferable skills that you bring to the workplace. Highlighting these skills will help you sell yourself to potential employers during the hiring process.
Kelsee is a millennial lifestyle blogger based in the Midwest USA. She's all about forging her own path and breaking all the rules to get there. When she isn't writing about her travels, personal finance, or other passions on the internet, she's a professional actor/singer and teaching artist.