Transferable skills are non-specific abilities built up through experience that come into play when you’re looking to switch careers. For instance, leadership ability can easily translate from a customer service setting to an industrial setting.
Suppose you’re trying to find work in another career path or industry. In that case, you could already have some transferable capabilities, which you can reframe for potential employers in a resume, cover letter, and interview. In order to be the ideal fit for the positions you’re seeking, a major part is how you present valuable capabilities to a hiring manager.
Identifying Transferable Skills
The first step to translating your professional past into skills for a new career path is pinpointing your transferable skills. Consider the following six skill categories and how your various skills fit into them.
- Professional – Some skills fall under the umbrella of basic professionalism. If you’ve held on to a full-time job for at least a year, you are probably able to take direction and solve common problems.
- People – People skills are vital to success in any position. Even people who work remotely and do most of their interactions over email must still be able to interact effectively with others.
- Leadership – You don’t need to have a formal leadership position on your resume to claim leadership ability. If you’ve ever led a project or trained a new hire, you have shown leadership.
- Clerical – Most modern jobs require some level of clerical ability, from data entry to answering emails.
- Research – Research ability can include many more specific abilities, such as being able to find an online instruction manual or looking up ideas for staging a company event.
- Technical – Just like with clerical abilities, technical abilities are important in many different jobs. You can even gain technical skills in your personal life. If you have a working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop or video editing software, you have the technical ability.
Package Your Skills for Potential Employers
Once you’ve figured out which of your skills you can take with you to your new career path, you need to frame them in a way that makes you seem capable of successfully making the switch. If you can effectively frame your transferable skills in your resume and cover letter, you’ll make yourself a standout candidate.
To effectively package your skills, start by finding a posting for a job that you really want. Look at each of the individual skills requirements to determine which of your transferable abilities are a match. Then, list the capabilities that would enable you to succeed in this ideal position. It’s okay to be creative when doing this exercise, but don’t indulge in dishonesty.
Laying out your transferable capabilities in a compelling way also shows employers you’re versatile and passionate – two characteristics that can make you an attractive applicant.