How do you identify your transferable skills when switching careers? What are the most important transferable skills when looking for a new job? Where do you communicate your transferable skills to prospective employers?
As a career coach and job search expert, these are a few of the most common questions I get from job seekers looking to secure a job after college graduation, land a role with a big tech company, or make a career transition. Below are four proven steps to identify and effectively share your transferable skills in today’s saturated job search.
4 Tips To Identify And Communicate Your Transferable Skills
1. Dissect the job description for transferable skills.
Begin by determining what transferable skills you wish to extract from your career story. I advise creating a simple three column document to help you identify and articulate your transferable skills. Label the first column “Job Description Language,” the second column “Current and Past Responsibilities,” and the third column “Accomplishments.”
With your transferable skills document in hand, begin transposing the language from a target job posting into the first column. Focus on language in the sections labeled “Job Responsibilities” and “Role Requirements” (note that these sections may be labeled something slightly different depending on the company’s job posting format).
2. Identify your transferable skills.
With a clear picture of the job responsibilities, you want to begin outlining your experience with these responsibilities and requirements in the second column. Document relevant experience from your career, keeping in mind that these experiences do not have to only be paid experiences. You can include internships, volunteer work, board positions, and experiences from school or any other additional education.
Next, you want to take your transferable skills to the next level with results and examples. Fill in the third column with your most impressive career achievements. Think of this accomplishments section like adding ‘citations’ throughout a research paper; if you claim you offer experience in public health, you want to back it up with a ‘citation’ — an example or result.
3. Collect social proof to solidify your transferable skills.
Now, while you can say you are fabulous, it means a lot more if a former supervisor claims, “An employer is lucky to have Kyle on staff.” Consider collecting testimonials to bolster your credibility and further highlight your unique value proposition.
I am a proponent of requesting testimonials directly via LinkedIn. This not only allows you to repurpose the testimonials more easily than a formal letter of recommendation, but readers can also view the recommender’s profile to learn more about their standing to be providing you a recommendation in the first place. Additionally, writing a LinkedIn testimonial only takes a few minutes at most, making it an easier task for busy managers, internship preceptors, colleagues, and professors to complete.
4. Share your transferable skills with employers.
Finally, with your transferable skills clearly identified, it is time to share them with prospective employers. You can pull language from the second and third columns into your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. Moreover, when recruiters and hiring managers ask you for examples of a certain skill, you will be readily equipped with concrete examples and stories.
Know that learning to effectively communicate your transferable skills take time. Try repeating the above steps several times to familiarize yourself with the art of career storytelling. You’ve got this!