How Transferable Skills Can Help You Change Careers and 3 Ways To Identify Them

Career Advancement Career Advice COVID-19

If COVID-19 has negatively impacted your job, now is the time to diversify your professional toolkit to showcase your transferable skills. You may also find yourself curious about changing your career trajectory, and depending on what your current industry, it’s possible that it means switching industries entirely. Although you might not have all the experience necessary to pivot professionally, leaning into transferable skills can more than often make up for this lack of experience. If you can successfully demonstrate the relevance of these transferable skills throughout your resume, cover letter, and online portfolio, that will make you competitive in the job landscape. 

Within almost every job listing, there are certain skills highlighted (i.e., communication, multitasking, collaboration, critical thinking, attention to detail, creativity, leadership, dependable, teamwork, organization), to name a few. These words are known as transferable skills because no matter what the job or profession is, they make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful workplace environment. Transferable skills are ones that apply in all professions and usually are the foundation of the workplace and organizational success. Transferable skills aren’t limited to the workplace; they can be skills you learned through volunteer work, hobbies, passion projects, or even being a parent. When considering what transferable skills you have, reflect on your life experiences in and out of the workplace.  

When conducting your job search, it’s important to identify companies that reflect your passion points and interests as well as updating your resume, cover letter, and online portfolio to demonstrate to hiring managers the diversity of value you can add to their organization while highlighting your transferable skills. Given that job descriptions and tasks might not always line up perfectly with your previous experience, learning how to identify and hone your transferable skills can make a substantial impact on your job search process. Here are several ways that you can identify your transferable skills.  

How to identify your transferable skills: 

Discover the skills that set you apart. 

Take inventory of your entire professional toolkit, soft and hard skills. To make sure that your career change is successful by leveraging transferable skills, identify what makes you unique. 

Understand how your skills translate. 

Understanding how your skills translate to a new industry is critical. Hiring managers and recruiters tend to gravitate toward candidates who have linear career paths and skills, which is an advantage and a disadvantage for anyone looking to change careers. If you’re able to help connect the dots for the recruiter or interviewer and show them why your skills are valuable, you’ve taken a step in the right direction.

Leverage your online portfolio, resume, and cover letter to land a new career opportunity.

The final step to leveraging your transferable skills is tailoring your online portfolio, resume, and cover letter to highlight your cross-functional skills. While your resume can showcase your career trajectory and skills, your cover letter and online portfolio highlights your narrative and tells the story of why your skills are essential to the company and role. 

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