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How To Identify Your Transferable Skills

1 Apr 2013 8:30 AM -

The average person will change careers or positions anywhere from 3 to 6 times in their lifetime, and having to start your resume over again completely can be a nerve wracking experience.

It’s crucial to show that some of the skills that you have learned in your last career or position are transferable to your new one. After all, any experience that you have had in previous positions will get you that much closer to a new job. But how do you identify your transferable skills?

The team at Resume Rescue can answer this question.

The answer to that question is by using a lot of common sense, and by using these tips to sharpen your resume writing skills.

  • The key to good resume writing is to ask yourself, “What skills will my future employer need of me?” For example, if you are switching from a career in customer service to a career in journalism, it would make sense to mention that you are an excellent communicator. You may also want to transfer any Microsoft Office skills that you may have picked up over the years, since you will likely have to type up a lot of reports.
     
  • It is worth noting that some skills are almost universally transferable, especially if you are switching to a career that has a similar environment to the one that you recently left. Almost all office jobs will need people who know how to use one of the two major operating systems (Apple or Windows), and almost all office jobs will also need to have people who are internet savvy and are able to type at an efficient speed.
     
  • People who are not completely sure of what would be needed in their possible future job should ask one of the people in a prospective company’s human resource department. Not only does this make you appear more interested in the job itself, but it may help you identify transferable skills that you didn’t even realise you had.
     
  • Many people forget that there are entry level jobs out there which allow you to switch careers, and also provide you all the training that you would need to succeed. If you are looking for a career switch to a field where these kinds of jobs are common, your resume writing should be focused on proving that you are determined to succeed. Any skills that require a certain amount of enthusiasm can also usually be transferred with ease.
     
  • Sometimes, it’s easy to take certain skills for granted, even when you think you are sharp at resume writing. If you are a fluent English speaker, or a fluent Spanish speaker, that already gives you two skills which are in high demand throughout workplaces in almost every field. Don’t forget to add languages to your resume!
     
  • Transferring to a career that is the polar opposite of the one that you have now might be a bit more difficult. In these cases, collect copies of your previous position descriptions or duty lists and compare them with position descriptions and duty lists from positions in the new career area you are looking at to see what is common between them. Items of commonality between the positions are transferable skills that you can then address when writing your resume and selection criteria.
     

No matter what the career change may be, chances are that you do have skills from your past career that can come in handy in your new career. Think about all the skills you have learned in your time, and you’ll probably realise that you have a lot more skills than you’ve put on your resume. Even the most basic of skills come in handy at highly skilled jobs. So, pick up a pen and some paper and start researching your new career or position, identify your transferable skills, and start writing your resume.

For more resume writing information on how to quickly identify your transferrable skills click here.