Transferable Skills To Highlight When You Change Career
If you are looking to make a career change, then you will find that there is a gap between where you are and where you want to be. Most probably, you will ended up wondering how to prove to an employer that you are a good fit for a role you are under qualified for.
Fortunately, there is a way to shrink that gap by drawing recruiters’ attention to your transferable skills. These are the strengths and abilities built in previous jobs that can also be applied to other positions; skills like time management, problem-solving and research.
To make these softer competencies work for you, it’s important that you have a resume and a cover letter that clearly calls them out. In other words, you need to do the work of making the connections between your background and the job that you are applying.
Here’s how to put together a job application that’ll support a successful career jump.
Identify your relevant transferable skills
First of all, you need to consider which of your transferable skills are most worth highlighting for the job you are applying for. Start by examining the job description and picking out required competencies listed there that you feel confident you possess. You can also think about strengths you’ve gained from side gigs and hobbies too, these can be useful and are equally valuable.
Consider how best to demonstrate your skills
It’s all well and good to be an analytical thinker or team player, but you need to convince employers of this claim. This can be done by quantifying your transferable skills and illustrating how you’ve applied them previously. You can start thinking about past accomplishments and objectives you met in previous roles and express these in numbers as proof that you can do what you say you can. The idea here is to impress the employers enough to shit attention away from your inadequate employment record.
Change up your resume format
You need to give your transferable skills a leading role in your resume and the one that feels right for you. One way to make sure your relevant strengths are noticed is to create a combination resume which first lists your key skills backed by accomplishments and only then details your work history in reverse chronological order. Another way to get your skills noticed is by having a non chronological functional resume, which sorts competencies into categories, with examples, achievements and experience listed as bullet point below each header. It’s a good way to keep the focus off your career path but you need to be aware that the absence of specific details might frustrate recruiters/employers.
Shift the focus of your cover letter
Good news is, if you are battling to communicate how well your skills translate in your resume, you have another chance to do so in your cover letter. It may feel necessary to acknowledge your lack of industry experience in your cover letter but rather than focusing on the negatives, use this precious space to highlight the value you can bring. Show how confident you are about your ability to do the job by getting straight to those invaluable transferable skills of yours.
Use a format that gives prominence to your transferable skills
Last but not least, most candidate will opt for a more traditional letter format that outlines their work history when thinking to change career. It makes more sense to structure the letter around your relevant skills and abilities. Pick three or four key skills and organize the body of your cover letter around them. You could even dedicate a paragraph to each and showcase them by bolded subheading.