The classic examples I show my students about how a college student can portray transferable skills come from Donald Asher’s book, From College to Career, one of the best resumes books available for college students.
Look at how Asher takes a typical lowly job held by a college student, that of receptionist, and portrays it as applicable to her desire to work in finance:
- Proved ability to deal with a wide range of individuals, including high-net-worth investors and institutional money manager, in a stressful and time-sensitive environment.
- Gained knowledge of financial markets and instruments, especially stocks, bonds, futures and options.
Now see how he makes a waitress seem like just the person you’d want to hire in an entry-level marketing job by portraying her skills as transferable:
- Act as a “sales representative” for the restaurant, selling add-ons and extras to achieve one of the highest per-ticket and per-night sales averages.
- Prioritize and juggle dozens of simultaneous responsibilities.
- Have built loyal clientele of regulars in addition to tourist trade.
- Use computer daily.
See the cover-letter version of this wording on Page 29.
Portraying Transferable Skills in a Cover Letter
To know what skills to emphasize, you will probably have to do some research on the company at which you seek employment and the particular job you’re applying for. If you’re responding to an ad, it’s easy to find clues right in the ad to the most important skills. You can also scarcely go wrong by emphasizing the skills that virtually all employers are looking for, such as teamwork, communications, interpersonal, and leadership skills. Follow this link to see a detailed list of transferable skills.