What are transferable skills? Simply put, they are skills you have acquired during any activity in your life – jobs, classes, projects, parenting, hobbies, sports, virtually anything – that are transferable and applicable to what you want to do in your next job.
In resumes, cover letters, and during interviews, you should always portray your skills as applicable to the job you seek. If you have good experience and you’re seeking in a job in the same field you’ve pursued in the past, portraying your skills as transferable is relatively easy. But if you are changing careers and seeking to do something entirely different from what you’ve done in the past, or you are a college student or other entry-level jobseeker without much experience, you have a much more difficult task ahead of you.
- Know your skills. While this guideline sounds like a statement of the obvious, I am constantly amazed at the number of clients of my resume-writing service who cannot identify their own skills. Many cannot describe their skills without looking at a master list. Others identify skills that have little to do with the type of job they seek while overlooking skills that are crucial to their desired job. In my experience, it’s better for job-seekers to work through a process or assessment to identify their skills than it is to simply review a list of skills and pick out the ones you feel you possess. By asking yourself a number of probing questions, you can assess your skills more honestly and accurately than by choosing them from a list. Here are some ways to identify your skills: On her “Damn Good” Web site, the late Yana Parker listed exercises for all types of job-seekers to use to uncover their skills: