How to Add Transferable Skills to Your Resume
It is essential to emphasize your transferable skills in your resume, especially if you’re planning a career or role change.
By: Shyene Joubert | Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma
Job seeker, do you ever stop to think about the variety of skills you’ve picked up throughout your career?
Maybe you took a straight and narrow path toward your dream field – or maybe you traveled a zigzagging path. Either way, your professional experience provided many opportunities to learn valuable lessons, as you adapted and picked up new abilities.
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These lessons are called “transferable skills” – and they can be your ticket to getting hired, especially if you’re changing careers.
Today, we dive deeper into what transferable skills are, why they are important to showcase, and how to incorporate them into your job application documents.
What are Transferable Skills?
Many jobs require employees to possess an array of expertise. Transferable skills are abilities that you can use in multiple fields. These include both hard skills (technical, easy-to-quantify ones like on-page SEO, Advanced Excel, and coding) and soft skills (think of communication and organization).
Everyone has transferable skills, and they show up everywhere.
Some even date back to our high school days, when we had to balance simultaneous deadlines along with extracurricular activities. You learned how to multitask without realizing it, and you use that ability every day now to align with stakeholders on a project’s timeline, organize reports, and plan dinner with your significant other who’s sitting beside you in the shared home office.
Transferable skills are always part of the conversation when I meet with my resume writing clients – and it’s actually a confidence booster!
I review my clients’ documents, determine the key skills I believe are worth highlighting, and explain why we should highlight them in the client’s resume to get them hired.
There’s a hint of modesty in my clients’ voices when they say, “Yeah, I guess I am really good at that,” as they realize a certain skill can be applied to a different job. It can be difficult to see past the work you do every day. But with a little introspection, you may realize a certain ability is a strength when applying for a promotion or to a new position.
We believe you deserve to be recognized for all of your skills – and for being a well-rounded individual. To get hired, you need to believe that too, then show those skills off in your resume!
Examples of Transferable Skills
Below are a few examples of transferable skills I’ve plucked from my clients’ resumes, which could all apply to many different industries:
- Anticipating and preventing problems from happening (or reoccurring)
- Building strong relationships with customers
- Maintaining correspondence and reports
- Recruiting new employees
- Completing projects on time and on budget
- Troubleshooting hardware and software problems
As you can see, transferable skills range anywhere from management to research, interpersonal to clerical and technical. These illustrate your reliability, capacity to manage your time and priorities, capabililty to effectively interact with others, and ability to quickly learn the job.
Need more ideas? Check out our blog on the most common transferable skills!
Where to Integrate Transferable Skills Into Your Resume
Now that you know what transferable skills are, where is the best place to showcase them in your resume?
First, we’ll start with the Areas of Expertise or Skills section.
This section provides a brief insight into all of your capabilities relevant to the job you’re applying for. It can either be a comprehensive list of your core competencies or categorized into subsets, such as “Business Operations,” “Leadership,” “Industry Acumen,” or “Technical.” You can easily incorporate transferable skills like problem solving, time management, and mentoring into this area for the reader to scan. Just be careful not to get too abstract or go overboard with keyword stuffing here – don’t list skills that are expected for any professional like punctuality or dedication.
You can expand on your transferable skills in the bullet points in your Professional Experience section. Focus on detailing clear examples from your current and previous roles that demonstrate a transferable skill, such as, how you proactively identifyed a problem and created its solution or how you achieved tight deadlines with competing priorities. Be sure to mention results and key metrics where applicable.
Another section to present your transferable skills is in the Certifications section. Here, you highlight specific knowledge and testing required in technical fields, like cybersecurity and accounting.
You can also utilize it to depict the work you’ve put into transitioning careers. For instance, you might be new to the Learning & Development field, but you’ve taken several courses related to curriculum design, program implementation, and coaching. This would be the place to mention that!
Finally, you can include this information in your Volunteer Work section if you have one. While you should only use a Volunteer Work section if you have room on your resume (otherwise it can go on LinkedIn), new grads and executives alike might use this content to showcase their interpersonal skills and passions outside of the office. Don’t forget – volunteering is a valid experience where you gain a new skill.
Don’t Be Shy! Flex Your Strengths
Your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile are, after all, places where you’re allowed (and expected ) to toot your professional horn.
As a mini exercise, take out a pen and paper – or click open a new Word file – and jot down five transferable skills you possess. Write down one or two achievements from your past positions that show each of these abilities. I promise working this information into your current documents will make you more of a stand-out candidate.
Remember to always carefully read through job descriptions, analyzing what the company is looking for in this particular job. These postings tell you exactly how to tailor your resume, especially if you’re transitioning to another industry and want to know how to paint your work experience as beneficial to this new role.
No matter what job you’re applying to or coming from, you have transferable skills – highlight them in your resume and you’ll be on your way to getting hired!
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