So you picked a degree in a career field you thought you’d love, but a few years into the daily grind, you’re no longer feeling it. What can you do when all your education and experience is in one field, but you know in your gut it’s time to move on? Don’t despair — you’re not the first person to find yourself in this pickle. Believe it or not, you can transfer plenty of skills from your field to your next dream job. And if you’re on the lookout for a drastic career change, quite a few unexpected jobs pay surprisingly well.Here are 26 of the top transferable skills all employers want and how you can mine them from your experience, no matter how distant your ideal job seems from your current career:
1. You know how to keep lines of communication open.
Whether your experience has been arguing criminal cases in front of a jury or fielding customer complaints at a call center, your communication skills will serve you well as a career changer.
Being able to clearly communicate your thoughts, ideas and suggestions is valued in every workplace. In addition, if you’re adept at reading people and tweaking your communication style to meet the needs of those you work with, you’ll become invaluable to whatever organization you want to join.
Think of what your colleagues, clients and supervisors would say about your communication skills, and translate that praise into your resume and interviewing plan of attack.
2. You can organize, manage, and lead teams efficiently.
Even if the only group you’ve had the chance to lead was your son’s little league team, your ability to lead a group, organize different players and manage unexpected situations — like rain or wardrobe malfunctions — will serve you well as you change careers.
Think back on your career for times when you were selected to lead a project, discussion or committee. Don’t rule out any time when you were able to take charge and facilitate a positive outcome.
Find ways to share examples from a universal perspective. Identify specific skills and outcomes rather than the tasks you performed. For example, you could say, “Led a team of 12 people to successfully meet and exceed goals for three quarters” rather than explaining the technical details of your work as an accountant, office manager or other specific position.
Your ability to broadly highlight your leadership and management abilities will put you at the top of the list in your new job search.
3. You naturally go the extra mile.
Being willing to do more than you’re asked — as well as the ability to anticipate the needs of your boss, customers or colleagues — are key factors to success in any industry. Identify examples of when you went above and beyond.
It could have been taking on an extra project, putting in extra hours or extending your patience to help train the new recruit. Highlight those examples, and be as specific as possible without pigeonholing yourself in the field you’re leaving.
If you received any service awards or other acknowledgment for your efforts, be sure to include those details in an “Awards and Recognitions” section on your resume.
4. Your passion drives your performance.
Chances are there’s something about the job you’re leaving that you feel passionately about — there’s a reason you chose it in the first place. Identify those core elements that drove you into this field and isolate their value to your new field.
If you chose journalism because you love telling stories, but you’re burned out on chasing ambulances and legislative upsets, maybe you can parlay that love into working at your local library, social media management or Web marketing. Find a company, hobby or interest you enjoy and translate your storytelling skills into telling that story instead of dissecting the traumas and tribulations of the world.
5. You’re a pro at wearing many hats.
All the clichés about juggling and hats come into play when you’re switching fields. If your job gave you the chance to fulfill more than one role at your company — such as managing both the marketing and the HR departments — highlight that experience when applying for jobs.
These skills are crucial, especially if you’re drawn to working for a non-profit or becoming a teacher, two of the hottest fields for career jumpers. In smaller companies and classrooms, you need to be able to manage more than one task at a time without losing sight of your ultimate goal — or losing control of your charges.
6. You can be counted on.
Believe it or not, your perfect attendance record and wasted vacation days can be a top selling point, no matter how big a jump your move from accountant to massage therapist seems. Just like clients need their taxes filed on time, clients also want a massage therapist to begin and end their $100 massage on time.
7. Information on a resume should be listed in order of importance to the reader – your strengths, accomplishments should come first. Title/Position is most important so always list that first, then Company, Location, Dates.
8. Create a personal branding statement that describes who you are, your greatest strength, and what benefit you bring to your future employer.
9. Identify what makes you uniquely qualified for a position – a qualifications summary can catch a recruiter’s eye and get them to read more carefully
10. Keep it short and pithy to catch a recruiter’s eye.
11. Use strong concrete verbs to describe what you did.
12. Use a bulleted, easy to read format rather than a paragraph style. It will make your strengths stand out.
13. Write your resume for the job you want – highlight past skills and experience that fit what you want to do.
14. Keep it to 2 pages, maximum.
15. Make your resume accomplishments driven, not responsibilities driven. Quantify wherever possible.
16. Focus on the last 10-15 years of experience; you don’t need to list early jobs unless they show skills and achievements that apply to the job you want – then only include those key facts.
17. Put jobs in reverse chronological order – most recent first.
18. Don’t put anything on your resume that you did not personally do.
19. Use a clear font – like Arial/Times New Roman/Georgia at an 11 point size. Avoid fluff, extra words, run on descriptions, and redundancy. Keep it clean and easy to read.
20. Include you education – school, program, any relevant classes that directly relate to the position you are applying for.
21. Be sure that any jargon you use in your resume is common knowledge. For students – if you are part of campus organizations you may need to explain more than just the name. For tech workers – make sure you use all acronyms consistently – don’t use UNIX and later Unix.
22. Do not use italics, script, shading, colors; do use bold and indents sparingly.
23. Do not use internal product names, use descriptions but make them brief.
24. Spell check your resume by printing it and reading it aloud. Have a friend proofread it to catch any mistakes you may have overlooked.
25. Edit and format carefully. You can even hire someone to do it for you, it’s worth the expense.
26. Name drop – if you worked with major customers include their names and how you supported those customers.
Achieved Analyzed Assembled Awarded Certified Composed Controlled Coordinated Created Delivered Designed Developed Devised Directed Educated Established Exceeded Founded Fully Credentialed Implemented Improved Increased Leadership Managed Minimized Monitored Negotiated Operated Organized Originated Oversaw Owned Prepared Problem Solving Programmed Published Reduced Reorganized Researched Reviewed Saved Simplified Supervised Tested Trained
Oral / Written Communications
Core Resume Components
• Contact Information – name, address, phone number and email address. Include certification logos in the upper left or right corners.
• Skills Summary/Branding Statement/Objective – The skills summary is recommended for experienced professionals. Branding statement is recommended for mid to senior level professionals with specific strengths companies are looking for. The objective statement is better suited for recent graduates.
• Work Experience – Show progression and promotions. List titles, company name, location and dates
• Education and Training – List highest degree first. Include continuing education.
• Skills – Incorporate throughout resume. Resume should reflect the skills listed in the summary.
• Activities – List only those activities that are relevant to the target job and non-controversial.
• Organizations – relate affiliations in terms of marketable skills, knowledge and achievements.
• Honors/Awards – Add only if relative to work, otherwise do not include. Technical certifications can be included here.
Final words from author:
If you can be relied upon and don’t leave people waiting, you’re already on the road to success no matter what your career change is. But if you include “dependability” in the list of skills on your resume, make sure you have specific examples to back it up when you’re asked about it in an interview
Article contributed by Shazida Khatun