What Is A Transferable Skill? Do I Have Any?
The short answer? You do!
If you’ve been in the job search for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard the phrase “transferable skills” (and may have heard it so many times you want to throw it out the window). So what are those “transferable skills”? It’s simple. They are the things you’ve learned as a result of an experience or job. Don’t think you gained any skills in your previous jobs? Wrong! There is no experience where you couldn’t have learned something worth talking about. If you’re not sure what sort of transferable skills you gained as a server/nanny/landscaper or how to highlight those skills, read on.
Every job is an opportunity
Take some time to think about your daily tasks, the challenges you faced, and problems you solved just by doing your job. Each of those categories can suggest transferable skills. If you were a tour guide you likely developed your communication skills. As a front desk worker, you may have above average organizational skills. Have you completed a lot of group projects? You may want to speak to your collaborative nature.
Once you’ve done that, go a bit deeper. For example, as a nanny you likely developed time management skills while juggling the schedules of the kids you watched, their classes, playdates, and appointments, as well as their parents’ schedules and any household chores you were responsible for. So how do you talk about that on a resume? Craft your bullet point with an action verb and a description of how you used that skill. You could end up with something like:
- Developed creative time management strategies to coordinate the activity and appointment schedules of 2 adults and 2 children.
If you worked as a landscaper, you may have needed to develop a flexible mindset to get your jobs done. With work being dependent on weather conditions, you likely had your schedule adjusted with very little notice and needed to make it work to honor agreements with clients. Whether that meant being open to different types of work or working different days, being able to roll with change and keep going is a valuable skill which you should highlight! How do you do it? Here’s an example:
- Anticipated weather conditions for job scheduling purposes and evaluated job tasks on a daily basis to ensure that whatever the situation, agreements with clients were met.
When you enter the job search, you’ll want to be sure that the transferable skills you’re highlighting match the job you’re applying for. With a quick re-read of the job description, you’ll be able to pick out skills or traits that the employer values. Pick the transferable skills that you see in the job description and adjust the bullet points for your experiences on your resume to incorporate them.
This does mean you’ll need to tailor your resume to each role you’re applying to, which can be time consuming. That extra effort does pay off though. The average hiring manager only looks at a potential candidate’s resume for 6 seconds before deciding if they want to move forward. After your contact information, education, and current/ previous title is reviewed (80 percent of the six seconds), the rest of your resume gets the 20 percent of the six seconds.
Since you only about about 2 seconds to impress them, if you haven’t pulled keywords from the job description, the hiring manager may not notice that you have the skills they are looking for.
Bottom line, a little more time on the front end of your application process will pay off when you get a phone interview after you applied with your resume that was tailored with keywords from the job description, and packed with your transferable skills.
Still not sure how to show off your skills on your resume? Our recruiters can help you learn to talk about them. Submit your resume here to get started!