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Career Corner: 5 Action Steps to Communicate Your Transferable Skills
We’ve all heard the age-old saying, “No time like the present.” Given the uncertain times, these words are feeling more relevant as days go by. Industries are changing daily, and organizations have to shift gears on a moment’s notice, causing many people to self-reflect on their work and personal situations. Whether you’re ready to take the plunge into a new career or industry, or still considering the switch, knowing which direction you want to head and how to communicate your transferable skills is pertinent. But no need to fret. We’ve got you covered.
You may be asking yourself, “Where do I begin?” Or, you may have already conducted countless hours learning about your desired new industry and/or role, and you’re ready to make the jump. No matter where you are in the journey, communicating your transferable skills and share your personal brand presence will set you apart from other candidates, even those currently within the field. Here are five action items to get you to your dream job and feel confident about your decision to change careers.
Action Item No. 1: Pre-work and Research
The hardest part about changing careers is deciding which direction you want to head. It’s important to take time to self-reflect and learn about the industry and the role you truly want. Think everything through thoroughly. Are you feeling stuck because your role has been affected by Covid-19? If this is a short term fix due to our current environment, that is understandable. However, these steps are for someone who has the clarity and conviction to make a change – and now needs that extra support to cross the bridge from one industry to another.
Here are some questions to ensure you are 100% committed to making this leap!
- What is most and least fulfilling about your current role? How does your new role interest fill the gaps in your current/previous role?
- Are there factors in your current industry that are affecting you to pivot now? Is this a long-term or short-term pivot?
- Does this new role/industry fulfill your passions?
- How long can you endure this roller coaster ride as you make the transition, both financially and mentally?
A bit of due diligence and pre-work on the front end will give you a competitive advantage as you communicate your motives and worth. Need help with some of the questions above? Here are some recommended resources:
Hire a Coach
Many organizations offer in-house career counseling services to assist with succession planning. Nicole Wagner’s role focuses on in-house career counseling to students entering and starting with Compass Group. If your organization does not, please reach out directly to Rebecca Ahmed as a follow up to this article, or research the plethora of certified coaches through the International Coaching Federation.
Platforms like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Recruiting Daily, and ERE are common sites to check out for advice on organizations, job expectations, culture, interview processes, and compensation. Hear from experts directly through their blogs and reach out to those experts for additional insights and opinions.
Looking for a book to tackle this head-on? Richard N. Bolles is a trailblazer when it comes to the job search front. His book, “What Color Is Your Parachute?” is a tried and true method for anyone looking for direction and pinpointing career paths based on interests. His Flower Exercise will send you on a self-discovery of knowing who you are so you can explore the best path for your next career move.
Action Item No. 2: Identify and Communicate Your Transferable Skills
Your professional success shines through in the stories you share about your past experiences and roles. Here are some questions to help create three elevator pitches that highlight your accomplishments and achievements.
- What is/was your last role?
- What problem existed in this role?
- Exactly what tools did you leverage to address this problem?
- What solution did you provide to address this problem?
- How did your solution benefit the organization?
Once you have thought through and answered the above questions, step two is taking these solution-oriented approaches and relating them to your new desired role. Check out our case studies below to see exactly how we did this step by step.
Action Item No. 3: Integrate your transferable skills
Now that you’ve identified your transferable skills, next on the agenda is articulating your career journey and past experiences into your branding. Your resume and LinkedIn profile are the first impressions you are making to potential employers. Think of them as digital advertisements showcasing your talents, accomplishments, and the overall badass you are! Below are a couple of ingredients to help you integrate your story and stand out in the digital world.
On average, recruiters spend less than 10 seconds skimming resumes for keywords. Ten seconds, that’s it! So how do you convey your awesomeness on one single page? Skills-based resumes are the perfect format to highlight your expertise and transferable skills clearly and concisely.
- Ditch the objective. These one-liners tend to be generic and fail to demonstrate your true talents and abilities.
- Showcase your value and skills at the top of your resume in a “summary of qualifications” or “core competencies” section. Leverage sites such as TopResume to assist with verbiage to beat the bots!
- Under your work history, list out three to five accomplishments for each role. We recommend using The Ladders formula for effective and concise communication – success verbs and data points to emphasize each role’s accomplishments.
- Make sure your resume is targeted to the role and company. You will want to update it for every job you apply to, ensuring you speak to each role’s desired experience and company culture.
Tapping into your LinkedIn community and utilizing all facets of this platform will give you a competitive edge. In addition to showcasing your experience, LinkedIn is a great platform for you to share your passions, connect with various networks, search for jobs, and build your brand!
If you’re new or in need of a refresher, we highly recommend checking out this article on how to leverage your LinkedIn profile. Looking to go more in-depth with their Sales Navigator platform? Check out recommendations from Samantha McKenna.
Action Item No. 4: Leverage Your Resources
You’ve completed your research and determined your next move. You’ve built a resume and designed your LinkedIn profile. Now it’s time to get out there and ensure everyone knows your desired next steps. Have your network work for you. You are only one person, but your network can reach thousands!
How can you ensure your network is working for you? Here are some quick steps to get the ball rolling:
- Let recruiters know you are actively seeking an opportunity and ensure they know what the opportunity is. There are settings in each social media platform to turn on and ensure you show up in Boolean searches.
- Leverage your alma mater connections. Even if you don’t know someone from your school, send a private note to connect with them. People naturally want to assist others from their communities, even if they don’t personally know you.
- Hit the town or hit up zoom! Sign up for networking events that attract leaders in your career field of interest. Attend galas, association events, virtual coffees, wine tastings, etc. Have fun connecting with people in a variety of communities that all align with your desired role. All it takes is one personal interaction that can lead you to your dream job interview!
Action Item No. 5: Nail the Interview
You leveraged your connections, made it through the bots then landed an interview. This is your time to shine and highlight how you bring value to the new organization.
Most often, companies use behavior-based interview guides to assess how candidates handle certain situations. As you can imagine, these guides ultimately tell them if the candidate is a good fit and also a match for the role. These questions tend to have multiple parts and can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the format. The STAR Interview Method is a fool-proof way to answer and nail these questions every time. Think of it as giving a personal example in a story format.
- Situation: Briefly set the scene by providing a few short concrete details of your example and how it relates to the question.
- Task: What was your role in the situation? Be concise and clear.
- Action: Explain the steps you took to overcome the challenge. How did you bring value to the situation?
- Results: What was the outcome, and how did your achievements lead to the result?
You’ve now read through our five actions to communicate your transferable skills effectively. No matter where you are in the career change journey, these steps will empower you to communicate your value and worth!
This post was co-authored by Rebecca Ahmed, an upcoming TEDx speaker, a certified Energy Leadership Coach with the International Coaching Federation (ICF), and a published writer. She has taken her expertise and launched her own business, Laugh Thru Life, where she brings energy and joy to the workplace.
Rebecca is a recognized expert in talent acquisition, culture, and diversity and inclusion. During her 10+ years as a leader in Human Resources (HR) in Hospitality, she is most notably recognized for partnering with C-Suite Executives through a 2.8B M&A, overseeing Talent Acquisition, HR Operations, and Technology for up to 16,000+ team members. Rebecca has a bachelor’s in public relations with a double minor in communication design and business from the University of Southern California, and a master’s in hotel administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.