The most challenging thing about making a career change isn’t always the obvious obstacle. Before stepping off of one career path for another, you may have thought making the time for continuing education in your already busy life would be the toughest part of your career shift. However, many people find it’s equally, if not more difficult, to illustrate why an employer should value their transferable skills.
For example, if your entire resume is filled with healthcare experience and you’re now seeking a position in law enforcement, it’s up to you to show the employer how important and relevant the skills you used in the past are for your new target jobs.
How can you be sure the employer knows you are perfect for the job? Follow the following advice to help showcase your transferable skills, and no one will question if you are qualified.
Identify your skills. You can’t showcase your transferable skills until you know which the employer will think are the most important. What did you do in your previous positions on a daily basis? Make a list. Once your list is complete, pair skills you used with each task with job descriptions that interest you. Pay special attention to skills you can easily use in different organizations. Don’t ignore your “soft skills,” or emotional intelligence. For example, are you a good communicator? Do you have a knack for leading teams? Maybe you’re a great negotiator. Identify your best skills and include these on your list.
Research opportunities. Once you have your lists, plug your skills (your keywords) into job-board search engines to see what types of positions come up. For example, you may include terms such as “supervise,” “oversee projects,” or “leadership” in your searches. Keep an open mind and look for a pattern or type of job that keeps coming up.
Use your target employer’s language to describe your previous experience. You don’t want to make the employer try to figure out what you did in the past. Avoid jargon, abbreviations and other words specific to your old industry. Describe your background, skills, experiences and accomplishments using easy to understand language that relates to what you want to do next. For example, if you were solving problems, managing people and overcoming obstacles in your past job, describe that background in words your new employer will understand and appreciate.
Use social media tools to feature your expertise. One of the best things about social media is it allows you to showcase what you know and to communicate that expertise to exponential numbers of people. When you share news and information relevant to your industry, you become a go-to source. People will naturally view you as an expert in your arena, which helps fill in perceived experience gaps.
Network all the time. When you’re changing careers, your network is even more important than ever because you may need to rely on someone to take a chance on you. Make an effort to tell people what you’re doing. For example, attend professional networking events and take on volunteer roles. Ideally, you’ll be able to fill a role that uses some of the same skills you’ll need on the job. The best way to showcase your transferable skills is to use those skills with people who can influence your career path.
Focus on your transferable skills and put these action tips to use and you’ll discover how much easier it is to land a job in a new industry.