How to Change Careers Smoothly: Leveraging Transferable Skills

Feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Want to change careers but don’t think you’re qualified for anything except your current job? Think again.

While it may be true that you don’t have the hard skills to succeed in a new role immediately, many employers these days are willing to provide specialized training to bring you up to speed. And you might know more than you think you do—chances are good that you have soft skills or other abilities that will easily transfer to another opportunity.

What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills are abilities that can be used in many jobs across various industries. They aren’t specific to a particular role. Instead, they are inborn talents or learned abilities that are honed through use and experience.

For example, a military veteran might not have the specific skills or knowledge required to thrive in a human resources position. However, having military experience guarantees a deep understanding of the need for teamwork and communication, essential needs in an HR department as well. The transferable skills of being a good team player and communicator could be used in HR and many different roles and industries.

Make your career change smoother by using these tips to leverage your transferable skills:

Review your work history. Make a list of all the soft skills you’ve used to succeed in past jobs. Consider these examples:

  • Problem-solving
  • Leadership
  • Adaptability
  • Listening
  • Creativity
  • Attention to detail
  • Empathy
  • Dependability

Identify your needs. Before you think about what kind of a job you want, think about why you feel the need to make a career change in the first place. Keeping your reasons in mind during your job hunt will prevent you from gravitating to the familiarity of a similarly flawed new job.

Compare skillsets. Once you have an idea for your new career, research the skills necessary for success. Analyzing job postings for similar positions can help you discover the skills hiring managers most desire. Other ideas include talking to people who hold similar jobs and consulting employment data sites like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Highlight your matches. Once you determine which of your skills match the skills required in your new career, highlight them in the skills section on your resume. When you write your cover letter, explain you’re changing careers and focus on how the skills you learned in previous jobs will transfer to the new position. If you’re offered an interview, review your skills again and be ready for the opportunity to talk about the experience you bring to the new role.

Looking for a new career?

Helping people change their lives is what we do. Enjoy flexibility, benefits, and the satisfaction of putting your skills to work in a meaningful job. Contact Premier Talent Partners today.