Make Career Moves with Transferable Skills

Job seekers need to demonstrate communication, analytical, and leadership skills. Newer categories in almost every field include information management and project management skills. As a job seeker, you'll need to assess your skills and seek expansion while focusing on your long-term goal.

Many job seekers start out working in entry-level jobs (e.g. customer service) as a stepping stone to their next job. Without some direction, it can be difficult to figure out how to climb that corporate ladder. For 20 years we've helped job seekers find their career footing, which starts with taking stock of your transferable skills.

Step 1: Assess Your Skills

When you’re looking for a position in accounting, finance, or sales - you need to start by doing an assessment of what skills you have. In HR-speak, you often discussion about transferable skills or the things that you’ve learned to do at one job that can be useful to another job. It’s easy to be blinded by the things that are a routine part of your day to day job and to think that those skills aren’t valuable, but distilling those skills and emphasizing them will make you significantly more appealing to prospective employers.

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So, when you’re looking to make a move, the first thing you need to do is take a look at what you do, and then figure out what skills you’ve developed that you can take elsewhere.

Step 2: Expand Your Current Role

Departments often have a variety of roles that need someone to do work that can deviate a little bit from the job description of existing staff. Investing some time and effort in one of these roles can give you an opportunity to further refine the skills you identified in the first step and to pick up some additional skills as well.

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These roles not only serve as an opportunity to build transferable skills but on a resume, they demonstrate that you have performed at a level that’s been recognized with a form of advancement. This will look appealing to future prospective employers who will see that you’re motivated by growth.

Step 3: Don’t Lose Sight of the Job You Have

One issue every employer deals with is when their staff hits the point just before moving into expanded roles. When they’re really starting to hone the skills to make a successful exit, they start to fail at doing the job they currently have.

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This is the worst kind of short timer’s syndrome to fall victim to. You’re working hard, doing the things that are going to get you ahead, but in the meantime, your existing job duties feel unimportant and become neglected.

Step 4: Look for an Optimized Exit That Aligns With Your Experience

When you’re looking for that step out of customer service there’s a special set of jobs that allow you to harvest one extra skill for industry knowledge. With industry knowledge, you can make up slight gaps in role-specific expertise, such as transitioning from a career in Customer Support to Account Management. Moving to a new career path and a new industry can be much trickier than leveraging existing core competencies within one industry.

Industry knowledge can be part of what makes someone choose you over an equal or better-qualified candidate consideration and this isn’t something that you should underestimate. Advancement within the same company to a different line of business is the most obvious example but there are many other opportunities to leverage what you already know from time spent in previous roles.

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Most jobs allow you to learn not only about your company’s products and services but about the competitor landscape. You learned about your company’s suppliers and their customers. By targeting a position within your industry, you can capitalize on your existing knowledge that will be a tremendous asset to your new employer.

Step 5: Don’t Sell Yourself Short

When you finally hit the job board and start drafting that resume, don’t sell yourself short. Entry-level jobs are often under-appreciated and it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing special about you when you’re interviewing.

If you can’t see value in yourself, employers won’t be able to see it either.  Sift through all the things you learned while working in other jobs and you can extract the gold nuggets of transferable skills. Employers will line up to buy what you have to offer.

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