If you’re thinking about moving to a new career or industry, you’re not alone. But making a shift in your career path can be overwhelming if you have no direct experience in the industry or position that you’d like to move into. You may feel like you can’t even make a lateral move, but rather you’d have to take a step back or start at square one.
However, that’s not always the case. You likely have more transferable skills than you realize — you just need to know how to market your applicable experience. Uncover these “hidden” skills and use them to make the career change you’re craving.
What are transferable skills?
Transferable skills are both hard and soft professional skills that can be applied in multiple jobs or industries. For example, 57% of business leaders queried in a LinkedIn survey said that soft skills are most important.
A critical component when applying to work in a new industry is to show that while you don’t have prior experience in the role, you do have quantifiable experience that will relate and help you succeed. Instead of using broad and cliche resume terms (think: motivated, results-oriented, organized), emphasize the following transferable skills to show that you’re a well-rounded and valuable candidate for the role.
1. Project management
Project management requires planning, controlling, and executing work related to a project with multiple stakeholders to achieve specific objectives. The great news is you may have this skill without even realizing it. If you’ve ever served as the point person on a project that had multiple employees involved, especially if you had a successful outcome, you can apply that experience when interviewing for project management roles.
If you don’t want to move into project management, these skills are still helpful to share because they show that you can multitask, prioritize, and exercise time management. They also show that you know how to work cross-functionally with many different types of employees.
Resume example: Successfully managing seven new projects per quarter across multiple departments has provided me with a solid foundation in project management and cross-department communications.
Whether you’re crafting email correspondence or writing copy for a website, the ability to write accurately, clearly, and concisely can apply to many different careers. Examples of valuable writing skills can range from creating reports and presentations to developing marketing materials or landing page copy.
Reflect on the specific writing that you’ve done in past jobs, and how it can apply to your ideal new position. If you feel you can adapt your writing style to different mediums (i.e., writing for customers or shareholders), highlight this transferable skill. If appropriate, you can also include writing samples.
Resume example: In previous roles, I’ve effectively communicated ideas and concepts via daily internal company memos and meeting notes. I feel I can parlay those skills into writing employee handbooks and memos in an HR capacity.
3. Customer service
Most businesses, no matter the vertical, deal with customers. If you’ve worked in a customer-facing role, then you’ve likely mastered the highly valuable soft skill of communicating with people effectively. Consider how your customer service background can be helpful in the role you want to apply to. Even in a marketing role, this can be valuable because you know how to speak to the customer — and that’s what marketing boils down to. While this may not get you into an advanced marketing position immediately, it could be just what you need to get your foot in the door.