September 1, 2009

Tuesday Tips: Transferable Skills

Every Tuesday, I offer tips and hints for maximizing your job search. To get a crash course on Career Planning 101, check out JobMonkey’s section on Job Hunting Tools.

Are you thinking about making a career change? Maybe you are looking for your first job. In either case, not having a lot of on-the-job experience may make resume-writing a challenge. If you find yourself in this situation, the term “Transferable Skills” is going to be your new best friend.

According to author Richard Nelson Bolles, author of the ultimate career planning book, What Color Is Your Parachute?, says that transferable skills are the abilities that we are born with and cultivate into skills with each new job. These skills fall into one of three categories:

  • People Skills – like communication and supervising
  • Data Skills – such as researching and record keeping
  • Things Skills – meaning, your ability to operate or repair “things” — think computers, software and other types of equipment

Selling Your Transferable Skills
Rather than writing a resume that follows the traditional format — job title with responsibilities and dates — consider making a bulleted list of skills for each entry. Also be sure to emphasize these skills in your cover letter, where bulleted lists also work well. Check job ads for responsibilities that closely mirror your skill set and play up your assets when networking for your next job, as well.

Have you successfully changed fields or landed a first job by marketing your transferable skills? Share your tips in our comments section!

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