Very few career paths are straight lines. They often involve pivots, lateral moves and sometimes even jumps to entirely new industries. Transferable skills – the abilities and experience that may not relate directly to a new position, but that will still prove beneficial to your success – are key to landing any new job, particularly if you’re looking to alter your career trajectory.
Here are four tips to help you effectively communicate the value of your transferable skills:
Choosing simple words is one of the most important factors in effectively communicating how the skills you’ve developed through previous jobs will be beneficial to a new employer.
“Check with people outside of your industry to test whether they understand the language you’re using,” says Mikaela Kiner, an executive coach and founder of uniquelyHR, a no-nonsense HR firm for startups. “For example, those in nonprofit may describe raising money as development but the private sector knows this as fundraising.”
If a friend or former colleague offers to recommend you for an open position they know about, don’t just sit back and wait to hear from the hiring manager. This is a golden opportunity to work with your friend or colleague to ensure that you understand the new role and exactly how your skills and experience will come into play.
“Referrals and recommendations are never more important than when you’re changing roles or industries,” says Kiner. “When you send your resume to a friend, write an introductory paragraph in the email explaining your career shift and highlighting your skills to help tell your story.”