What can you do if you’re starting or changing your career and lack relevant experience?

Has your job been impacted by COVID-19? Have you used the last few months to think about what you want to do next? Is a career change on the cards, by choice or not?

Transferable skills are the key here and they must not be underestimated.

They’re skills which can be applied to a range of jobs and industries, everyone has them. We accumulate them over time from employment, voluntary work, and hobbies.

Transferable skills show the employer what you can bring to a role/company and how you’re a good fit.

The magic of these skills is that they highlight why you’re right for a role, even if you lack experience in that particular industry. They’re great if you’re looking to change career or if you’re just starting out on your employment journey.

So, how do you work out what your transferable skills are?

You need to identify the key skills that are sought after in the type of role you’re wanting to secure.

• Go to job sites such as Indeed and Monster and search the job role.
• Read through the adverts, job description and person specifications.
• Highlight the key skills required.
• Pull together in a list, delete any duplicates and those skills that aren’t transferable and specific only to that industry/job e.g. a particular computer programme.

You can further identify your skills by talking to others, and looking through references and appraisals.

There are certain skills that come up regularly and are always in demand, no matter what level you’re at in your career:

Communication: negotiation, influencing, reporting, listening, reading, writing
Teamwork: collaboration, relationship building
Leadership/Management: delegation, coaching, managing change, decision-making
Organisation: planning, meeting deadlines, prioritising, time management
Customer Service: handling enquiries, resolving complaints
Finance: cash handling, setting/managing budgets
IT: common programmes such as Microsoft Office

Now you have your list, the really important action is to think of examples that demonstrate your ability in each one.

Writing that you “possess excellent customer service skills” is too generic and not quantified. Think of a situation when you have demonstrated this – what was the situation, what did you do, what was the outcome/impact on the business? The improved version for your customer service skills could read something like this, “At (company), increased customer satisfaction by 20% in a month, by analysing customer feedback, seeking input from the team, and implementing new measures such as more regular training.”

So you have your transferable skills with examples, where do you put them in your CV?

• In a bulleted profile at the top, underneath your name and contact details.
• Add a Key Skills section below the profile and add in some of the key transferable skills.
• In your Career History you can include some within each of your roles.
• If you have acquired experience in any of the skills outside of work, include a “Voluntary Work” and/or “Interests” section.

If you would some key tips on how to quickly improve your CV, helping you feel more confident and on your way to landing a new job, click here.