Changing Career Paths: how to market your skills to any industry

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Thinking of changing career paths?

For many, climbing the career ladder within their industry is the most direct way to reach coveted VP or Director positions—but this might not be the right path for you.

Perhaps you realized you’re not happy in your industry, or life threw you a wild card and forced a career change. For millions of Americans whose jobs were (or will be) impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, switching industries might be the best move. But how do you convince a new employer that your work history will make you a great addition to the team, even if you don’t have any experience in their industry?

The key is knowing how to market your transferable skills.

Recognizing Your Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are those skills you’ve developed that can be used in a variety of roles and industries. For example, if you’ve held many customer-facing roles, your transferable skills likely include customer service, communication, and adaptability. These are skills that you will use whether you’re working as a store clerk, hotel concierge, or administrative assistant.

Additionally, these skills might come in handy for high-demand health care support roles that deal with patients.

Other examples of transferable skills include:

  • Sales
  • Business Strategy
  • Team Management
  • Relationship-Building
  • Writing
  • Technology Literacy
  • Organization
  • Teamwork

On Your Resume

Transferable skills should be front-and-center in the job history section. Focus on job duties and accomplishments that would be relevant to different industries. For example, for a sales position this would mean foregoing information on the product sold and instead focusing on revenue growth or number of return customers.

DON’T

  • Effectively sold both used and new vehicles of different makes and models
  • Attended auto auctions to research and purchase vehicles

 

DO

  • Increased sales revenue by 40% in 2019 and was recognized as a Top Performer
  • Maintained strong customer relationships and had above-average repeat business from existing customers

Talking About Skills in an Interview

Similarly, you’re going to want to practice how to incorporate your transferable skills into interview answers.

Look up the most common interview questions and prepare responses. Whenever possible, include examples of times you successfully utilized transferable skills. If you want to highlight your customer service abilities, think of times when you had to deal with a sudden influx of customers or an unhappy client. To emphasize your sales skills, talk about the techniques you’ve used to build better relationships with your clients.

Use Your Network

Finally, to make a successful career transition, you will want to utilize your professional network. A hesitant hiring manager might be more likely to hire someone from outside the industry if a mutual professional contact will vouch for the candidate’s skills.

Don’t be afraid to post on LinkedIn or other social media networks. Working with a recruiter can also help you market your skills effectively. A recruiter will bypass resume piles and talk to the hiring manager directly about why you would be a great hire.