Lacking industry-specific experience should not necessarily prevent you from seeking a new career. Transferable skills are the portable skills you pick up along the way throughout most careers. These soft skills, such as being able to communicate effectively; showing initiative, creativity, and integrity; and having an upright work attitude, are valuable across all industries. Unlock your potential by discovering what transferable skills you may possess.

Start by identifying the qualifications required for the job you are seeking to fill

Begin by exploring the job descriptions in the field you would like to enter. What skills and qualifications are highlighted? Visit professional associations related to this field to inquire about the valued skills of candidates for these positions. You may find you are more qualified for these positions than you realize.

Identify your skills and qualifications

Start by looking at your work experience. Examine every minute aspect of your position such as day-to-day tasks, the responsibilities you handled, and projects you contributed to.

Once you have established the tasks, break down the steps that were required to complete each task. Finally, compare those skills with the list of desired skills and see where the lists overlap.

You can also look for transferable skills outside of the workplace. This is especially important for those re-entering the workforce after an extended period of unemployment as well as recent graduates.

Consider the following:

  • School experience
  • Volunteer work
  • Hobbies
  • Other life experiences

On the following list, identify the skills you have acquired or demonstrated. This will help you choose which skills to include on your resume:

Interpersonal Skills

  • Relating well with others
  • Responding with concerns
  • Motivating people
  • Assisting others
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Being a team player

Organizational Skills

  • Follow-through
  • Multitasking
  • Setting and attaining goals
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Planning
  • Time management

Leadership Skills

  • Decision-making
  • Evaluating
  • Managing
  • Delegating
  • Initiating
  • Motivating others
  • Planning
  • Supervising
  • Problem-solving
  • Team-building

Communication Skills

  • Advising
  • Explaining
  • Persuading or selling
  • Public speaking
  • Translating
  • Articulating
  • Instructing
  • Presenting
  • Training
  • Writing and editing

How to use your transferable skills

When using transferable skills to demonstrate you are qualified for a position, it is important to cite specific examples of when and how the transferable skills were used. Prospective employers do not think well of generic statements—you must give them proof.

Use the typical chronological format for your resume, but focus on your transferable skills as you describe the tasks and responsibilities associated with each previous position. Then, write a mind-blowing cover letter that describes your passion for this new field and why your unusual background makes you uniquely qualified. Here are some tips for writing a persuasive cover letter, as well a few cover letter alternatives that are proven to be just as effective.

When you’re breaking into a new field with little to no experience, you’re better off relying on non-traditional job search methods.