Do you want to apply for a job but not have much work experience? Or is the experience you have not quite right for the job you want, perhaps because you’re looking to change industries?
If so, you should create a resume based on your transferable skills (which are things like time-management, writing, teamwork, and problem-solving). A transferable skills-based resume includes all the elements of a usual resume – profile, education, experience and contact information – but highlights the relevant skills you have most prominently.
Everyone has transferable skills. It’s easy to create a resume based on your transferable skills, because everyone has them. “Every one of us develops transferable skills that can add value to new roles,” says career coach Nicole Grainger-Marsh. “For instance, if you’re a team leader now, then you will have developed skills such as management, team leadership, mentoring – skills that aren’t limited by the sector that you’re in.”
Transferable skills are valuable. “The pace of change today means that formal or technical skills can expire very quickly, which can date you as a professional,” Grainger-Marsh says. “The transferable skills that you have are, by their nature, based on your abilities to adapt. Given the fast pace of change, and the number of different roles the average person is likely to have, the adaptability that your transferable skills can demonstrate is crucial.”
In other words, it’s skills, not always experience, that you need to make a career change. Identify which transferable skills you already have by looking at our full checklist here. From there, you can decide which ones are most relevant to the job you want.
Identify the transferable skills required for the role. “The easiest way to demonstrate transferable skills is to be descriptive when articulating the environment you’ve been operating in,” says Natalie Rogers, a Consultant at Six Degrees. “This will help the hiring manager to identify whether you will be able to transition into their environment. For example, if you’ve been operating in a highly complex stakeholder environment and you can show that this is similar to the environment of the new role, this will be a big tick in the eyes of the hiring manager.”
You’ll also want to ensure that the same skills mentioned in the job ad are listed in your resume, so pay careful attention to the words they use, Grainger-Marsh says. “Find some examples of the roles being advertised, and make a list of the skills and experience they are looking for – there will probably be a few common elements in there, and those are the areas to focus on.”
Consider the personality traits they seek . “More and more, organisations are recognising the importance of getting the right person and not just the right skills,” Grainger-Marsh says. So, it’s also important to look at the personality traits of the type of person they’re looking for.
“Do they ask for a ‘self-motivated’ person in several adverts? Is an individual with ‘good stakeholder management’ specifically referenced? Those are transferable skills which can help make up ground if one of the technical skills is missing from your list,” Grainger-Marsh says.
“There are also key personality traits that will always be relevant, such as a proactive nature, flexibility, and adaptability,” says Rogers, so add those to your resume too, if you have them.
Be confident in your ability. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that experience isn’t everything. “Combining the relevant transferable skills and personality traits can see you transition into a new industry, despite a lack of industry experience,” says Rogers.
“If you demonstrate the skills, aptitude and, most importantly, the cultural fit and attitude that will bring success, employers will often respond,” says Grainger-Marsh. “After all, they aren’t hiring a CV, they’re hiring a person.”