How to Recognize Your Transferrable Skills and Instantly Boost Your Confidence

June 17, 2021
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Need a confidence boost? Try this to see how many jobs you’re actually qualified for.

Figuring out your transferable skills is key to transition into a new role or a new area of your career. Most people get extremely intimidated by exploring career opportunities outside of their comfort zone, however, what people often don’t realize is that there are a lot of skills that are transferable between careers. If you’re feeling a little down on yourself or just need a confidence boost, do a quick search to see what transferable skills you hold and how many jobs you’re actually qualified for. The results will likely surprise you (in a good way)!

Why is it important to figure out your transferable skills?

If you want to explore new career options, it’s key to figure out your transferable skills and highlight these on your résumé. You might think that the first step to furthering your career is having a great résumé, but in order to create a résumé that will best serve you, you need to decide what you want to gain from it. Why? Because a truly great résumé is catered to the jobs that you’re applying for and highlights the transferable skills that you hold. If you don’t know what kind of jobs you’re going to be applying for, you can’t highlight the right transferable skills and utilize the correct wording and phrasing to ensure that you align with the requirements of the job.

Here’s how to figure out your transferable skills and land that next job.

Don’t focus on the job title

People tend to box themselves in with specific job titles. When you’re trying to figure out your transferable skills, it’s very easy to get stuck on the job title, so instead of searching based on job titles, search based on your skills. This will open you up to new opportunities and give you a better perspective about what job is right for you and what kind of jobs you’re qualified for. You never know what job opportunities are out there until you do a broader search based on the skills you have instead of searching for a specific job title.

Browse through current openings

The easiest way to do this is by going to job sites and searching for one of your strongest (or favorite) skills. For instance, if you’re extremely skilled and enjoy working with Adobe Photoshop, search “Photoshop” and see what kind of positions come up. This will help guide you in the right direction. Similarly, if you excel at project management, customer service, or using specific software, you can search those terms as well to get a better idea of what kind of jobs focus on those skills.

Additionally, if you’re really feeling stuck, you can simply browse through current job openings without keyword searching them. If you’re taking this route, browse through job openings, go through the job descriptions, and highlight the skills you have. This will help you gather information about what transferable skills you can highlight based on different areas of work. It will also give you a better idea of what kind of jobs you can apply to going forward.

Take note of important skills that are repeated in multiple job descriptions

Research suggests that CEOs now rank adaptability and collaboration on a par with traditional skills such as problem-solving and risk management. Due to the rise of startups and small businesses, employees are often required to wear many hats, work with cross-functional teams, and adapt to the role as situations arise.

As a job seeker, these are crucial skills that you want to highlight. Instead of writing “adaptable” on your résumé, show employers how you have adapted to various situations. For example, you could say something along the lines of “hired as an administrative assistant and served as an editorial assistant managing social media postings, website content, and liaising with contributors to organize submissions.” This highlights your ability to go above and beyond your role and shows that you adapted based on company needs.

For an easy way to put together your thoughts and gather information about what you’ve accomplished, create SOAR stories (Situation, Obstacle, Action, and Result) for yourself.

Figure out what words and phrases to include

Do some research on what businesses are actually looking for in a candidate and pay attention to trends of required skills or experience in your industry. Is there software that you continually see as a job requirement?  When you browse potential job opportunities, are there any specific skills required? How about certifications? Is there any specialized training that could benefit you when it comes to your job search?

The more research you can do, the better. You want to get a better understanding of what potential employers and recruiters are looking for in candidates within your field so you can highlight these transferable skills and requirements on your résumé.

Exploring new career opportunities can be intimidating, but if you figure out what transferable skills you hold, you might be surprised at how many jobs you’re actually qualified for. Instead of focusing on specific jobs titles that you think will be the right fit, focus on figuring out your transferable skills and go from there!

About the author: A native San Franciscan, Michele Lando is a certified professional résumé writer and founder of writestylesonline.com. She has a passion for helping others present the best version of themselves, both on paper and in person, and works to polish individuals’ application package and personal styles. Aiming to help create a perfect personal branding package, Write Styles presents tips to enhance your résumé, style, and boost your confidence.

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This story was originally published on April 18, 2028, and has since been updated.

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