Your Tool Kit for A Career Transition

by sysop in Looking for a Job

by Kristina Burroughs

In an unstable economy where the value of certain industries is unstable, job security is almost an obsolete term.  We’ve moved away from an era where parents and university guidance counselors advised students to go for the high paying, secure jobs that would offer guaranteed protection from the ebbs and flows of the economy. In recent years, this former way of thinking for choosing a career path is proving not to be the most reliable.

Recruiters talk with ambitious law students graduating into a market that is oversaturated with lawyers and a declining demand for them every day. Where do you go from there? What happens when the advice and guidance you were given were not based on the current market signals? Whether you’ve been a TV producer who wants to move into public relations or the recent college graduate who can’t find a job in the career field for which you studied, drawing attention to your transferable skills is key for your success!

How can you draw attention to the transferable skills and experience you can bring to a new industry, job, or career field? Here are a few ways:

  • Carefully Reflect on Your Skills – Look for the common themes and more generic skills that are hidden in your previous work experience such as administration, project management, organization, strategy, or creativity. Re-organize your resume to reflect the transferable types of skills you used for your previous job – not the job title itself.
  • Don’t Count Anything Out – When you’re making a career transition, be sure not to leave out any experience that could help you communicate those transferable skills. These might include a part-time internship you held or a research assistant position in college. Research skills are needed! What about the time you stepped up – above and beyond your responsibilities – as the Program Director to fill in – or planned the annual conference because the event planner was out. Not only are you an administrator but an event planner. See where I’m going with this?
  • Identify Your Unique Signature Strengths – Ask a mentor, recruiter, or friend sit down and help you identify what you’re really good at. Normally, the things that come the most natural to you and the unique skills you bring without defining them are those that you don’t appreciate about yourself. You might be a great negotiator, giving you skills that could translate into an operations manager-type role. Perhaps you are suited for a job that includes  negotiating contracts because you do it so naturally. Take a look at your latest performance review. What do your supervisor and colleagues say about you? How did you contribute to the team beyond your performance? What are the intangibles you do as a team member that you simply don’t see about yourself?

In an unstable economy that continues to be in flux, it is important to master the skill of identifying and articulating your transferable skills. Capitalize on the skills you have naturally or you’ve acquired. You never know when market demand will change and you will be required to adapt to the new landscape.