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Transferable Skills

Seeking a Career Change? 

Focus on These Transferable Skills

If you feel ready for a career change, you may wonder if the specific skills you’ve honed over the years are going to stand you in good stead as you move into a new field. While it’s true that some so-called “hard” skills (such as knowledge of industry-specific software, for instance) may not transfer across fields, you may be surprised to see how many of your professional skills are indeed transferable.

In the world of executive recruiting today, these transferable skills can be key to highlighting the value you bring to a new company. Your transferable skills are the abilities you’ve demonstrated that apply across job titles and industries. Take a look at some of the key skills that hiring managers and executive recruiters may want to see in your resume.

Communications Skills

You need strong communications skills for almost any job. The ability to share information effectively and persuasively sets you up for success. While some job positions — say, in public relations, advertising, or marketing — demand high levels of advanced communications skills, nearly every position requires them. Even if you’re seeking a tech-focused job, you’ll have to communicate well with colleagues and co-workers, vendors, management, contractors, and possibly with customers or clients. Current remote work and hybrid work models increasingly require you to work across borders. Adapting your communication style to different cultures and developing multicultural sensitivity has become paramount. 

Provide details about your communications skills on your resume to stand out during a job search. Your cover letter, resume, and any portfolio stand as examples of your written communication. Be ready in the interview process to demonstrate your ability to listen well, to receive feedback, to understand nonverbal communication, and to respond effectively.

Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills

Critical thinking and analytical skills are no longer the province of specialists and consultants. Everyone involved with management at any level needs the ability to interpret information in ways that move your organization’s mission forward. Whether you’re a marketer using Big Data to design A/B marketing tests or a software engineer whose problem-solving skills are at the heart of everything you do, your well-honed analytical skills are highly transferable across positions and industries.

Highlight your analytical and problem-solving skills on your resume by pointing out projects that relied on these skills. In your cover letter and interviews, make sure to demonstrate how you can take a problem apart, redefine it as a series of smaller problems, and find solutions that lead to effective action.

Collaboration Skills

Almost everyone in the business world has worked as part of a team — but, as you’ve probably experienced, that doesn’t mean everyone has the collaborative skills needed to help a team accomplish its goals. Your ability to work well with others may seem like a given to you, but it’s actually a highly transferable skill with real value in the marketplace.

Be ready to discuss examples of your effective collaboration when you interview, especially if you’re looking to switch industries. Your willingness and ability to seek the good of the company, to show empathy toward other team members, to build strong relationships, and to take the lead role in conflict resolution are all collaborative skills that will stand you in good stead in any field or position.

By highlighting these important transferable skills, along with other skills such as adaptability, project management, and leadership, you can let potential new employers see what kind of value you bring to their organizations, even across industries.

By Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano

By Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano

President & CEO of Barbachano International (BIP)

Barbachano International is the premier executive search and leadership advisory firm in the Americas with a focus on diversity and multicultural target markets.  Outplacement and Executive Coaching services are provided by our sister allied company Challenger Gray & Christmas. BIP has been recognized by Forbes as Americas’ Best Executive Search Firms and currently ranks #27 and #3 on the West Coast.  


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