5 Tips to Show Employers You Have Transferable Skills to Successfully Change Careers

change career
Image Credits: Guardian Jobs

It’s not uncommon for people to change their careers or move from one industry to another, changing their roles in the process. But employers might feel hesitant to hire candidates without any direct experience. They might prioritize the candidate who has already done a similar job before over a candidate who is new to the industry or the area.

Why? Because there is a notion that a career changer has no track record, which makes them a risky hire.

This brings us to the question that always arises; how does a person package their skills in a way that would show the employer that whatever they can offer is transferable to their new career?

Here are 5 ways to show employers why you have transferable skills:

Make a clear case for how your skills transfer- Don’t expect the employer to do it for you

You need to establish three conditions if you want to confirm your transferable skills:

  • You should have the skill you claim
  • You understand how the skill is useful to the new role or industry
  • You can demonstrate how that skill can be applied to the new role or industry

Many times, candidates only manage to show the first criteria and fail to understand why the employer couldn’t see. It is not on the employer to establish that the skill is useful. Only you can do that by maybe, sharing an example of how your skill would apply in the new environment. You are already talking hypothetically since your competitions are people who have done the job before with more relevant experience. Therefore, you have to provide as much detail as you can.

Get Tangible Evidence

You need to be proactive towards the fact that you’ve done in-depth researched research about the position/industry. It shows that you’re willing to put in the efforts. Volunteer in the new industry and show some work samples, or take a class and show your assignments.

Always remember you’re trying to close the gap between you and your competitors who aren’t changing careers. Employers have very little imagination and time to choose promises to learn over tangible proof and experience.

Get Social Proof

References are the key to convince employers to take a chance on a ‘career changer.’ After doing some exhaustive research, the next step should be networking with people who are active in the field you’re interested in. This way people can refer you and share leads with you.

Social Proof acts like a filter for employers. E.g. – With top companies or schools on your resumes that acts like a brand, employers are impressed that if you’re good enough for these places then you must really be good. In the same manner, if get a referral from someone who is active in that field, then it carries a lot of weight.

Prioritizing person-to-person communication

The first three points are all examples of person to person communication. As a career changer, sending an unwelcomed email or resume yields control of the dialogue to the employer. Who knows if they will even read what you sent?

A lot of job seekers just wait around for calls after applying for a job posting which makes you less competitive than the others who have applied. To counter that, you must track your time and efforts during your career change to warrant that you are spending the majority of your time on person to person communication.

Minimize old career jargon when marketing for you

You can’t avoid the marketing tools completely as you will need your resume, cover letter and online profile for the hiring process. But, to help employers imagine you in your new career, take out as much terminology that points back to your old career as possible and keep the terms that would help in the next field.

Workplace trends and scenarios are ever changing. A person would naturally have to adapt by imbibing new skills that would be relevant for them. The leap into a new industry can be a very intimidating moment in your career. You could spend years building up relevant experiences that could further progress in one career stream. But then, the next moment you might switch lanes.

With the right transferable skills, your prevailing experiences can take on a new significance in a different industry, and that shift could expand your horizons.


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