Are you switching fields or just getting into the workforce and have limited experience? The interview process can be daunting because how do you pull from experience when you don’t have any? Fortunately, plenty of skills are transferable, and even when working in another industry, you most likely have acquired some of the skills employers in the field you are transitioning to are looking for!
Draw on Transferable Skills
Transferable skills are abilities that can be utilized in a multitude of occupations and across industries. Some examples of transferable skills are, problem solving, clear communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and adaptability. Having these skills are essential within any industry, so pulling from previous roles is easy when you think of what skills and experience you can contribute to a new position.
The Right Way to Talk Up Your Transferrable Skills
1. Be Prepared with Specific Examples
Before your interview, take some time to brainstorm three or four transferable skills that can bring to the table. If you’re not sure which ones to pick, a great way is to review the job posting as the skills they are looking for are often listed. From here, think of some scenarios from your past positions where you demonstrated these skills. When you’re in the interview, give a brief overview of the scenarios so the interviewer can gain the full picture of your impact.
2. Describe Your Problem Solving Skills
An effective way to drive home the importance of your transferrable skills, like problem solving, is to be clear with times you overcame obstacles at work.
Give an example of a time where you faced adversity and clearly explain the steps you took to solve the issue. This way the employer can gain access to your thought process and see how you handle yourself in difficult situations. When talking about a problem that you faced it important to highlight the issue walk the interviewer through your though process and talk about what you learned from the experience.
3. Tie It All Together
It’s always important to highlight that you are looking to better yourself and skills. This is especially important when you are entering a role that you don’t have extensive experience in. To maximize the impact that your transferrable skills have, go full circle and get into how the scenarios you’ve described connect to the position you are applying to.
For example, you may have extensive experience in the service industry and you’ve had experience dealing with disgruntled customers. How did you deal with them in a professional manner? What steps did you take? And most importantly, how will this help you thrive in this new role? If you are applying to a customer relations role, you might also have to deal with unhappy customers, so there is a direct correlation between the two positions that you can speak to.
The interview process can be stressful regardless of your experience. Besides preparing for the process, one of the best things you can do before an interview is reassure yourself of your skills and the value you bring to the position.
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Demetra Maragos – Demetra is a Master of Arts candidate at New York University, who loves thinking outside of conventional lines to combine her passions of everything culture, fashion and lifestyle.
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