Transferable skills are those skills you have gathered through your jobs, volunteer work, hobbies, or other experiences that result in your gaining skills.
Transferable skills can be used to assist those who plan on changing a career, are facing a layoff, new graduates, and to those re-entering the job market
Your skills, interests, personality, and values play an important role in your career choice. So, first consider the career that interests you and will best utilize your transferable skills. See O*Net
for occupations that may match your skill sets.
5 Steps to help identify transferable skills:
- Write down a list of jobs you have held, hobbies you have pursued, training you have received or special interests.
- Complete the worksheet (link at the right) for each individual item on your list and break down all the duties and skills you have attained.
- Review the completed worksheets and compare to the checklist (link at the right) and mark those skills you have identified as your strong points.
- Determine the skills needed in the jobs you may be interested in by dissecting job ads and searching O*Net. Are there any skills you forgot to include in your list? Are there any skills you need to brush up on?
- Lastly, group your transferable skills into related topics, such as: Communication, Research and Planning, Human Relations, Organization, Decision Making, Clerical, Dealing with Data, Computer, Instruction, Mechanical, etc.
Transferable Skills Worksheet
Worksheet with Instructions
Transferable Skills Checklist
Selling Your Skills
Effectively showing and selling your transferable skills is key to changing your career, pursuing that specific position, getting your first job, and reentering the workforce.
One way to do this is to create a skills-based resume
(functional or combination), rather than a chronological resume. Use the grouping you have created to select three skill topics you may want utilize in your skills-based resume.
Also showcase your transferable skills at the top of the resume, by listing a few of the transferable skills you have identified that apply to the position you are targeting. These highlighted skills should be specific to the career you are pursuing.
- Career Planning: Using Transferable Skills
- When Changing Careers: Highlight Transferable Skills
- Collection of Transferable Job Skills Resources for Job-seekers
Networking: An Important Part of your Job Search
Networking is known as the #1 way to get a new job,
because most available jobs go unadvertised.
|Networking is about reaching out to and informing the people around you of your availability for job opportunities.Networking is not about having people hand you a job, it is about collecting information and letting others know you are looking for that job opportunity.
||A lot of employers would much rather talk to someone who is recommended because it saves time and money.Receiving a strong referral from someone they trust saves the employers a lot of effort in advertising the position and sorting through resumes.
|How to Network Successfully
(4 Key Points)
|Point #1: Getting Over the Fear
First practice with people you know well, who may have information or leads that can assist you in your job search. These people can be:
This process isn’t about “selling” yourself. It is about knowing what your strengths are and having the confidence to modestly express your strengths and qualifications to others around you.
Then, when you are somewhat comfortable with the networking process, move onto cold calling those connections that may be able to better help you gather information on your chosen industry and get that desirable job.
Volunteer in an industry you are interested in or join a local organization. This is a great way to get out in the community and meet people that can be an integral part of your networking process.
Point #2: Be organized / Have the right tools
- former school instructors or mentors
- your sports coach, or
- someone from church or a community group.
Take a good look at your address book and email contacts. Make a list of people to call such as your friends, family, colleagues, former supervisors, and social contacts. Every one is an important contact in your networking circle.
As you reach out to your existing contacts you should be gaining leads of new contacts to follow-up on. Keep organized, and write these leads down in your networking address book.
- A dependable and professional voice mail message on a phone where you can be reached at all times.
- A professional email address that you access at least every 24 hours.
- A planner specifically to record the networking contacts you have made or plan to make.
||Point #3: Making the First Call
Recognize that time is of the essence. Develop a short message about your career experience and professional opportunities you may be interested in.”Use empowering words such as successful, accomplished, driven, implemented, skilled, experienced, leader and team-oriented.”
(Source: smithjames.com)Things to remember:
Some sample phone scripts are available at Smith James Group, Inc. under “How Do You Network”
Point #4: Follow Up on Calls
Always follow-up on your contacts with a nice letter thanking him/her. For a sample letter visit “What Are Your Next Steps” at Smith James Group, Inc.
- The purpose of this phone call is to use your short message to introduce yourself in a professional manner and to announce your availability in the job market.
- Remember to smile (he/she will be able to hear the smile), be polite and friendly.
- If this is a cold call, explain how you got their name and why you are calling.
- If he/she is busy, try to schedule another time to call.
- If you find that he/she is resistant to your call, maintain your friendly demeanor and thank the contact for his/her time.
- If the contact is open to talking to you, thank them again and deliver your short message about your background and interests.
- If you receive a positive response and he/she tells you about an opening, offer to send a resume
- End the call by sincerely thanking him/her for his/her time and make reference to the person who suggested that you call.
- Record the information from your call in your planner. Contact all referrals gained from this call. Be sure to leave clear personal or voice mail messages.
- Talk to family, friends, former co-workers, bosses, and your neighbors
- Talk to the other parents at your child’s sports or music events
- Talk to the sales people visiting your office
- Visit with other members of your social clubs or religious groups
- Attend professional or trade association meetings
- Strike up a conversation with someone else in a waiting room (ie. doctors office, DMV, etc.)
- Use online resources: career-related web forums and online discussion groups (ie. jobster.com)
- Networking & Your Job Search
- Networking Your Way to a New Job
- Successful Job Search Networking
- Proven Networking Techniques
- The Art of Career and Job-Search Networking
Your application is the first impression an employer has of you, the applicant.
It often will make crucial difference in whether or not an employer will interview you for a job.
|~ Hints for Completing an Application ~
|10 things to remember
- When picking up the application, be dressed as if you were going to be interviewed – you may!
- Pick up two applications and use one as a rough draft.
- Before you put pen to paper, read the whole application thoroughly.
- The application should be typed or printed in pen unless a handwriting sample is requested on the application.
- Use only black or blue ink.
- Fill in all the blanks. If the question does not apply to you, put a dash mark or an “N/A” (not applicable).
- Print as neatly as possible. No erasures, smudges, or spill stains.
- Never fold or crinkle the application.
- Use care in sentence structure, spelling and punctuation. Avoid using abbreviations.
- Make sure to list phone numbers where you can be readily reached.
Acceptable reasons for leaving a job:
- List all jobs held, including volunteer work. Be as complete as possible, providing supervisor, address and phone number of employer.
- If the employer is requesting you to list your skills be as specific as possible.
References: Be prepared with the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of at least three personal references. Never use family members. You may wish to list teachers, ministers, friends or former employers. Make sure that you have their permission before using them as a reference.
- military service
- further education
- raise family
- work force reduction – lay off
- seasonal work – lay off
- temporary employment
- seek salaried employment (when leaving self-employment)
- career change
- better growth opportunity
Create a master application -Take it with you
This is an application that is already completed, checked for accuracy, spelling, correct addresses, correct hire and termination dates from previous employment. Take it with you and use it when you are filling out application forms. It is much easier to complete a well-written application if you have something to refer to.For more information see Work Smart!
A resume should be only one page.
It should not be too crowded – it should be easy to read. It should be typed neatly with no errors or whiteout.
Be sure to have someone else proofread your resume before submitting it to an employer!!
|Parts of a Good Resume
You need to include your full name, your complete address, and your telephone number. Make sure that the telephone number is one where you can be reached at all times. Do not include personal information, such as your age, marital status, height and weight, and hobbies.Job Objectives
This is a statement of the type of work that you are seeking. Make it specific, such as “seeking a position as a cashier”. If you are applying for a specific advertised position, use the employer’s job title written word-for-word.Assets/Qualifications and Experience
List skills you have that would show the employer that you are qualified for the position. Consider your skills from school or previous jobs. You may include specific machinery that you have operated, the fact that you are mechanically inclined, leadership ability, organizational ability, good with detail, work well with people, etc.
List all jobs you’ve held and the length of time on each job. You may also include volunteer positions held and part-time summer jobs.Education and Training
List the schools you have attended and the dates, the main courses you took, and the degrees you received. You may also list scholarships or honors, and extracurricular activities related to the job for which you are applying.
A resume is an essential tool in a job search. This tool is used to market or sell yourself to an employer. It should only be a short summary, not the whole story. The following are general guidelines for writing different types of resumes. This information changes geographically and varies according to the person and the profession.
- length should be one page, but never exceed two pages
- make margins (top, bottom, left and right) approximately 1-inch
- there should be plenty of white space and it should be easy to read
- font size should be 10 or 12 using conservative font styles
- layout should be easy to follow and information easy to locate
- appearance should be neat and clean, no errors or corrections
- paper should be 20-25 weight bond, rag or linen and of neutral color
- envelope and cover letter paper should match resume paper
- left justified with dates on the left
- use black ink and/or fonts that are easy to read
- show responsibility and results that relate to the needs of the company
- give examples of accomplishments and the ability to solve problems
- show statistics and numbers
- be honest, positive and specific
- use category headings: objective, professional highlights, education, training, skills, professional associations and organizations, honors and awards, references
- avoid jargon an abbreviations, don’t use sentence format, instead use action verbs and a few words with a lot of impact
- include volunteer experience, languages, internships, and certificates that relate to the position
- research the company and know what information would impress them
- if you attach a reference sheet take off the statement, “provided upon request”
- use industry terminology
Types of Resumes
- write your own – start by writing down a list of everything you’ve done, your work record, education and all your accomplishments, do not use a resume writing service because they usually appear too slick
- leave off salary information and only provide it when requested
- do not mass mail resumes – it is the worst thing you can do
- do not include post cards for employers to return
- use a computer or type your resume
- some occupations don’t need resumes, but it is always good to have one
- never provide names of references on the resume – either attach a reference sheet or provide references when requested
There are two primary types of resumes used – chronological and functional. Use the information below to determine which kind of resume is most appropriate for your particular situation.
View a Chronological Resume
Best Used By:
- individuals with a steady work record
- individuals with experience that relates directly to the position applied for
- widely used format
- logical flow, easy to read
- showcases growth in skills and responsibility
- shows promotions and impressive titles
- shows company loyalty
- emphasizes gaps in employment
- highlights frequent job changes
- emphasizes employment but not skill development
- emphasizes lack of related experience and career changes
- points out demotions/career set backs
View a Functional Resume
Best used by:
- individuals with no previous employment
- individuals with gaps in employment
- frequent job changers
- individuals who have developed skills from other than documented employment
- emphasizes skills rather than employment
- organizes a variety of experience (paid and unpaid work, other activities)
- disguises gaps in work record or a series of short term jobs
- viewed with suspicion by employers due to lack of information about specific employers and dates
- de-emphasizes growth/job titles
View a Combination of the two
Best used by:
- career changers or those in transition
- individuals reentering the job market after some absence
- individuals who have grown in skills and responsibility
- individuals pursuing the same or similar work as they’ve had in the past
- highlights most relevant skills and accomplishments
- de-emphasizes employment history in less relevant jobs
- combines skills developed in a variety of jobs or other activities
- minimizes drawbacks such as employment gaps and absence of directly related experience
If you are applying for a job that requires a resume, you should write a cover letter to accompany your resume. The purpose of these letters is to tell how your job talents will benefit the company, to show why the employer should read your resume, and to ask for a job interview. Use these guidelines when preparing a cover letter and keep a copy for your records.
Your cover letter:
- Is a sales pitch, and an attention getter. Identify the single most important reason why you should get further consideration for the job.
- Should enable the reader to make a connection between him/herself and your background.
- Identifies mutual acquaintances or company employees if you know any.
- Expresses your knowledge of the company.
- Is a personal communication between you and the employer.
- Does not repeat, but can highlight information in the resume.
- Is short and to the point – no more than half a page.
- Mentions why you would like to work for the company.
- Must have perfect grammar and spelling.
- Identifies relocation issues (willing to relocate).
- Uses the same bond paper as your resume.
Make sure your cover letter is specific to the person you want to talk to
(the person who would actually supervise you), and specify the position
you are seeking and how you heard about the position.
General Outline for a Cover Letter
Your Street Address
City, State, Zip Code
Date of LetterEmployer’s Name
City, State, Zip CodeDear (Employer’s Name):Introduction Paragraph: You want to tell the reader why you are writing and name the position or department for which you are applying. You also want to capture the reader’s attention. Mention how you heard about the organization or the opening. Name someone you and the reader know in common or someone in the company that knows you. Show you’ve done some research on the company by talking about new projects the company has taken on, the particular management philosophy they use, or citing something you’ve read about them.Body: In this section you want to build a connection between your background and the company’s needs. If you have any directly related experience or education, summarize it here so the reader can be looking for it in your resume. If you have used skills or have accomplishments that relate to the job, mention them here. You are effectively summarizing your skills as they relate to the company research you have done. Be sure to do this in a confident manner.Concluding Information: Indicate your interest in working for the company and hearing from the reader. Thank the reader for his/her time and consideration.Sincerely,
Your Name Typed
Sample Cover Letter
10 Emerson Drive
Capetown, Florida 33333
(101) 555-1234February 5, 2010Ms. Mary Smith, Personnel Director
Accounting Software International
5678 East Doral Street, Suite #1200
Lockridge, Tennessee 77777Dear Ms. Smith;In response to your ad in the Lockridge Examiner, dated January 30, 2010, I am enclosing my resume for consideration.I was particularly attracted to your position because of my interest in accounting software and the opportunity to use my computer skills in a more specialized career.I have extensive experience and skills that are relevant to this position. My particular expertise is in implementation and training conversions to new computer software systems and programs. I strongly feel that my talents could be valuable to Accounting Software International when achieving corporate goals.I believe I would be a good candidate for your position as a service representative and look forward to hearing from you soon.
Most hiring decisions are made at the first interview. How you present yourself in that interview could be as important as your experience and job talents.
|Before The Interview:
Learn as much as you can about the company, salary and benefits. Friends, neighbors and relatives who work for the company are good sources of information. Libraries, local chambers of commerce, Internet websites, etc., are also helpful.
Learn everything you can about the position and job duties and how your previous experience and training qualify you for the job.Write down the things you will need to take to complete applications:
- Your background and experience list (names of former employers, schools, training, etc.)
- A resume or summary of your work experience
- Also include any work-related or community service awards that you have received.
- Social security card, driver’s license, union card, military records, etc.
Dress for the interview and the job. Don’t overdress or look too informal. Dress for success. Check your shoes and look in a full-length mirror, front and back. Go light on the perfume or cologne or don’t wear any at all. Don’t smoke just before going. Also wear light colored fingernail polish or none at all.Always go to the interview alone. Arrange for baby sitters, transportation and other needs ahead of time so that you can be on time and relaxed in the interview.After The Interview:
Follow up with a thank you note which may include:
- It was a pleasure meeting you.”
- “Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.”
- A summary of your skills and their needs.
- Bring only essential items to the interview (i.e. resume, references, portfolio, licenses, datebook, etc.). Do not bring anything unrelated to the job into the interview.
- Arrive 15 minutes early so you can relax and review what you want to say.
- Be pleasant and friendly but businesslike to everyone you meet.
- Shake hands firmly. Be yourself. Use natural gestures and movements.
- Stress your qualifications without exaggeration. Emphasize experience and training related to the job opening.
- If you know about the company’s products and services, you should refer to them as you answer questions. It is impressive if you have positive knowledge about the company. If the company is involved in any kind of problem (i.e. lawsuits, layoffs, etc.) do not bring it up.
- After being asked a question, it is okay to pause and think about your answer. Answer questions with more than a “yes” or “no”. On the other hand, do not ramble. A successful interview occurs if the interviewer talks fifty-percent of the time.
- Speak positively of past employers and avoid discussing personal, domestic or financial problems.
- Know your salary range from your research. When asked “What are your ideas on salary?”, answer with a question of the interviewer (i.e. “What do you pay people with my skills and experience?”)
- Ask probing questions about the company plans, nature of the job, etc. Questions indicate interest and motivation. Questions are also helpful in getting the interviewer to talk.
- Be prepared if the interviewer says, “You’re perfect for this job. When can you start?” Preparing for this question can prevent a snap decision. Most employers will allow you time to make this decision. But what if they ask, “Can you start tomorrow?”
- Thank the interviewer even if they indicate that you are not right for the job. Ask about other companies that might be hiring. Get a name of someone to see.
- Send a brief thank you note immediately after the interview.
- Call a few days after the interview to see if a hiring decision has been made.
Questions You Might be Asked at a Job Interview
Think about how you will answer these questions.
Then practice answering them aloud.
|Your Interview Appearance ChecklistBefore my interview I need to:___ get a haircut
___ clean and press clothes
___ wash hands and cut nails
___ shower and use deodorant
___ use a minimum of perfume/after shave or not use any at all
___ shine shoes
___ trim or shave beard/mustache
___ brush teethI will wear my:___ Suit/dress
___ Shoes/work boots
___ Jewelry (be very conservative)
___ Purse or briefcase (not both)
___ Make-up (be very conservative)I will bring:___ a note pad
___ two pens
___ extra copies of resume
___ a list of references
___ portfolio/work samples
___ necessary license (i.e. heavy equipment, limousine, bus, etc.)
___ date book or planner
Questions You Might Want to Ask at a Job Interview
Add questions as you research careers and companies.
- What do you know about our company? (Use company research)
- What qualifications do you have for this job? (Match what you know about the job and company to your experience)
- What is your greatest strength? (Relate to job description)
- What is your greatest weakness? (Turn into a positive, i.e. perfectionist with high self-expectations. Admit a past problem and what you learned from it)
- Tell me about yourself. (Reveal something semi-personal but still professional)
- Why did you leave your previous job(s)? (Turn into a positive
- If you were hired, what ideas/talents could you contribute to the position or our company?
- Could you give me an example of how you have demonstrated _____________________ skill? (Think first, be specific, speak only long enough to answer the question)
- Give me an example of how you handled a difficult situation on a previous job.
- Why are you interested in working for this company? (Relate your skills to what you know about the company)
- Tell me about your education. (Use examples that relate to the position)
- Why have you chosen this particular field?
- Describe your best/worst boss. (Keep it positive)
- In a job, what interests you most/least? (Relate to position)
- How do others describe you? (Keep it positive)
- What do you consider the single most important idea you contributed or your most noteworthy accomplishment in your last job?
- Where do you see yourself in three years? (Demonstrate ambition and flexibility)
- How does this position fit into your future plans? (Demonstrate potential and ambition)
- What could you have done better on your last job? (Keep it positive)
- What have you done recently that shows your initiative and willingness to work?
- How would you describe yourself to others? (Keep it positive and brief)
- How do you feel about working in this organization?
- Were there any questions I didn’t provide an adequate answer?
- As you think about the position, what aspects of this job could be performed better?
- What are the key challenges or problems of this position?
- Where can I go from here, assuming that I meet/exceed the job’s responsibilities?
- What are the company’s short and long term objectives?
- When will a decision be made about this position?
- What do you see as my greatest strengths and weaknesses pertaining to this position?
- What are the opportunities for personal growth?
- What makes your firm different from its competitors?
- What do you see as the company’s strengths and weaknesses
- How would you describe your corporation’s personality and management style?
- What is the overall structure of the department where this position is located?
- What characteristics does a successful person within your company possess?
Immediately after the interview send either a handwritten or typed thank you letter to the interviewer. Use the following sample as a guide. You can also mention a topic discussed, a problem you can help solve or something you may have forgotten to mention in the interview.
Sample Thank You Letter
123 Main Street Apt. C-3
St. Paul, MN 55050
(123) 123-4567February 6, 2010Mr. Vincent Kelger
Research and Development Manager
11234 West Ivanto Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55051Dear Mr. Kelger:I wanted to thank you for the time you spent reviewing and discussing my skills for the computer analyst position. I enjoyed learning more about your company and plans for the future.The position sounds very interesting, particularly since it would be an opportunity for me to use my skills and experience in computer programming and troubleshooting.I will call you in a few days in the hope that you have reached a decision favorable to both of us.
Finding work is a full-time job. That means you must:
- Set your own responsibilities (things you must do everyday to get a job).
- Wake up early at a set time to start looking for work.
- Look hard for a job, all day, 40 hours a week.
- Be your own boss (or appoint a friend) to make sure you carry out your job search responsibilities.
Where to look for work
Tips for Planning an Effective Job Search:
- direct employer contacts
- friends and relatives
- private employment agencies
- former employers
- trade associations, unions
- community service agencies
- vocational institutions
- telephone directory yellow pages
- Online job board and search engines
- Federal, State, County and local government
- Employment Development Department Job Service
- newspapers, major and local, for classified ads, news articles about new plants, company expansions and business trends
- public library – ask librarian for trade journals, vocational publications and other job information
Job Search Methods
- Make a “to do list” every day. Outline daily activities to look for a job.
- Apply for jobs early in the day. This will make a good impression and give you time to complete applications, have interviews, take tests, etc.
- Call employers to find out the best time to apply. Some companies take applications only on certain days and times during the week.
- Write down all employers you contact, the date of your contacts, people you talk to, and special notes about your contacts.
- Apply at several companies in the same area when possible. This saves time and money.
- Be prepared. Have a “master application” and resumes, pens, maps and job information with you all the time. Who knows when a “hot lead” will come your way.
- Follow up leads immediately. If you find out about a job late in the day, call right then! Don’t wait until the next day.
- Network. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job. Stay in touch with friends and contacts. Follow up new leads immediately.
- Read pamphlets and books on how to get a job. The time you spend reading these materials will save you a lot of time in your job search.
People use a variety of methods to find information about job openings. Some may read the want ads, others ask friends or relatives, and still others may contact employers directly. Successful job seekers use a wide variety of methods but focus most of their time and energy on the more effective methods.Consider the advantages and disadvantages of some of the more common methods used by job seekers.
Network of Contacts
||Easily accessed, delivered to home or newsstand.
||Contains only 15% of job openings. Employers use as a last resort.
|U.S. Employment Service
||In some areas of the country, 30% of job seekers get job leads. No fee.
||Average of 5% get jobs here. Staff sees many people each week.
|Private Employment Agencies
||Employer may pay a fee.
||Job Seeker may pay a fee (up to 15% of 1st year’s wages). Only one of 20 people get jobs from using an agency.
|Mass mailing resumes
||You may get lucky.
||5% or lower response rate to resumes sent blind to a company or personnel department.
||Sending a resume to a specific person will increase your chances of an interview. Contacting an employer and then sending a resume is most effective.
||This is time consuming and takes a lot of research.
|Personal Contacts & Cold Calling
||75% of all jobs are found through these two methods of networking.
||Takes good telephone skills, excellent communication and is time consuming.
Make a list of all the individuals you could possibly contact to research companies and obtain job leads. The list below will help you think of people and organizations you may want to include:
A lot of people do not like to do this because they see it as advertising the fact that they are unemployed. If this bothers you, remember, you are not asking these people for a job. Tell them you are looking for work, and that you need information. Most people will not have a job to offer, but they will have valuable information to offer.
Try to get at least one piece of information from every person you contact. This way, you keep building your network of contacts and gathering information.
Friends of Friends
Other Job Seekers
Chamber of Commerce Lists
Political Interest Groups
|You can set up a free e-mail account to use for your job search on the public computers at the Smart Centers or on any computer with Internet access. You will be able to send and receive your e-mail on any computer with Internet access, like those in:
How will this help your job search?
- Your child’s school
- A friend or neighbor’s house
- Kinko’s (you pay for the time)
- You may find a job opening that you can only apply for by using e-mail.
- You can ask your friends and family who have e-mail to help you network wherever they live!
- If you are working with a job search counselor, you can communicate with them by e-mail sometimes more easily than playing phone tag.
- Some newspapers (like the Record Searchlight) will let you pick the want-ad information you want and e-mail you the results every day.
Would you like to set up e-mail for your job search now?
Three widely used – and free – e-mail services are listed below. Just go to one of these websites and complete the sign-up form. It’s that easy!
For job search purposes it is best to pick a standard account name when you register, such as one based on your name (first and last name, first initial and last name, etc.).
Hotmail | Yahoo Mail | GmailTo use your e-mail
Type in the address of the website and sign-in.
– Email could help you get a job! –
Did you receive a layoff notice because of a company downsizing or closure? We may be able to help you with:
- One-on-one Intensive Job Search Assistance
- Work-site Training Opportunities
- Hidden Job Market
- Upgrading Current Skills
- Further Education