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Transferable Job Skills Might Be the Key to Your Job Search Success

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Job skills are at the core of any hiring. The bottom line that the employer wants to know is, do you have the skills to get the job done right. If you identify your transferable job skills, you'll unlock a lot more opportunities in your search for employment. While your industry might be laying people off on a grand scale, there are other industries that have openings they need filled. Most industries are hiring at some level, but the industries where we see the most activity are life sciences (Pharmaceuticals, Medical Device, and Bio Technology), chemicals, health care and energy. And that's where your transferable job skills can strike pay dirt.

Obvious and Not-So-Obvious Transferable Skills

If you're in IT, you know your skills transfer to any number of different industries. After all, every industry uses computers to some degree, and businesses can't afford to have their system down for any length of time. Some of the job functions that transfer across industries are:

    Quality Control
    Sales & Marketing
    Human Resources
    Accounting & Finance
    among others

So how do you identify which industries are open to candidates from other industries in these job functions? Sue Kanrich, Director of Training & Operations at FPC says "Research how closely aligned another industry is with yours by looking at:

    How it's manufactured (or packaged if it's a service)
    How the product or service is used
    Who it is used by

If there is a similar process with a similar audience (B2B vs. B2C), your job function may very cross over. It's worth investigating. You may open up a whole new area for your job search. AND, the similarities that you gather will be the basis for how you package yourself to potential companies in those new industries. There are also many subtle transferable job skills that you might not even realize you have.

    Problem Solving
    Listening Skills
    Team Leading

Many companies are looking to hire candidates with strong leadership and team player instincts. The list of transferable skills goes on and on. If you were a team leader in the automotive industry, you might be well suited for a position in another industry, such as biotech based on transferable skill set you gained as a team leader. Develop your list of transferable job skills and check out "When One Size Doesn't Fit All" to find out how to incorporate them into your resume.

The Challenge of Transferring Job Skills

Listing your transferable job skills and finding a way to make them transfer to a position in a different industry takes work, but it's that kind of work that will give you an edge over others who are applying for the position. The greatest challenge is having the candidate show the potential employer what he or she accomplished and how it can be translated to the new job.

List your previous jobs and pull out your old job descriptions. Which parts of those job descriptions did you excel at? If you don't have a copy of your old job description, just list the tasks you were responsible for. Hidden among all the things you've done for other employers are the tasks you excel at. Those are your most important skills. And who knows, those skills may well be the very same ones another industry is seeking.

Remember to couch all your job skills in a form that shows not just what you can do, but what you can do for the prospective employer. Every job seeker is a sales person. You're selling yourself when you contact a potential employer. So, develop your list of transferable job skills, put them in your updated resume, read "So Tell Me About Yourself": Perfecting Your Two-Minute Sales Presentation," and start to feature your transferable job skills when approaching prospective employers.

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