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How to Highlight Your Transferable Skills | woman with headset at home office desk with small child in her lap smiling.

How to Highlight Your Transferable Skills

If you’re on the job hunt, you may be wondering what skills to highlight in your resume. How do you know which skills are most valuable to prospective organizations?

Even if you’re applying outside of your industry, many skills are transferable! Learn how to impress employers as soon as they see your resume by identifying what unique qualities and experiences you bring to the table.

Popular Transferable Skills

Generally, there are several skills that every single employer will likely look for. While there is a wide variety to choose from, here are some common skills you can highlight in your resume.

Dependability

Show your potential employer you can be relied upon. Every employer wants to hire someone who can carry out important projects, tasks, or provide extra support. Think of examples where you’ve demonstrated attributes such as meeting deadlines, practicing integrity, or seeing a difficult project through to the end. If you have examples of where you went beyond expectations to exceed goals, include those, too!

Communication

One of the most valuable skills you can master is the ability to communicate well, no matter where you’re at in your career. Effective communication can enhance the quality of your work and allow you to interact better with teammates. If you are applying for roles that involve strong written, verbal, or nonverbal communication with customers or clients, these are especially key to highlight in your resume.

Not only is communicating outwardly important, so is active listening which helps build connection and trust with coworkers or clients.

Teamwork and Collaboration

Whether you are working in a large team or as an individual contributor, being able to perform in a collaborative environment is highly desired by employers. Many roles will have projects that need teamwork skills such as building relationships, self-awareness, conflict management, and working together as a group to find the best solution to a problem. Communication and teamwork go hand in hand, so plan to describe how certain communication skills enhanced your collaboration abilities.

Flexibility

What happens if a project plan changes or a client suddenly needs to switch directions and start over? Let’s face it, it happens to us all! These circumstances arise even when you’ve done your best work but being flexible will allow you to handle quick pivots and regroup while still delivering great results.

Some workplaces involve highly dynamic work environments and hiring managers will want to be assured you can adapt and carry on with a positive attitude.

Eagerness to Learn

Keeping an open mind about continuous learning is vital to growing your career. Employers love to see examples where you’ve taken the initiative to hone your skills, take on new trends or technologies, and apply them to your work. Continuous learning keeps your mind engaged, makes you more flexible and willing to adapt to changes, and improves overall job satisfaction. At the same time, your work performance and ability to contribute to the company’s goals will grow.  All these benefits compel hiring managers to prioritize potential hires who are excited to learn.

Resume Writing Tips

Now that you know which skills can be important to employers, how do you write about them in your resume? These are some tips you can apply to achieve this.

Review the Job Description

The best way to know which skills to emphasize is to read the job description carefully. Analyze the requirements, selection criteria, and expectations the employer has.

For instance, if the description emphasizes that you need to be a good collaborator show off this skill in your resume by including previous job experiences that required collaboration. Describe your success with certain projects or tasks in a way that explains how you worked with others to achieve goals. List bullet points illustrating how your teamwork produced great results and include any accomplishments or key metrics that could further validate your expertise.

Include Keywords

Once you know which skills to focus on from the job description, use the same keywords in your resume. Be intentional and include niche or technical skills that align with their experience. (i.e., SAP, implementation, Manager, or Supervised) as well as the soft skills like ‘communication’, ‘dependable’ or ‘learning’ to align with the job description language.

This makes it easier for the company to screen your application and recognize you have pinpointed the necessary work skills. There is also the possibility that the company may use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to help rank your resume with other applicants. Rest assured, there will be a human reviewing your resume, as well, so use keywords strategically and with integrity throughout your resume.

Show, Rather Than Tell

Your resume must tell a succinct yet informative story about who you are and the value of what you do. Hiring managers will be more attracted to your stories of achievement rather than a simple task list. Consider using a similar approach to the STAR method (typically used to answer interview questions). Describe the situation, task, action, and result that helped the company or customer succeed.

For instance, don’t limit yourself to writing, “Ran a successful annual fundraising event”. There’s much more to the story, and this is where you show instead of telling. For instance, did you collaborate with a team? What types of communication did you use during the process? Did you run into any snags during planning and had to adapt to changes? Add a few more details highlighting your actions like this:

  • “Organized annual fundraising event by creating a planning schedule, collaborating with volunteers and staff, coaching best practices for operations, meeting deadlines, and adapting to unforeseen changes with vendors. Achieved raising 30% more funds than targeted.”

This mini-story not only describes the project but also helps the hiring manager visualize how you applied several transferable skills to exceed expectations. The more you learn how to show off these skills, the closer you are to landing a dream job!

Want to stand out even more during the job-seeking process? Learn how to optimize your resume for the ATS!

Ryan Codling, Accounting & Finance Recruiter At VanderHouwen Smiling At Camera.

Ryan Codling

Accounting & Finance Recruiter