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Ramping Up Your Resume with Transferable Skills

Understanding your transferable skills is essential to an effective job search strategy and absolutely vital if you are seeking a new direction in your career. All jobs incorporate the use of some transferable skills and the most successful career chameleons recognise this and adapt their resumes to suit.

So what are transferable skills? Essentially they are the skills you offer that you’ve gained through your work, study and personal life that are directly transferable and relevant to the roles you are applying for.

These skills don’t have to have been built only in the workplace, in fact unlike job-related skills they may have been developed through volunteer activities, studies, past projects, even through your hobbies.
Regardless of where you have developed them, knowing what skills employers are looking for in the positions you are applying for and showcasing your skills in these areas is vital to marketing yourself effectively in the career’s marketplace.

When trying to showcase your transferable skills it’s important to understand two things – firstly what the transferable skills are the employer is looking for, and secondly what you have to offer.

To begin this process start by reviewing the position descriptions and advertisements for the positions you are applying for and make a list of the commonly outlined skills they are seeking. Next review your past positions and break them down into the tasks that you performed and the skills you needed to perform them. If these skills can be used in other positions and are relevant to the positions you are applying for, then these are your relevant transferable skills.

When you have done this for past positions, broaden your assessment to others areas of your life such as voluntary work, studies, community activities and even hobbies to further broaden your skills lists. When trying to brainstorm skills consider common transferable skills such as leadership, time management, planning and organising, adaptability, decision-making, team work, relationship development, communication and interpersonal skills, problem solving and critical thinking.

Once you’ve identified your transferable skills you are now able to use these to market yourself to potential employers in your resume, application letter and interview.

With most employers only skimming each resume for up to 15-20 seconds it’s important to realise that simply relying on employers to figure out your transferable skills from your job titles and accountabilities isn’t enough – you need to highlight these skills clearly to employers at the outset of your resume. Consider the front page of your resume as a marketing profile of you. It’s your opportunity to pitch yourself to the employer as skilled and relevant, and highlighting your key transferable skills is an important component of this.

You can do this through a number of ways.

1. Write a career objective that outlines the type of skills you offer and are looking to use.
2. Write an opening profile that describes your key skills.
3. Develop a bulleted list of keywords that describe your core transferable skills or develop a combination resume (chrono-functional resume) that incorporates a description of your key transferable skills and experience on the front page and focuses in the body of the resume more on the skills you offer than just the titles and dates of your past positions.

Finally if you are struggling to present yourself well, consider seeking the support of a professional resume writer. Click here for more information on resumes and Career Edge’s international award winning resume writing services.

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The Branded Resume Checklist – How does your resume rate?

First impressions are everything. Does yours resume represent you as the consummate professional you are? Before you send it off, take a few moments to put it through the professional’s “Resume Checklist”.  The extra few minutes spent here could make all the difference to your resume’s impact and your subsequent job search success. 

ð        Does your resume have impact from the outset? Will it grab the employer’s attention, telling him/her who you are; what you bring; and a snapshot of your career highlights and strengths?  Make sure it doesn’t waste valuable space with personal details. Condense your personal details to 1-2 lines and use the rest to sell you as a quality potential candidate.

ð        Is your resume effectively targeted to the type of job you are seeking?  Every resume should be written with a target type of job in mind. Is yours? Read through the job advertisements for the type of employment you are seeking. Does your resume immediately paint you as “just what the employer is looking for”? Have you highlighted all the relevant skills, experience and qualifications you have that the employer may be seeking?

ð        Does your resume start with a powerful header and profile? Your header should immediately tell the employer who you are. Experienced Sales Professional. Motivated Business Graduate. Qualified Training Auditor. It should be followed by a strong profile highlighting your unique experience, skills and benefits (or otherwise known as your unique selling proposition). Use this section to stand out from the others in the resume pack.  

ð        Is your employment background written in an achievement-orientation? Is it focused on the challenges of each role and your personal contributions? Have you replaced accountabilities with achievements? Don’t bore the reader with a list of accountabilities that they probably already know – give them details on what you have achieved and the value you brought to each role. Draw them in on a journey packed with innovation, results and dedication. Don’t forget to make sure you include the title of the position, name of employer, and dates of employment, and ensure any gaps in your employment record are addressed.

ð        Is your resume evidence based? Have you backed up your unique selling claims by highlighting in your employment your accomplishments including exactly what you did, how you did it and giving firm indications of the result. Eg slashed staffing costs 30% through restructured rosters that better matched staff ratios with peak period demands. Make sure it’s accurate and truthful. Be able to back up your claims.

ð        Is your writing style energetic and filled with action verbs to create impact? Try starting your achievements with actions words. For example increased, lifted, slashed, reduced, eliminated, grew. This will bring power to your resume and increase its effect on the reader.

ð        Does your resume include all licenses, qualifications, skills and credentials relevant to the job you seek?ð        Does it exclude all personal information, such as date of birth, marital status, etc. Make sure it avoids any negativities about past employers and never include reasons for leaving. Is your contact information up to date and accurate? Have you included your home phone, mobile number and email address.   

ð        Does the overall layout of your resume look pleasing to the eye? Is it clear, logical and free from jargon. Is the layout simple, well structured and professional? Avoid graphics, keep fonts simple (just 1-2 at the most) and keep plenty of white space. Is it error-free? Check for grammar, spelling errors and grammar consistency.  

ð        Is your resume scannable?  Ensure your layout can be scanned. No text boxes or graphics. True type fonts no less than 10 pt.

ð        Have you proof read your resume? Have you prepared a powerful cover letter to go with it? Are you using good quality paper? Have you developed a separate referees sheet and included on your resume “Referees Available on Request”.

 

If you have done all of the above – congratulations, you are now ready to start your job search. Good Luck!

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