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When you are working in a job or field you don’t enjoy it can be hard to see yourself being able to get employment in another area. The key to moving from one field to another field, job or working for yourself is utilizing transferable skills. By showing you have the skills to do the job you can demonstrate exactly how you are qualified for the job.

First, it helps to understand what transferable skills are, and how they will help your future.

You will want to sit down and write out what transferable skills you have. As you read this post, think how your very real skills can be applied to the work you want to be doing.

What are Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are those skills that can be applied in many different ways. They can be used in different situations or different types of work.

For example, let’s say you have an ability to communicate well with customers working from working in customer service. This skill can also be applied when communicating with customers or clients as a freelancer.

Just because you aren’t using these skills the same way you did before, doesn’t mean you don’t still have the skills.

Figuring out which skills you have that are transferable requires you to think about all of your work experience in a different way. You have to think about the tasks you mastered rather than why you were performing those tasks.

It can be tricky to change your mindset. You likely always thought about performing these tasks in the course of performing your job duties. A helpful hint: Look at a job board. What job looks like something you would like to do? What looks interesting?

Now, write everything you know about doing this job. Keep remembering that nearly every job in every field shares some of the same tasks, and requires the same skills.

Don’t Discount Your Previous Work

If you are struggling to come up with transferable skills, make sure you are not discounting any of your previous work. Write everything down. Include the babysitting job you had at 14 or the volunteer work you do now.

Somewhere in your history is a skill that can be dusted off and used. So dust it off and apply it to what you are doing now or what you want to be doing.

Think about skills more broadly. Such as the skill of being able to juggle multiple projects. This skill could come from babysitting multiple kids.

Do you have a great attention to detail? Do you have the ability to work with a very diverse group of people? Maybe you learned that from volunteering at the homeless shelter?

Maybe you are great at sales, but you want to transition into consulting. To be good at sales you have to be good at honing in on the customer’s problem. You also have to be good at figuring out their desired solution.

If you are good at talking to people and getting them to express their problems and concerns, this skill can be essential to consulting on a project.

How You Can Use Transferable Skills To Change Careers

Once you know what tasks or skills you’ve mastered, you can string the hand full of skills together to start looking for the job or work in the field of your choice.

Knowing what transferable skills you have makes it easier to look at jobs and see how you are qualified, even if you haven’t had direct experience.

The key is to be able to explain how your experience applies to the role you are pursuing. This may take some practice. Show the relevance of your previous role as it applies to the field in which you want to work.

You need to explain how those skills are transferable, though it’s best not to mention that you don’t have direct experience. Emphasize how your skills transfer and it will show that you really have tons of applicable experience — and you do.

Bottom Line

Just because you don’t have direct experience in the field you want to work in doesn’t mean you aren’t qualified for the work.

You have transferable skills that will help you be successful in whatever work you choose to

Convincing people that your skills qualify you for the job is showing yourself in the best light. If you have prepared beforehand, you will be ready to explain how you are the best possible applicant they can hire. 

Liz is a writer for hire, specializing in personal finance, entrepreneurship, and legal issues. She shares her own journey to debt freedom and helps graduates dealing with above average student loan debt on her site, Less Debt More Wine. She currently resides in NC after calling Massachusetts home for nearly a decade.

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