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365 Ways to Start Over: Day #31 – Reboot Your Transferable Skills

Everyone who has ever wanted to make a change has felt the pains associated with taking risk. If the change is in your career, you face a pointed dilemma. You want to change careers but:

1) You keep telling yourself you are not qualified for another career.
2) The career skills listed on your resume do not demonstrate that you are qualified for a position you seek.

Reboot What’s In Your Head: The first thing to do is defray the “head trash” that keeps telling you, “I don’t have the skills to do that job!”

In the words of Henry Ford remember, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” If you listen to the head trash you will not have the:

Confidence to apply for “stretch” jobs
Empowerment to acquire and hone new skills
Focus to consider new opportunities for networking and jobs

So what do you do with the head trash that keeps telling you that you don’t have the skills to try something new?

Define your transferable skills that may be applied to any job.
Practice how to describe them in an interview or networking situation.
Assure the voice in your head, which is trying to protect you from failure, that you have the right skills as defined above to be an asset to any organization!

Reboot Your Resume: Tailor every resume, cover letter and application to the requirements of the job.

Dates of Employment: Include dates of promotions and unscheduled raises
Responsibilities: Include key accomplishments that apply to new job
Software and other skills: Include how transferable skills helped accomplish the company’s mission

“Transferable skills” Are Employability Skills – the skills that you have that can be applied in another setting. Your resume should feature “transferable skills” and “measurable accomplishments” utilizing those skills. Example: Built a department of 15 direct reports and within six months was able to increase sales 11%.

If your skills and knowledge are valuable to only one employer, you are in trouble. Sooner or later your employer will no longer be interested in buying those skills or can get someone new to do them for less, and you will have no place else to put them to use.

Transferable Skills Fall into Three Categories:

1. Communication
2. Organization of People and Information
3. Operation/Fixing of Systems and Equipment

Examples of Communication Transferable Skills:

Speaking effectively,
Writing concisely
Selling
Building consensus
Facilitating group discussion
Negotiating
Perceiving nonverbal messages
Reporting information
Interviewing
Editing
Inspiring and motivating people to act
Developing rapport
Listening
Providing support for others
Delegating with respect
Train others
Managing conflict
Delegate responsibility
Evaluate Your Own Work and that of others
Handle complaints
Networking

Examples of Organization of People and Information Transferable Skills:

Forecasting and predicting
Creating ideas
Identifying problems
Creating solutions
Analyzing alternatives
Identifying resources
Creating plans
Defining process
Setting goals
Defining needs
Developing evaluation strategies
Attend to detail
Make sound decisions
Coach
Manage change
Attend to visual and auditory detail
Keep records
Research
Can meet deadlines
Crisis management
Time Management
Ability to think and act independently
Create and implement strategy
Independent learning

Examples of Operation/Fixing of Systems and Equipment Transferable Skills:

Install software
Engineer systems
Coordinate equipment interfaces
Manage a sound system
Manage lighting system
Manage facilities operations – HVAC, utilities, etc.
Build things
Install appliances
Interface technology
Compare systems
Commercial and residential real estate construction
Repair equipment/machinery/appliances/technology

After you make a list of your transferable skill, make a note as to what measurable accomplishment you achieved when you applied that skill. Example: Managed eight direct reports and increased productivity 5% in the first quarter.

Read the prospective job description for every job you seek and tailor your resume and cover letter for each position. Identify your transferable skills and highlight them in a custom resume for each position you seek. Write a Professional Summary that tells which transferable skills are applicable to the position you are seeking. Identify not only the transferable skills but also the measurable accomplishments you achieved when you applied those skills. Network with individuals in the line of work you seek and in prospective companies.

When people ask, “What do you do?” don’t say, “I’m looking to change jobs” or “I am unemployed right now.” You might say, “I’m seeking my next opportunity to apply my ________________(transferable skills) to help a company _______________ (key accomplishment) like I did in my last position.” Or “I’m looking to apply my sales skills to help a company increase sales 15% or greater as I did in my last position.”

Having a “can-do” attitude, knowing your transferable kills and being able to describe them is the first step to making a career change. Start now!

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Mary Lee Gannon is the president of Gannon Group – an executive coaching and consulting firm that produces higher individual and organizational performance through Executive Leadership Coaching, Fundraising Coaching, Organizational Development, Board Retreats, Visioning, and Planning. Mary Lee’s personal turnaround came as a stay-at-home mother, with four children under seven-years-old, who endured a divorce that took she and the children from the country club life to public assistance from where within a short time she worked up to the level of CEO. Her book “Starting Over – 25 Rules for When You’ve Bottomed Out” is available in bookstores or at Amazon. Get her FREE ebook – “Grow Productivity – A Leader’s Toolbox” on her web site at www.StartingOverNow.com.

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