Transferable Skills: How to Talk About Transferable Skills in a Job Interview
Job interviews are a great chance for job seekers to make sure that their strongest "transferable" job skills are given a chance to shine. By using relevant transferable skills, those solid skills you've used in other ways and places, you can help the interviewer see that you are right for the job – even if at first glance there may be questions.
Totally relevant past experience isn't always obvious to an employer. That's where you make it your job to help employers see the connections!
Laying the transferable skills job search groundwork
Before you even get to your job interview, your transferable skills come into play when writing your resume and cover letter. And they need to be matched carefully to the job that you're applying for.
The basic resume that you may be using needs to be adjusted to emphasize the most important skills and experience that the employer is looking for. And that includes skills from prior jobs that may not, at first glance, look like they could help at all.
Perhaps more importantly, it includes those skills and accomplishments that you assume any employer would easily connect to the new job, that might be missed in a first screening of your resume – maybe the only chance it ever gets. When it comes to your resume and cover letter, it's probably a good idea not to assume anything.
Connect the dots for the employer carefully and clearly. Makes it easy for them to see your aptitude and skills as they relate directly to what they will be asking you to do. And, where you can, use transferable skills (see links below for more information) to help you target your resume, as well as your cover letter.
When To Use Transferable Skills in Your Job Interview
When you're answering interview questions, you want to look for places where you can show your potential employer not only the things you've done that are most obviously matched to the job opening, but this is also a place to weave into your story those things you've done in the past that emphasize the same types of skills.
For instance, if you're going for a business analyst job, in addition to any specific business analyst experience (which of course is great to have), you can add times in the past when you spotted problems and helped come up with business process improvements that saved the day.
I would much rather hire someone who uses these skills creatively wherever they are, and not just in a linear way within the context of some job requirement. If you tell a unified career story within your interview (the same one you told in your resume and cover letter), they get to see the whole person – and it will go a long way toward helping them feel sure that you are in fact the one they want to hire.
So wherever possible, from resume and cover letter, all the way through to your last interview (hopefully the one that solidifies the job offer), use your transferable skills to help round out the picture of who you really are.