Transferable Skills Set You Free

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: April 13, 2003 - 11:00 PM

Afraid of being pigeonholed in one job for the rest of your life? Ever dreamed of switching industries altogether?

If you answered "Yes!" you're not alone.

A growing number of clients ask me to write resumes and cover letters to help them apply for jobs in two or more different industries. Sales managers interested in becoming IT project managers, for instance.

How is it done?

With transferable skills.

If you want to apply for different jobs, you'll need separate resumes and cover letters, emphasizing transferable skills. In other words, make it easy for employers to see that the skills you've been using (or studying) will transfer with you to your next job.

Here's an example.

Below are excerpts from two resumes I wrote for the same client. In the first, I've emphasized sales and marketing skills, along with revenue figures and profit margins:

"Manage operations for firm providing security services to corporate clients worldwide, with full P&L responsibility. Devised business plan, marketing strategy and training programs.

* Produce high margins on $5 million in sales with ongoing efforts to automate client relationships, invoicing and other operations using proprietary software and extranet."

In the second resume, I described the same job, this time focusing on IT and project management skills, to enable this person to try for a consulting position:

"Manage all operations for firm providing security services to corporate clients worldwide.

* Currently manage ASP project to port ERP system to Web server, enabling broader client access and new revenue streams."

When writing your resume and cover letter, first have a clear picture of the job you want. What skills, knowledge and experience are required?

Then, go through your experience and write down what you've done in light of what you want to do. Focus ONLY on the transferable skills and experience needed for your next job. Downplay or eliminate the rest.

When you do, your resumes and cover letters will give you the freedom to apply for different jobs in different industries.

Best of luck to you!


Kevin Donlin owns Minnesota based Guaranteed Résumé and writes a biweekly column providing job search and résumé writing advice. Reach him at the Guaranteed Résumé Web site: http://www.gresumes.com.
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