Transferable skills are an important part of anyone’s job search and career transition tool kit. They are called “transferable” because they are skills you can take with you wherever you go, from job to job or career to career. Your challenge is to help employers make the connection between what you’ve already done and what they need today.
Another important part of your handy-dandy tool kit is your LinkedIn profile. So let’s see how we can get transferable skills and LinkedIn to work together in harmony – and help you finally make that change you are looking for.
So where do you start?
First, do your homework. Take the time to research the field and related skills. Read articles. Check out job descriptions from various companies. Go to company and trade websites. Immerse yourself in the terms and concepts. You would want to so this anyway for your resume, networking, resumes and interviews, but now’s as good a time as any.
In column one, make a list of keywords and key concepts related to the field and job you are interested in. Feel free to borrow some phrases from job descriptions. Take some time to study the list. Now think about anything you’ve done that is similar, or in some way utilizes the same skills a new position in your field would require. Put those things in column two.
Now you’re ready to go to your LinkedIn profile and get creative. If you are determined to make a real change, you want your profile to speak to where you want to go, not just where you’ve been!
Adding transferable skills to your LinkedIn profile
- Skills & Expertise section – Here’s where you add some of the important buzz words (keywords) related to the field / job you want to get into. As long as you really have the skills and can back them up with solid experience, you can list them in LinkedIn’s skills & expertise section. Bonus points if you can get people to endorse you for them.
- LinkedIn Profile – Your profile also should reflect the same skills. While talking about actual experience, slant it to emphasize what you’ve done that easily transfers to the new direction. Does the field require sharp analytic skills? Make a point to emphasize an accomplishment using these skills, even if your previous job wasn’t primarily analytic.
- Recommendations – If possible, get some people to recommend you and specifically address one of the key transferable skills. This would be especially helpful from someone in the industry you want to get into.
- Groups – Join a few groups related to the industry you want to get into. You don’t have to be super-active in them, but good to show up now and then. You never know what you might learn, or whom you might meet.
Now, not only have you positioned yourself for where you want to go rather than where you’ve been, but you also help people who use the LinkedIn search feature (or even regular search engines) have a better chance of finding you. And when employers check out your LinkedIn profile, the transferable skills, bolstered by your resume and cover letter, help paint a more complete picture of someone who can do the job – and really wants to!
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