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What can you do if you’re starting or changing your career and lack relevant experience?

IN Career, CVs
ON June 19, 2020

Has your job been impacted by COVID-19?  Have you used the last few months to think about what you want to do next?  Is a career change on the cards, by choice or not?

Transferable skills are the key here and they must not be underestimated.

They’re skills which can be applied to a range of jobs and industries, everyone has them.  We accumulate them over time from employment, voluntary work, and hobbies.

Transferable skills show the employer what you can bring to a role/company and how you’re a good fit.

The magic of these skills is that they highlight why you’re right for a role, even if you lack experience in that particular industry. They’re great if you’re looking to change career or if you’re just starting out on your employment journey.

So, how do you work out what your transferable skills are?

You need to identify the key skills that are sought after in the type of role you’re wanting to secure.

  • Go to job sites and search for the job role.
  • Read through the adverts, job description and person specifications.
  • Highlight the key skills required.
  • Pull together in a list, delete any duplicates and those skills that aren’t transferable and specific only to that industry/job e.g. a particular computer programme.

You can further identify your skills by talking to others and looking through references and appraisals.

There are certain skills that come up regularly and are always in demand, no matter what level you’re at in your career:

Communication: negotiation, influencing, reporting, listening, reading, writing

Teamwork: collaboration, relationship building

Leadership/Management: delegation, coaching, managing change, decision-making

Organisation: planning, meeting deadlines, prioritising, time management

Customer service: handling enquiries, resolving complaints

Finance: cash handling, setting/managing budgets

IT skills: common programmes such as Microsoft Office

Now you have your list, the really important action is to think of examples that demonstrate your ability in each one. 

Writing on your CV that you “possess excellent customer service skills” is too generic and not quantified.  Think of a situation when you have demonstrated this – what was the situation, what did you do, what was the outcome/impact on the business?  The improved version for your customer service skills could read something like this, “At (company), increased customer satisfaction by 20% in a month, by analysing customer feedback, seeking input from the team, and implementing new measures such as more regular training.”

So you have your transferable skills with examples, where do you put them in your CV?

  • In a bulleted profile at the top, underneath your name and contact details.
  • Add a “Key Skills” section below the profile and add in some of the key transferable skills.
  • In your “Career History” you can include some within each of your roles.
  • If you have acquired experience in any of the skills outside of work, include a “Voluntary Work” and/or “Interests” section.

Laura creates bespoke CVs that open doors to new opportunities. All CVs are personally tailored after a 121 consultation, and the simple process is delivered with empathy and professionalism. You can find more about at

If you would some key tips on how to quickly improve your CV, helping you feel more confident and on your way to landing a new job, take a look at this quick guide.

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