Three actions you need to take if you’re changing your career and lack relevant experience

Looking for a new job or career but lack relevant experience? Here are three actions you need to take.

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?

If so, you’ll need to demonstrate you have the skills required when applying for a new role. But what if you haven’t got these skills currently? The answer lies in your transferable skills.

Transferable skills are the secret to opening doors on careers and roles that wold otherwise be closed to you. But they’re often overlooked by job hunters.

We accumulate many skills over time from employment, voluntary work, and hobbies. And they can usually be applied to a range of jobs and industries. They 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. Here’s what CV writer Laura Harmsworth from Caversham CV Writing recommends you do to find and use your transferable skills.

1) Identify your skills

As a first step, 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 such as Indeed/Monster and search 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.

Seven in-demand skills to consider

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

You can use these seven as a starting point:

  1. Communication: Negotiation, influencing, reporting, listening, reading, writing
  2. Teamwork: Collaboration, relationship building
  3. Leadership/management: Delegation, coaching, managing change, decision-making
  4. Organisation: Planning, meeting deadlines, prioritising, time management
  5. Customer service: Handling enquiries, resolving complaints
  6. Finance: Cash handling, setting/managing budgets
  7. IT skills: Common programmes such as Microsoft Office

2) Demonstrate your ability in each skill with examples

It’s not enough to simply say you have a skill, you need to demonstrate it. Writing 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:

“At (company), I 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.”

3) Put your skills in your CV

Now you have your skills, with examples, where can you put them? Here’s where to add them to 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.

If you would like further tips on how to improve your CV, download Laura’s checklist here.

Photo by Free To Use Sounds