Today’s guest post is written by Peer Career Coach Wildaline Serin. See Wildaline in our Hermann Hall office or at a Career Corner campus outpost for more editorial and professional expertise!
AutoCAD, Rhino, MATLAB, Java, C++, C#: a technical slush of words, it seems, and the list goes on. I’m sure we’ve all seen these on a résumé before – but what about those other skills that we often don’t mention there? These skills are sometimes referred to as transferable skills. Many people struggle with translating what they have done in a creative way that sparks interest, and this can be the difference between landing your dream job and getting denied from a position. You can do all these amazing things and have all these skills with computer software and programming, but can you speak to a crowd of people and keep them engaged or talk about your interpersonal skills to a future employer? One downside of attending a technical university of over 7,000 students is that the 3 people sitting next to you applying for the same job can have the same sets of skills. So how do you set yourself apart?
This is a question I feel that many of us face as students at a technical university and the answer is quite simple: use your transferable skills. Transferable skills? Yes, the ones you didn’t even know you had or even used. The technical skills can be what the employer sees and what help you get to the interview, but obtaining a job in a field you feel passion for is ultimately the end goal. If you find it easy to talk to people about different topics or to lead a team project, then that is you using your transferable skills. Such skills include being able to fluently communicate, working well on teams and in group settings, leadership skills, and so much more.
“What if I’m not good at that stuff?” Well, with most things in life, practice makes perfect. Attending networking events and workshops can help you gain the confidence you need to pitch your story to others. There is a difference between telling an employer what you have done and showing them the impact an experience has made for you. Within your body language and in your writing they will be able to see that you care about whatever experience it may be. The main things companies use when hiring are résumés and cover letters. Within your cover letter, you should expand on experiences relevant to a position you are applying for. This is the first time an employer will get to see who you are before getting a chance to meet you. This is where you can talk about your adaptability during difficult times or how you work in teams to help solve problems. Don’t focus solely on the technical skills because your transferable skills are just as important. Although technical skills are vital it can be the transferable skills that will get an employer interested in what you have to offer during an interview.