Assessing your Transferable Skills

Employers seek candidates who have related "transferable" skills even if those strengths were developed in unrelated settings. Once you have identified a possible career goal, it's a good idea to research the skills that that field requires and to start intentionally building them through your classes, work, and activities.

Make a detailed list of the tasks the job requires by looking the field up on O*Net and by searching for current openings in the field. Try to list at least 10 such tasks, always starting each with a verb (for example, “plan educational events for children”). Beside each task, list as many ways as possible that you have done related tasks in the past, whether through the classroom, work experience, or extracurricular activities. Use the “Experience” tool to help jog your memory. When you have completed this form, remember to include at least one bullet related to each task as you write your résumé.

Tasks related to my career goal:
Ways I have done something similar, including where I did them:

How Did You Do?

How many of the tasks in the box above have you done in some way before, even if in an unrelated setting? (Note that highly selective employers may expect a greater level of expertise and may require more obviously related background than might be true with other employers.)

Most/All - Generally, employers expect you to meet 80% or more of the job ad's requirements to consider interviewing you, so you can start applying! Be sure to highlight the skills they are seeking in your resume and cover letter.

Many - You're doing well. Continue to seek ways to gain skills related to your field both at work and in your activities.

Some - While you may not have had a lot of time to build skills yet, you seem to understand how to think like an employer and how to make the most of your background. Seek help from the Career Center to identify ways of building skills related to your career field.

Few - You may not have a career goal yet or have not had the opportunity to work. See the tips below.

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Tips To Build Your Transferable Skills:

Find at least one internship! Visit the Office of Experiential Learning or the BSP to get help with the search.

Look for ways to be given additional responsibility in your current activities and jobs.

Work to clarify your sense of what the field requires by having an informational interview with an alumnus/in the profession. Ask them for strategies to gain related skills.

Use O*Net to identify skills employers are seeking.

Search for people in the field on LinkedIn and note the types of skills they list in their profile as well as the settings in which they gained those skills.

Record your progress on your co-curricular portfolio under interpersonal development.