Writing your CV for the first job after college is not easy. The thought of “lack of work experience” is stressful. However, you are applying for an entry-level job. You are not expected to have a lot or any work experience.
The even scarier part is the thought of thousands of other applicants for the job. To stand out from the huge stack of resumes, yours must be impressive. While you may not have a past work history, you still carry lots of transferable skills.
Transferable skills or portable skills do not belong to one particular niche of business. These are the expertise that might be used in various roles. To the surprise of recent graduates, many of them have no idea about transferable skills that they carry.
You learn such skills as a student while participating in various curricular and extra-curricular activities. If you have had a part-time working stint during graduation, you are sure to have picked various skills. Not only such skills cover blank spaces on your resume.
They help you stand out among many other applicants. When applying for the first job, a well-written resume that displays an admirable set of portable skills is key to land the interview. Here is how you can add transferable skills in your resume.
Finding Your Transferable Skills
Finding your transferable skills is important while applying for the first job. It is nice when others point out how good you’re at something. You must, however, be familiar with your best attributes. There are various ways to find your transferable skills.
Think about your cloud nine moments:
- There is a lot hidden behind your happiness and success stories. Think about the moments when you were praised heavily for something. This includes getting rewarded in School or winning a prize in a competition.
- For example, someone who has won numerous awards for great debating at various levels has “communication” as a transferable skill. Similarly, a student who is great at writing essays has good written communicational skills. The idea is to look back at your achievements and realise the strong basic attributes behind them.
Think, reflect and get familiar with your skills:
- Think about your personality and the way you act around your friends, teachers, family or any social gathering. Think about how you act while playing a team sport. This helps you understand many of your hidden skills.
- For instance, if you have always been a captain of the football team, you are probably good at team management. If you enjoy taking responsibility and lead a group of people, you’re a born leader.
- However, if you’re a person who avoids being a part of social gatherings or hesitates in taking over people and responsibilities. It is an opportunity for you to do the necessary and become more confident and outgoing. Take your time to think about all the possible attributes that you carry. Write them down on a paper.
Look back at part-time jobs/freelance works:
- If you have worked a part-time job during school, you carry so many qualities that you are probably not even aware of. It might indicate how good of a team-player (team-worker) are you.
- A team player is an admirable transferable skill. Think about incidents where you were asked to perform certain tasks that were not part of your duties. Think about all the fun or challenging moments at your part-time job stint.
- If you have worked as a freelance professional, chances are that you picked various hidden transferable skills other than professional ones. For example, how you manage your deadlines.
Working as a volunteer:
- Volunteer work usually involves working with many other like-minded people. In such an ensemble, think about what made you or any fellow student stand out from the crowd. Such experience can teach or polish many skills.
- Volunteer works put together many creative minds in one place. This helps you understand how you react in an environment surrounded by like-minded people. The key is to identify the attributes that help you beat the crowd.
Consider academic life:
- Of course, the main focus of your resume is about the skills that you have learned with your college degree. However, you learn many portable skills while hustling through the academic life. Academics push your creativity and help you come up with your best.
Think about challenging moments:
- Lastly, think about all those challenging moments during part-time work or school. Think about how you act while under pressure. How do you cope with the anxiety of approaching deadlines?
- The skills that you’re looking for here are “ability to work under pressure” and “time management” among a few other skills. If you have not worked before, simply think about the times when you were under severe pressure or stress during college.
- For instance, think about the anxiety of the upcoming deadline to submit an application and how you dealt with it. Or the moments when you did something wrong. How did you try to make amend?
- The fact is, often, we witness the best version of us under the worst circumstances. Such moments give you a great idea of how well can you perform under challenging situations.
Understand Which Skills Fit the Criteria
Alright, now that you know about your transferable skills. You must learn to understand which skill an employer is looking for. Take your time to understand the job role before beginning to write your resume.
Thoroughly read the job ad. Go through the part that states “desired skills” for the role that you’re applying for. Interviewers do not read the complete resume at times. They look for your skillset and if it is matching, you’re called for the interview.
Therefore, you must list the skills that are required or relevant for the role that you’re applying. At times, the job ads might not be too detailed. For the same, you must read between lines and prepare the resume accordingly. Many job ads contain jargon such as “fast-paced environment”.
Decoding a job ad can be tricky but it is essential. Take the help of the internet to understand such terms. Once you have a fair idea of the skills desired, you can look up to your set of transferable skills and highlight the relevant ones.
Go, nail that resume and interview. Good luck!