Want a career shift? Uncover your transferable skills!

Want a career shift? Uncover your transferable skills!

Keep an open mind to uncover your transferable skills in your desired profession.

Writing a resume for a job similar to one you already have can be easy. However, you may wonder, “How do I get into a management position with no leadership positions?” or, you may wonder how you can switch career fields with the skills you already have.

All you need to do is allow yourself to be open-minded to find your transferable skills. 

Retail Manager turned Doctor?

When I was a twenty-one year old undergrad student at Arizona State University, I began to craft my C.V. for my medical school application. A lot of my friends got jobs in hospitals or within the school to bolster their application. I, however, kept the retail job that I had started when I was eighteen.

Now, I was absolutely volunteering and working in a microbiology lab twice a week, but I loved my job. I loved the people I worked with and it was fun. I was also promoted to a key-holder within my first year, so the pay was much better than I could have asked for as a college student without serving tables.

So, a question was posed: how do I parallel working in retail to skills that would deem me as being worthy enough of being a doctor?

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How I found my transferable skills for a new career

Before I began writing my C.V., I wrote a list of all of the skills that I learned as a key-holder in a retail establishment. Retail, after-all, isn’t all about selling. I was able to come up with a few transferable skills that applied to being a doctor.

  • Training new associates meant that I was a teacher. As a doctor, I would be teaching patients how to prevent and treat diseases.
  • I knew business analytics. Even though I knew my way around an excel-sheet and data-driven research, I could still apply my knowledge of business analytics to analyzing data within the clinic. If X and Y happened, what could we do to course-correct and prevent Z?
  • I spoke to hundreds of customers every day. I smiled and got to know my customers and was nice, even if they were having a bad day. This translates to having great bedside manner (and even empathy).

See? Not every skill is black and white. Sometimes you have to train your mind to allow yourself to see in a more broad perspective.

Imagine if I assumed that my experience in training new associates and knowing the drivers of a good selling day only meant I was proficient in retail management. I would have never been interviewed by ¼ of the schools I applied to and I would have never had the chance to step foot inside of a medical school, let alone take two years of the academia!

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Make a mind map to connect your transferable skills from your current position to your dream job!

You can apply this same thinking to your career search. Write out all of the skills that you have learned from your different jobs (or even hobbies!). Now, write down the career you want at the top of your sheet. Go ahead and allow yourself to brainstorm just how to connect the skills to your goal career.

Once you’ve found the “hidden” connection during your mapping session, you’ll be able to refresh your resume with ease!

Of course, if you have any questions or need help uncovering your transferable skills, leave a comment down below or tweet at me! I’d be happy to help you with your journey!

Bonus: Follow me on LinkedIn

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Great advice! You become infinitely more marketable when you learn to see your skills for the broad application they have, rather than only the specific use you put them to at your current position.

    1. I agree! Finally going to have a small mention of how I used the skills I learned in retail management to when I applied for medical school soon. 🙂

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