When it comes to applying for internships or graduate opportunities, you might feel like you’re lacking experience, especially relevant industry experience. Before you scroll past a great opportunity because you feel you don’t meet the brief, take a moment to reflect on what you do bring – you may have more to offer than you might think.
Regardless of your experience, you’ll have developed transferable skills – these are the skills you can take with you from one experience to another – whether you realise it or not.
You’ll have developed skills through your assignments and co-curricular activities, and these skills can be transferred to the workplace. You’ll have also gained transferable skills outside of uni, maybe through your experiences travelling, your participation in team sports, any volunteer work you’ve done, or your casual gig at the local café. Look at you go!
Employers often look for people who can demonstrate a good set of transferable skills. These might include hard skills, such as software proficiency, or soft skills, such as time-management, communication, teamwork, and problem solving. These skills are useful in many different work environments and are highly regarded by employers across all industries.
So, how do you demonstrate your transferable skills in a job application? I’m glad you asked – here’s three steps you can take to help you articulate your transferable skills.
Make a list of your proudest accomplishments from your past experiences. These can be from any area of your life, such as a part-time job, a uni project, or a club activity. For example, you might teach swimming to pre-schoolers, or you might oversee social media communications for a student club.
Identify the transferable skills you use in these activities. For instance, if you taught kids how to swim, you might be able to anticipate others’ needs and reactions or assess learning styles and respond accordingly. Or, if you oversee communications for a student club, you’ve probably developed strong written communication skills, initiative, and leadership. If you’re still unsure, here’s some more examples.
Once you’ve completed a stock-take of your experiences and corresponding transferable skills, learn to generalise your skills into language that can be applied to many different tasks. Remember, the transferable skills you highlight should be related to the position you’re applying for.
So, even if your experience seems unrelated to a role you’d like to apply for, articulate your transferable skills well and your net worth to a prospective employer has just increased!
One final tip: if you notice a transferable skill that you want but don’t yet have, make note of it, and then look for future opportunities to develop that skill.
If you would like to talk to someone about your transferable skills and how best to demonstrate them, contact the Careers Team.