Experience? No Problem!
Transferable Skills on a Graduate Resume
and new graduates often feel they have nothing to include on
a resume when conducting job search and for using with job
applications. College students' work experience is often
seemingly unrelated to their job targets, and aside from
that, the only information left to include is education.
However, while this may seem like the case, it simply isn't
One method of approaching a college student or new graduate
resume is to focus on transferable skills. These skills are
applicable to different situations. The ability to
communicate well, for example, is a skill that is useful in
any industry or position. Other transferable skills may
include the ability to work well with numbers, sales skills,
or an ability to solve problems by looking at the big
picture. These are only a few examples.
How do you list transferable skills? There are a number of
ways to include transferable skills in your resume, job
application, and cover letter. The following are some tips
for various sections of the resume.
The Summary or Profile
Objective statements are out. Profiles are in. Open with a
brief introductory paragraph describing your most "sellable"
points. Briefly list transferable skills here, or present
them in a keyword summary list. This is exactly as it
sounds: a list of keywords. Use those that show your
Depending on your college major, you likely had to write
papers, complete projects, or both. What were the outcomes
of these? Did you conduct comprehensive research on a
subject? Design an engineering plan? Were these published or
put into use in the "real world"? Use as much of your
educational experience to your advantage. You can also
include a summary of coursework, which often demonstrates
transferable skills that are used in the educational setting
and in the world of business.
Many college students have a work history unrelated to their
targeted field. If this is true for you, take heart. You can
include many transferable skills on your college or new
graduate resume. At the most basic, you likely gained
professional skills such as dependability, working with
others, collaborating on projects, communicating with
clients or customers, and much more. Your work history may
not be as unrelated as it first seems.
Any volunteer work or memberships may lead to transferable
skills. Just as your employment history helps you learn
transferable skills, so too does volunteer work. It also
demonstrates a commitment to helping others. If you've
fulfilled any roles in a professional organization, this too
can show transferable (and sometimes directly related)
When you take the time to thoroughly review your experience,
education, and other related activities, you will discover a
number of transferable skills. Use these to your advantage!
Your resume, college application, job application, or cover
letter will be much stronger for it.
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