Careers advice

How to write a transferable skills CV

A solid transferable skills-based CV can make it easier to switch careers.

Covid-19 has changed the job hunting landscape in NZ. Among the many impacts is the fact that jobs in certain sectors are harder to find.

So, if the field you normally work in has been hit hard, and you’re looking at roles in unfamiliar industries, how can you adapt your CV?

This is when you draw on your transferable, or soft, skills. These are abilities that are relevant in any role, and today we’re going to look at how to build a CV with your transferable skills at its heart.

Tips for writing a CV that highlights transferable skills

1. Know your strengths

Not everyone has the same range of transferable skills, so you’ll need to have an honest think about where your strengths lie.

For some inspiration, here’s a list of some of the transferable skills that employers value most in candidates. However, you’ll need to be able to back up any claims of soft strength greatness with real life examples, so just adding this list to your CV isn’t a great idea.

Bonus tip: we recently spoke to Auckland-based recruitment manager Sam Stevens about how Covid-19 has impacted what businesses are looking for right now. She suggested that resilience and adaptability were particularly sought after by employers at the moment, due to the uncertain and unsettling times businesses are going through.

Is communication one of your key soft skills?

2. Study job adverts carefully

Once you have a list of your core transferable skills, it’s time to determine which are most applicable to the jobs you’re looking at.

As always with a CV, you need to tailor what you include to suit the specific role on offer. In other words, if you’ve got a long list of soft skills, you don’t need to try and cram them all in – cherry pick those that are most relevant.

3. Know where to include your transferable skills

The good news is you don’t have to start from scratch when laying out a transferable skills-based CV, meaning you can use a standard CV template to highlight your transferable skills.

You have two options for where get your transferable skills onto your CV, and these are not either/or, we recommend you do both:

Your personal statement:

This is where you summarise your key skills, strengths and passions to give the reader a quick overview of who you are and what you’re about.

Here’s an example of how this might look on a transferable skills CV for a healthcare administration role:

“I’m an experienced and detail-oriented communicator with previous experience in hotel administration. I thrive in fast-paced environments where I’m required to think on my feet, and love interacting with customers to provide them with a consistently excellent standard of service”.

In your work experience section:

Use the work experience section of your CV to give specific examples of how your transferable skills have helped you in previous roles. Remember, on a CV, you should be using bullet points, so keep things nice and concise. Here are some examples:

  • Analysing financial data and communicating its significance to the wider business.
  • Helping new staff members become familiar with site health and safety protocols.
  • Recognising and adapting to changing business opportunities to grow revenue.
  • Working with stakeholders from different departments to clear progress roadblocks.