How to highlight transferable skills on your resume

Post 1 photoLet’s get to the bottom of why laundry lists should stay in the laundry room, rather than on your resume.

Have you ever seen a professional resume that listed someone’s entire work history? If so, you probably got distracted or confused by irrelevant employment or volunteer experience, rather than clearly understanding if the person was a good fit for the specific job they applied for.

Even if scooping ice cream, restocking books at the library or dog walking are among the recent jobs you’ve had, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should include them alongside the relevant experience on your resume if you’re looking for a job in a different industry.

One way to figure out if you should include a job or volunteer role on your resume is to consider the relevant transferable skills you gained while working in it. For example, if you were a server in the past, did you wait tables for two months while backpacking in a foreign country? Or, did you work at one establishment for an extended period of time, increasing your responsibility by leading shifts or locking the doors at the end of the night? The latter scenario is ideal to include on your resume. It would be an opportunity to convey to a potential employer that you have valuable transferable skills and abilities, like leadership, managing others, dedication to succeeding in a job, and being responsible and trustworthy.

The key to understand the transferable skills and abilities that you’ve gained in previous roles that are required in the job you want, and then, clearly highlighting them on your resume. If the skills you gained in a past job don’t match up, get rid of the role that doesn’t relate. Don’t put past roles on your resume just to create a laundry list of every job you’ve had.

You might need to get creative if removing the irrelevant experience from your resume leaves gaps in your employment timeline. If this is the case for you, consider adding headers like “Relevant Experience,” which includes the roles in which you have gained skills related to the job in question, and “Other Experience” for everything else. This structure demonstrates that you’ve been employed consistently over the years.

What tips do you have for highlighting relevant transferable skills on a resume? Share in the comments.

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