At CAC, we often hear patients and survivors say that their cancer experience has served as a catalyst for personal and professional change in their lives. Although the idea of a career change can be an exciting prospect, it may also, understandably, produce feelings of self-doubt — especially if you decide to embark on an entirely new path. When reflecting on where you are vs. where you want to be, it might seem overwhelming to figure out how to cross that perceived divide. Fortunately, there’s a way!
By identifying and highlighting on a job application your transferable skills (i.e., ones you’ve obtained in previous positions that are pertinent to the new, desired role), you’re more likely to grab the attention of the hiring manager. A recent article by The Job Network offers great tips on using your transferable skills to make that leap into a new career:
Identify Relevant Transferable Skills: When you find a position you’d like to apply for, review the core competencies outlined in the job description and underline ones you think you possess. Be sure to consider expertise you’ve gained from previous jobs, volunteer gigs and hobbies (it all counts!) and determine how they connect with the position you’re targeting. Whether the job requires excellent communication skills or a high level of proficiency in Microsoft Office, think broadly and deeply about past professional experiences in which those abilities came into play.
Make ATS Work to Your Advantage: A lot of companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to extract keywords from applications that match with the language used in their posted job description. By identifying those keywords and incorporating them into your resume and cover letter, you’ll increase your chances of matching and getting an interview. (For help, download a copy of our Sample Keywords for Your Resume, from our Charts & Checklists page.)
Find the Best Way to Demonstrate Your Skills: Numbers can speak volumes! One way you can impress potential employers is to quantify your transferable skills. If you have leadership experience and that’s a prerequisite for the job, illustrate yours in a concrete way. For example, if you were ever in charge of a committee, indicate how many members you oversaw. If you were a supervisor, how many people did you manage?
For additional career-change tips and advice, watch our archived Balancing Work & Cancer webinar on Career Change, and read our article on “Cancer As Inspiration for Career Changes,” in the Looking for Work section of our website.
And for job-search advice, be sure to check out our Job Search webinar, along with these other CAC resources: