Workwrite Resumes

Never underestimate the power of your transferable skills

When you don't have experience in your target position, write your resume around your transferable skills.

When you don’t have experience in your target position, write your resume around your transferable skills.

At first glance, her goal seemed out of reach.

She was a military spouse who had been home raising her children for 15 years. Her home hadn’t even stayed in one place as her family had followed her husband around the world, so she had few long-term roots anywhere.

Her training and early career in IT were sadly out of date, and she wasn’t interested in continuing in that field anyway. She wanted to change careers to event planning, worlds away from the COBOL and analysis of her work experience.

To make matters worse, she had only 1 year to work in our community. Her husband was being transferred out of state again, and she would be leaving in 12 months. Could I write a resume and help her land a job in event planning, she asked.

I’m just about the most optimistic person you’ll ever meet, and even I had my doubts.

So, I told her we would dig into every corner of her life to find material that supported her goal.

She had good reason for loving event planning. She had done it for years: Teas for visiting generals’ wives; banquets and balls for 300. She had organized entire community programs for families of military members overseas.Job Action Day badge

However, there was a hitch. As the spouse of a military member, she’d never been paid for any of these efforts. In fact, she had never held a job that required a single activity relevant to event planning.

We wrote the resume anyway, placing her volunteer work front and center, matching every requirement of her target job with an example.

She hand-carried her resume to her target company, placing it in the hands of an acquaintance she had met at one of her banquets. Rather than agreeing to hand it on, her contact marched her across the hall to the hiring manager’s office and introduced her then and there. She had an impromptu interview on the spot.

A week went by.

Two weeks went by.

She was convinced they had forgotten about her. I suggested she call the hiring manager, who said she had saved them a phone call and asked her to come in for an interview.

The resume had worked. They saw the value in her transferable skills, even though she had never spent a day at a paid event planning job in her life.

Better than that? She got the job.

Her hiring manager said they would rather have someone excellent for a year than someone mediocre forever.

If my client with not a day of paid experience can leverage transferable skills into a job, think what you can do.


If your resume won’t do this kind of heavy lifting for you, contact me today. We’ll put your transferable skills front and center, as well.


Skills image by Yoel Ben-Avraham via Creative Commons

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