You’ve never needed a top notch recruiter more than when you are relying on your transferable skills to change roles. Sure, I’m biased, but here’s why it’s irrevocably true.

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By transferable, we mean good at communicating, engaging, motivating, and great at building relationships and avoiding conflict. They are sometimes called soft skills, but it would be better to call them core people skills. Why? Because who’s going to sell more fruit? The charismatic man with the mediocre apples or the guy with no social skills and the perfect ones? My guess is the former.

It’s soft skills that leverage and monetise technical skills. It’s soft skills that sell and retain clients. Soft skills are fundamental but here’s the bad news: they aren’t so easy to get across on a CV. Soft skills have to be seen or pointed out and that’s where a recruiter comes in.

Any type of promoting and endorsing is actually just sales and that’s what an efficient recruiter is doing; selling you in to the right company. They will have the edge over you nearly 100% of the time. You may have the decision maker’s email, but the recruiter has their ear. If they are happy to say you can do the role, you are halfway there.

If you are interested in moving to a totally different job but want to get in by promoting your transferable skills, then you need to get used to the phrase: ‘and this means that’ for any interview.

Example: ‘I’ve worked as a hotel receptionist for two years but I win a lot of awards for customer service and up-sell half of our clients to suites and spa packages which means that I’d be a great account executive.’

You need to back everything up. Assuming that the interviewer will realise the necessary skills involved in your roles is a risky option.

If you must apply via paper, the jury is out regarding the type of CV to use. Some still recommend the traditional format which shows work experience in a chronological order; others something which more obviously lists skills. If in doubt, I recommend the former. People are comfortable with the familiar and a well-written covering letter is a great way to make valid points about your suitability for the role.

As a side note, if you do plan to swap industry or role, try to have a plan. A few diversions can show personality and a breadth of experience. Numerous just looks like job hopping.

Creativity, teamwork and initiative are some of the cornerstones of a good employee and good leader. Any business you want to join should be able to quickly realise your potential if you get to see them.

It helps, of course, if it’s measurable. If you have hit targets, tell them. If you have managed people, tell them. A good sales person is a good sales person. Same with regard to people managers. It’s not your skills that will let you down, it’s getting into a position to tell people about them. A good recruiter will always see potential. Great candidates are hard to find.

Everything has to be in context. No one is using soft skills to get from receptionist to astrophysicist, but if it’s a role with soft skills at its core and you can explain why you’d be such a great fit, it’s not rocket science, it’s easy work.

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