How to Work Transferable Skills Into Your Resume

By: Kristen Eckman

During the beginning stages of hiring, many employers, especially in the STEM fields, are focused on hard skills (i.e. specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured, such as the ability to use software programs). However, when determining the ultimate hirability of a candidate, soft or transferable skills are in the forefront of employers’ minds. If you feel your hard skills are lacking, or you want to differentiate yourself during the final stages, focus on the transferable skills you have to offer. 

What are Transferable Skills?

Transferable skills are the aptitude and knowledge that you acquire through any experience that can be transferred to future employment settings. According to Wikipedia, “A transferable skill is an ability or expertise which may be used in a variety of roles or occupations.” They are less tangible and harder to quantify than hard skills.

Examples include:

  • Interpersonal or customer service skills (such as diplomacy, negotiation, and collaboration)
  • Communication skills (such as writing, speaking, and presenting)
  • Leadership skills (such as delegation, scheduling, and training)
  • Self-Management (such as professionalism, organizational skills, and time-management skills)
  • Critical thinking (such as problem solving, decision making, and analysis)

Student writing

How Do I Identify or Gain Transferable Skills?

When identifying the transferable skills that you may already have, think about what past professors, teammates, or managers have said that you do well. Transferable skills can be gained from any experience including:

  • Education:
    • Completing academic projects and papers show research, analytical, and presentation skills
    • Group projects help you practice communication and collaboration skills
    • Managing a heavy class load or balancing school with work impart organizational skills and time management
  • Co-op:
    • Collaborating with multi-departmental teams instills communication and interpersonal skills
    • Taking the lead on a project teaches project management, problem solving, organizational skills, and the ability to prioritize and take initiative
    • Explaining complex technical points to laypeople uses communication skills
  • Unrelated Work Experience:
    • Supervising people demonstrates leadership, training, or delegation skills
    • Working on several stations or projects at once leads to skills in multi-tasking
    • Learning to be prompt, adhering to deadlines, and staying focused on work related duties are all aspects of professionalism
    • Interacting with customers, clients, or managers develops interpersonal and communication skills
  • Volunteering, Sports Team, Participating in an Organization, or a Personal Project/Hobby:
    • Depending on the experience, these can be opportunities to develop skills such as event planning, organization, team work, leadership, problem solving, negotiation, or teaching

How Do I Highlight Transferable Skills?

Examine job descriptions to see what employers in your industry value. Use the key words and action verbs mentioned in the job description on your resume and in your cover letter. Sometimes employers use applicant tracking systems or ATS to screen incoming resumes for keywords relevant to the particular job. Resumes that contain more of the keywords that employers are looking for will be ranked higher by the ATS. This is why it is a good idea to not only tailor each cover letter you send but each resume as well.

  • Resumes
    • Add a Leadership section to highlight supervisory experience, volunteer work, or group membership
    • Use strong actions verbs that convey your transferable skills to begin each bullet
    • See the Wentworth Action Verbs handout
  • Cover Letters
    • Tailor each cover letter to each job description by matching your transferable skills with the ones used in the job description.
    • Provide examples. Use scenarios and short stories to demonstrate the skills you have that are mentioned in the job description.
  • Interviews
    • Use your transferable skill examples when answering questions such as “Tell me about yourself”, “What are your strengths?”, and “Why should we hire you?”.
    • Share your examples that showcase how you used or developed the specific transferable skills that the employer is looking for. Organize your examples by using the PAR Method: Project + Action = Result.
    • At the end of the interview you may be asked, “Is there anything you would like to add that we didn’t get to discuss?”. This is a great opportunity to share your transferable skill examples that you didn’t get to mention.
    • Also at the end of the interview, you will be asked, “Do you have any questions for me?”. Ask, “What characteristics does a successful person have in this organization?”. Listen to the answer and then reply with your transferable skill example that matches the characteristics that they mentioned.
  • LinkedIn
    • List transferable skills in your skills section and get endorsements
    • Talk about skills you have gained from past experiences in your summary or experience section
    • Ask for recommendations from past managers that focus on your transferable skills
    • See the LinkedIn Cheat Sheet & the Wentworth LinkedIn Guide

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Advice from a Recruiter with Kyle Greenleaf from JLL

By: Ria Kalinowski

Assistant Director, Abbey Pober and I recently sat down with Kyle Greenleaf, a recruiter from JLL, to talk about their hiring processes. Kyle focuses on recruiting for industrial facilities management with a focus mainly on life science clients. JLL is a property consultancy company specializing in property services and investment management. In the past, they have posted both full and part-time positions on WITworks for students with degrees in Architecture, Business Management, and Construction Management.

Kyle looks at hundreds of resumes on a weekly basis. Customization of your resume is ESSENTIAL if you want to stand out.

What does he look for?

  • 50% prior relevant work experience
  • 50% what makes YOU unique

When recruiting for co-op or entry-level positions, Kyle understands that you probably won’t have much relevant work experience. He will definitely look at any prior co-ops and relevant academic projects, but soft skills are hugely important. He is looking for breadth of experience rather than depth of experience. Interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills are good to emphasize but it’s more important to know YOUR strengths and focus on those. Your experiences and your personality make you unique so don’t be afraid to highlight those aspects of yourself.

Huge positive flags for Kyle are volunteer experience and involvement in athletics. Unless your experience is additive or really exceptional, leave off musical instruments, drama involvement, and other outside interests.

 

What should students do to build their resume?

Kyle’s advice is to find ways to practice leadership skills: start a club, become a club president, volunteer for something new, etc. Every single day you should do one thing that terrifies you or pushes you out of your comfort zone.

Ways to do that at Wentworth include taking Leadership Institute, applying to become a student leader, attending Speakeasy (a public speaking practice forum that meets Mondays at noon in Accelerate), getting involved with Accelerate or EPIC, or joining or starting a club.

 

What if a student doesn’t have any experience?

For students with little or no experience Kyle advises them to “show up” to the CO-OP + CAREER Fair to get in front of hiring managers as a great starting point. Do research about the company to show your interest. Employers will inevitably ask, “what do you know about us?” or “what made you stop by our booth today?” and having a comprehensive answer will give you a great advantage. Start networking as soon as possible. Find someone in your major who is a senior and take them to lunch. Ask them what they regret not doing or are glad they took advantage of. Reach out to alumni to ask about their career choices and learn about possible career paths.

 

Kyle’s Quick Tips

  • Customize Your Application: Make sure your resume and cover letter show why you are a good fit for that particular position at that specific company.
  • You have 7 Seconds to make a good first impression: Smile, have a strong handshake, and practice your professional introduction.
  • Do Your Research: Whether you are writing a cover letter, heading to an interview, or attending a career fair, find out what the company does and determine why you are interested in them.
  • Write (Good!) Cover Letters: They are necessary to help sell your experience and how you fit the position. If 6 people apply and 5 people write a cover letter and you don’t, you aren’t getting the interview.
  • Reach out to Recruiters on LinkedIn: Send a connection request with this message, “I saw that JLL had an operations role posted and when I searched for recruiters at JLL, your name popped up. I’m not sure if you are specifically the right person to contact for this role, but I’d love to speak with you about it if you are. If you aren’t the right person, perhaps you could you point me in the right direction.”

 

Most Important Take Away

Kyle wants to remind all applicants to be passionate about the company and the position and show that passion! This is something I’ve heard from so many recruiters and hiring managers. The best employees understand the company’s mission and goals and have a strong passion for them. Recruiters don’t want to hire someone who wants A job, they want to hire someone who wants the SPECIFIC job they are hiring for. Contact your Co-op + Career Advisor for help with writing your cover letter and customizing answers to interview questions to show your passion.

 

To hear the entire conversation, check out the WITworks Radio Show here.

 

To make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617 989 4101 or stop by during Spring 2019 Drop-In Hours: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Applicant Tracking Systems and Professional Summaries

By Ria Kalinowski

When applying to full-time positions outside of WITworks, seniors and alumni need to tailor their resumes to each position they apply for to get their application past the Applicant Tracking System and into the hands of a human. Using a professional summary is a quick and easy way to do that!

 

What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

Almost every large company and many smaller companies use ATS software to scan, sort, and filter applicant resumes. Applicants are then ranked according to how they match the key words that employers are looking for. Customizing your resume is key in order to get your resume seen.

ATS Visula

 

Basic tips for beating an ATS

  • Keep formatting simple so the ATS can more easily scan your resume and match your skills with the correct dates.
  • Use standard headings such as “Education” and “Experience” so the ATS isn’t confused.
  • Avoid using tables, headers, and columns as these can cause errors within the ATS.
  • A PDF file is not compatible with all types of ATS software. Read the directions carefully when submitting your resume and unless “PDF” is listed among the file types accepted, stick to a Word document or plain-text file.
  • Use a Professional Summary as an additional way to include those key words employers are looking for and a quick way to tailor each resume you submit.

 

How to Write a Professional Summary

  • Where does it go:
    • Include your professional summary directly below your contact information so this is the first section employers see.
  • What does it look like:
    • Name your professional summary the title of the position you are applying for as long as it accurately represents your skills and experience or check out the summaries below for additional ideas.
    • Keep it brief! Limit your summary to 3-5 statements and avoid using “I” and other personal pronouns.
    • Use several statements in a paragraph form or a bulleted list.
  • What to include:
    • Optimize your keywords to be found! Include the job title you are applying for and the technical and transferable skills you possess that they ask for in the job description. Pay careful attention to words that are repeated often and try to include those in your summary and/or elsewhere on your resume.
    • Highlight your skills and experience that are directly related to the position that you are applying for.
    • Include major accomplishments and use numbers whenever possible.
    • Look at the positions you are applying for and use language directly from those job descriptions when appropriate.

ATS Visual

 

Additional ATS Resources:

How the Top 5 Applicant Tracking Systems Read Resumes Differently.

8 Things You Need to Know About Applicant Tracking Systems.

 

Sample Resume Summaries:

DevOps ENGINEER

Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering with 6 months work experience in building and testing video platforms. Strong programming skills in C, Java, and Python. Comprehensive debugging and troubleshooting skills. Proven ability to engineer complex solutions for scaling environments.

 

ELECTRICAL ENGINEER

Electrical Engineering graduate with a year of industry experience. Strong interest in power systems with demonstrated knowledge of building science and energy efficiency. Strengths include use of SolidWorks and AutoCAD when reading and editing project drawings. Proven ability to collaborate with multidisciplinary teams.

 

PROJECT MANAGER

Business Management student with 9 months of print project management experience and knowledge of web production obtained from internships in educational publishing and consumer packaging. Creative problem solver who has consistently completed projects on time and within budget. Employed a customer-focused approach which increased repeat business by 15% over the prior cycle. Available September 2019.

 

MECHANICAL ENGINEER

Results oriented mechanical engineer focused on design, prototyping, analysis, testing, documentation, and manufacturing support. Experienced in the fabrication of mechanical components, complex systems and mechanical devices. Strengths include:

  • SolidWorks for mechanical design
  • AutoCAD for process design
  • Rapid prototyping
  • New product development and introduction
  • Lean manufacturing

 

IT SPECIALIST

Wentworth Institute of Technology student offering a strong foundation in IT combined with 6 months of internship experience. Proven track record of providing Tier 1 & 2 support both in-person and remotely using ServiceNow. Skilled in explaining technical issues to non-technical end users. Experience with migration projects for both Macs and Windows. Creative troubleshooter with a customer service mindset.

 

BIOMEDICAL ENGINEER

Class of 2019 with minors in Manufacturing and Biology. More than a year of experience in the medical device industry. Strong interest in manufacturing and working knowledge of new and upcoming medical devices such as orthopedics, implants, and prosthetics.

 

CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGER

Results-driven construction and project manager with 8 months of management experience and 1+ years of experience in the construction industry. Skilled at comprehending and interpreting architectural and civil blueprint plans especially using Bluebeam. Experience with, or exposure to, various construction management situations including scheduling, contracts, problem reporting and resolution, management of subcontractors and site safety.

 

Spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair is Tuesday, March 19th! For events leading up to Career Fair, check out our Prep Week Schedule.

To make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617 989 4101 or stop by during spring 2019 Drop-In Hours: Monday, Tuedsday, and Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Stepping Out of Your Professional Comfort Zone

By: Abbey Pober

Image of ArrowsCom·fort zone / ˈkəmfərt zōn / noun: a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.

Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview once, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… in a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” I can think of no better example of a professional who has taken calculated risks in their career which have resulted in incredible professional learning and growth. Stepping outside your “comfort zone” is a risk that is known to lead to big rewards when done strategically. If your goal is growth in your career, professional development is key to your success.

Why do you want to push yourself to do something outside your professional normal? The reason that motivates you is personal, changes based on where you are in your career, and can range from wanting a promotion, to needing to build new skills. Some of the benefits to challenging yourself professionally include:

  • Building your confidence
  • Strengthening your resume
  • Opening doors to new opportunities
  • Gaining new perspectives that change the way you approach your work
  • Discovering something you love
  • Increasing your resiliency

So, how exactly do you step out of your comfort zone? Again, this looks different for everyone.  You should be looking for an opportunity that will push you to try something new, or that will strengthen a weakness you want to work on.  If your work has you sitting behind a computer all day without much human interaction, consider seeking out speaking engagements, or ask to run part of a meeting for your department/team. Or perhaps you are a person who can talk to a crowd all day but struggles to sit down and focus on tasks for a long time? You could ask to take on an important project that will require you to sit down, plan for, and complete tasks individually rather than in a group setting. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas:

  • Join a professional organization
  • Submit a proposal to present about something you are skilled at/an expert on at a conference
  • Reach out to someone you’ve been meaning to connect with
  • Write a blog/create something to share your expertise
  • Take a class that will challenge you

The important piece to stepping out of your comfort zone is taking the first step and doing it. When choosing what you will do to grow professionally, remember to be reasonable about the time and resources you must commit to it. Want to push yourself this semester? Consider joining a club/organization here at Wentworth, or reach out to your Co-op + Career Advisor to discuss ideas on how you can get involved off campus professionally.

To meet with a Co-op + Career advisor, make an appointment or swing by fall drop-in hours every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 1:30 – 4:00 PM. Our office is located at 101 Wentworth Hall. Feel free to contact us via email at coopsandcareers@wit.edu, or call us at 617-989-4101.

A Guide to Personal Branding

By: Hadley Hopkins

Hi there! I’m Hadley Hopkins the marketing intern here at CO-OPS + CAREER. As an advertising student, I am very concerned with branding. Not only of the brands I work for but also my own personal brand. Below I am going to walk you through the steps of how to brand yourself by using my own professional life as a model, so you can learn a little about me and a lot about creating your own personal brand.

You may be thinking, ‘what is a personal brand and why do I need one?’ A personal brand is a combination of your skills and experiences that make you who you are. So technically, you already have one, but by shaping it into a clear message you will be more confident in your strengths and potential employers will easily be able to see who you are and what you stand for.

Find Your Strengths

The first step to creating your brand is to evaluate your strengths. I did this by making a list of my best qualities including character traits as well as industry related skills. I tried to think of traits that are unique to me and would make me stand out:

  • Teamwork
  • Flexible
  • Multi-tasking
  • Teachable
  • Strategic thinker
  • Logo design
  • Making GIFs
  • Branding

Once you have you have your list of attributes it is important to think of evidence to support these claims. Recall situations or experiences that prove these traits are a strength, for example:

Multi-tasking/flexible – At my past internship, I was working on a design project that was interrupted because my supervisor realized a flyer needed to go out to print by the end of the day to be done in time for the event. So, I began working on that project but then had to stop in the middle to go take pictures of an event that was taking place. Although I took on many projects at once I was able to prioritize to give each one the attention it needed to finish everything in a timely manner.

Logo design – I have created various logo designs for different companies, clubs and organizations

Share Your Story

Another aspect of your brand that you will want to focus on is your story. How did you get to where you are? What makes you passionate about your field?  This allows people to know you on an emotional level and not just as a list of your accomplishments and skills. For me, I like to tell the story of how I decided to study advertising:

Advertising and graphic design have been a passion of mine since I created, branded and marketed my own energy drink “Spazz” for my 7th grade technology class.  I found the balance of creativity and logistic to be the perfect mix for my analytical yet artsy mind.

Show Off Your Quirks

An additional way to make your brand seem more personal is by showing off your quirks. These habits make you who you are and can add some “spice” to your brand. For me, the fact that I am a southerner now living in Boston makes for interesting tidbits, as well as my passion for different cultures:

I may be from Georgia, but I have definitely adopted the New England lifestyle. You can catch me sporting my Red Sox hat, and ‘Bean Boots with a Dunkin’ in hand but I will never give up saying y’all. I love all things food, travel and art.

Find Your “Take-away”

Once you have figured out the main aspects of your brand you will be able to create a key take-away that embodies everything you want to express to potential employers:

“I am an analytical, yet creative thinker who is flexible and has a passion for creating meaningful work that helps enhance a brand.”

Although you will probably never be asked in an interview what your mission statement is, this key takeaway can give you direction for materials that future employers will see such as your resume, cover letter, portfolio and LinkedIn profile.  When creating these materials, it is important to ask yourself: ‘does this align with my brand and is my mission statement well represented?’

Another way to strengthen your brand is through the look of your materials. It’s important that your resume, cover letter, portfolio, and LinkedIn profile are cohesive. I suggest sticking with the same font across all materials and make sure you use the same header for both your resume and cover letter. This will help future employers recognize you better across all platforms.

Here is an example of my LinkedIn profile:

Example of LinkedIn Profile

And an example of my resume that I feel represent my brand:

Example Resume

Creating a personal brand takes time and effort but is totally worth it!  With these steps I hope you can create a brand that is uniquely your own and will help you stand out to employers.

As always, we encourage you to stop by CO-OPS + CAREERS to discuss your questions with a Co-op + Career Advisor. You can make an appointment or swing by fall drop-in hours every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 1:30 – 4:00 PM. Our office is located at 101 Wentworth Hall.

Feel free to contact us via email at coopsandcareers@wit.edu, or call us at 617-989-4101. We look forward to connecting with you soon!