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So, You Want to Change Careers

6 Skills to Highlight During a Career Change

· Coaching,Leadership,Career

The days of staying in the same job or career field for decades are quickly fading away. Maybe you’ve recently graduated and landed your first job in your field, only to realize the work bores you to tears. Or perhaps you’ve been in the same industry for several years and need a new challenge. Whatever your reasoning, know you’re not alone. Between 2015 and 2016, 4% of the American workforce transferred to a different occupation.

Even with the statistics showing that career changes are common, you may get stuck when trying to translate your current skills to a different field. However, there are some transferrable skills valuable to employers regardless of your previous background. Here are some key skills to include in your resume during a career change.


The ability to communicate both written and verbally is highly desired by employers in all industries. They want to know that you can clearly express thoughts and ideas in a clear, concise manner. When you’re tailoring your resume to a job in a different field, be sure to mention instances where you effectively corresponded with staff, participated in outreach efforts, or actively listened to a need. Examples such as these can make up for industry-specific knowledge you may be lacking.

Problem Solving

Every job has challenges, and companies are looking for candidates who not only face those challenges head-on but find solutions quickly and efficiently. In your resume or interview, describe to the employer an incident where an unexpected issue came up and the strategies you used to successfully resolve it. This may take some fine tuning, so make a list of situations you can recall at previous jobs and specific contributions you made.

Human Relations

In a world where we are often tasked with producing a laundry list of credentials, one quality often overlooked is being able to relate to people. Striving to knock out all of your career goals is great but it’s just as admirable to help those around you along the way. Maybe you are known for sending inspirational quotes to your co-workers, or you bring in donuts at the end of the week for the office. It’s important to show that you do more than just punch a clock, complete your daily tasks, and go home. Let potential employers know you care about others!


A successful career requires a lot of individual and team effort. Some highlights you will want to include on your resume are group projects you participated in at work and how it helped your company. Being able to work with others and get the job done is no easy feat, so you’ll stand out from your competition if you have a reputation for being an effective team member.


Many job descriptions list the required tasks you will be asked to perform, and at the end of the list, mention that you may be asked to perform other tasks “as needed.” Almost every job requires you to wear several hats. Even if you work in IT, you may be tasked with doing admin work occasionally. Highlighting the items you have completed outside of your everyday routine proves you’re flexible and responsible enough to handle multiple duties.


Your potential employer likely has dozens of projects and documents to maintain on a daily basis, and they will count on you to take ownership of the workload. If you were solely responsible for keeping track of important paperwork in a previous role, be sure to note it on your resume.

Making a career change can be stressful, but don’t let the process intimidate you. Most employers won’t expect you to know every single thing about the position. If you can prove you have basic soft skills and a willingness to learn, you’ll be settling into your new career field in no time. Should you need further assistance, the EmpowerU team has expertise in creating resumes specifically tailored to those looking for a career change. Visit the website or e-mail for details!

Written by K. Wright, who is a personal finance and lifestyle blogger. She writes about topics including personal development, education, and building generational wealth. See more of her writing on her website or follow her on Facebook.

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