Konstantin Narkhov
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How can career changers leverage their soft skills?

17, may 2021

This is article from our Career Karma partners — check out their site, if you're looking for the new job or want to figure out vacancies trends.


As a career changer, you will have some things working against you, like the fact that you are probably older than other job candidates and have no experience in the industry. So, you should pinpoint every strength and skill you have and exploit them. One of your advantages is your soft skills. Here is how you can leverage them to make your work transition easier.


Identify your soft skills

Soft or interpersonal skills are the abilities you have that help you interact with other people. In a work environment, soft skills are essential for teamwork and collaboration. Sometimes, professionals put all of their effort into developing technical skills and knowledge in their field.

But knowing how to interact with others is as essential as having the right qualifications. You should identify which are your strongest soft skills so you can use them to your advantage when applying to jobs in a new industry. Here are some common soft skills that employers will be looking for.

1. Communication

Today, excellent written and oral communication skills are a must-have in many industries. Being a good communicator will help you transmit ideas correctly and understand what other people are asking of you. As part of a large team, communication is even more important to make sure operations run smoothly.

With the increase in technology in our day-to-day life, you should also become familiar with different ways of communicating, like email and video calling. If you are in a career where you have to constantly deal with clients, communication is even more critical.

2. Adaptability

Adaptability in the workspace means being able to change along with new situations without letting it impact your performance and productivity. You may be a knowledgeable employee, but if you crumble under pressure and don’t know how to act in a new situation, you could end up losing your.

Employers want employees that can respond to any situation, with this year bringing extra pressure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With many stressful situations generated by the virus, employers want workers who can carry on even if they have to work remotely.

3. Leadership

Leadership skills are desired by many employers. Even if you aren’t applying to a managerial position, having leadership skills means that you can influence and inspire your co-workers to do better. There are different types of leaders, but all types are acceptable as long as you are motivating and inspiring others to work toward a goal.

4. Organization

Being organized is part of what makes a good employee. The organization will help you meet deadlines, reach your goals, and comply with your responsibilities. Also, this skill is essential for good time management.

Using your organizational skills will also allow you to make sure you do not waste energy on tasks that are not a priority. Some careers that require organizational skills include product management, real estate agent, and database administrators.


Consider how they will adapt to the new career

After you identify your soft skills, you can use them to guide you toward making the right career choice. You can look for careers where you will rely on the interpersonal skills you have. For example, if you are good at communicating and influencing others, you could choose a career in sales or dealing with customers. This will make your transition more manageable because you will only need to learn the relevant technical skills.


Which skills is the employer looking for?

When you are a career changer applying to jobs, one of the things you have to pay attention to is which skills are mentioned in the job description. Every time you apply for a job, you should carefully read which interpersonal skills employers are looking for. Then, compare them with the skills you know you have and make sure you highlight them in your application.

For example, if you see in the job description that they are looking for someone self-sufficient and with excellent written and communication skills, you should highlight those in your resume and explain in your experience section which job you practiced those skills in. For example, if you are self-sufficient, maybe you have relevant remote working experience that you should include.


Take advantage of the cover letter

Even though you can highlight and give brief details of your skills in your resume, you shouldn’t make it too long. Instead, make a career change cover letter to tell the employer your story. You can explain further how your past work experiences taught you skills that will come in handy and add value to their company.

You can also talk more about why you decided to change careers and how you are more driven than other candidates. The cover letter will help you create a connection with the employer that a resume can’t accomplish.


Bring them up during interviews

You can also leverage your soft skills through interviews. If you can make it to the first interview, you can take advantage of the meeting to further explain your soft skills. One of your advantages is that even though you are an entry-level candidate, you have some experience working for a company. Explain how your soft skills will make you the perfect candidate regardless of your lack of industry experience.


In summary

Leveraging your soft skills will help you make your career change successful. First, identify these skills and use them to guide you toward making a career choice that fits. You can then emphasize these skills when applying to new jobs by mentioning them in your resume and bringing them up in interviews. Remember to take advantage of your cover letter to go deep and add value to your story. 

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