How to Highlight Technical Transferable Skills for Any Role
Are you an engineer who’s disenchanted with engineering? Maybe you’re a programmer who’s peeved with programming? Career changes are a part of professional life now more than ever, even if you’re “simply” moving from a technical career path to a managerial one in your current field. Unfortunately, technical professionals are sometimes stereotyped as lacking the kinds of soft skills that employers like to see in non-technical roles.
Employers sometimes believe – mistakenly – that technical people, while great when it comes to the nuts and bolts of particular products and other pragmatic problems, are not practiced enough in the delicacies of dealing with people. They assume not only that “soft skills” is synonymous with “transferable skills”, but that these skills are innate rather than learned (or learnable).
So if you’re a technical professional trying to transition into a non-technical role, the key to success lies in overcoming the unfair stereotypes surrounding your soon-to-be former field by highlighting just how transferable your skills really are.
- Project management and teamwork
The technical complexity of the projects you’ve worked on – be it building a bridge or an app – mean you know how to get difficult thingsdone when they need to be done. It also means you understand how your work affects the work of others and that you’re keenly conscientious of that fact.
Although you know the jargon of your field well, chances are you’ve had to explain things in simple terms to others outside your field fairly often. Remember to talk in your resume, cover letter, and interview about how you’re able to boil complex information into easy-to-understand terms for those outside your specialty. If you’re just as good doing that on paper as you are in person, talk about your technical writing skills to boot.
Arithmetic is obviously a strong point for you, and that can be very beneficial even in a non-technical role that typically requires little calculation. Your interviewer may not think to ask, but try to work in how you’re good with numbers. It’ll speak to your analytical skills,and even if you’re applying to a marketing or sales position, the hiring manager will appreciate knowing they’re someone who is mindful of math, be it around sales revenue or social media stats.
- Tech savvy
Whether you’re an engineer or an IT expert, chances are you know your way around programs that make regular office software look like those placemat mazes you find in family restaurants. Without being snarky about it, of course, play up your intuitiveness when it comes to computers and how the programs you’ve used make it easy for you to learn new ones.
- Problem solving
The STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) sector is about solving some the most intricate problems facing industries and society. Talk about some of the problems you’ve solved, how they influenced the outcomes of major projects, and also how that problem solving involved cooperating with other people.
Talk about the unexpected results and creative workarounds that your technical work has challenged you with. Play up how it’sconditioned you not to flinch in the face of surprises.
- Long-term thinking
Long-term thinking is the key to any successful business – and a mindset that employers have a hard time finding. But someone like you, who can look at specs for a new piece of hardware, a skyscraper, or new computer program with the goal of making it a reality, is clearly someone who has no issues fixating on the future. Highlight how this way of thinking speaks to your loyalty and to your focus on what’s best for the business, not just for today and tomorrow, but for years to come. Such people are definitely promotion material.
If you’re a technical professional looking for new opportunities, even non-technical roles where you can apply your technical expertise, feel free to contact our team at Roevin, Adecco’s engineering and IT division.