4 Soft Skills That Make Changing Careers That Much Easier

Considering a career change? Whether you’re feeling burnt out in your current industry, seeking greater fulfillment in your professional life, or you’ve just graduated with a new academic degree or certification, embarking on a brand-new path might be the next step in your professional journey. If you lack direct experience in your desired field, don’t worry – your soft skills can help bridge the gap!

Skills can be separated into two categories: hard and soft. Hard skills are measurable, relate directly to your job, and can be taught in a class or on-the-job training. Examples include coding, graphic design, or speaking French. Soft skills are immeasurable, might feel like personality traits, and can’t always be taught. Examples are creativity, communication, organization, or problem solving. Soft skills are easily transferable across different industries and job titles. Here are 4 soft skills that can help ease your professional transition and how you can leverage them during the career change process:

  1. Effective communication. More than any other soft skill, communication is likely the most common denominator you’ll encounter across all industries and job types. Think of ways you’ve displayed effective verbal and written communications skills to lead to success in your past roles. For example, consistently leading weekly team meetings can illustrate your verbal communication skills (as well as time management and leadership). Writing materials to support a new marketing initiative showcases effective written communication. During your job interviews, speak clearly and confidently to showcase your strong verbal communication skills in-person.

  2. Time management. Highlight your time management skills by discussing how you effectively balanced your time and responsibilities in previous roles. Examples include caring for multiple patients each shift as a Registered Nurse or consistently meeting important deadlines as a Project Manager. Share anecdotes about how you managed multiple tasks simultaneously, prioritized responsibilities, or adhered to tight schedules. Additionally, discuss tools and strategies you currently utilize to enhance your time management skills, showcasing your proactive approach to productivity.

  3. Leadership and teamwork. Even if you haven’t managed a team of people directly, showcasing instances where you led initiatives or collaborated effectively can demonstrate your potential in leadership roles. Reflect on situations where you assumed leadership responsibilities such as spearheading projects, mentoring colleagues, or coordinating team efforts. Highlight your ability to work well with others, foster collaboration, and resolve conflicts amicably within diverse teams. Discuss your adaptability in various team dynamics and your willingness to contribute to collective goals, showcasing your capacity for effective teamwork.

  4. Problem solving and critical thinking. The ability to think critically about a situation is a helpful skill regardless of the industry you’re in (or wish to be in). Think of examples that show how you demonstrated critical thinking in your previous roles. In addition, share occasions where this critical thinking was paired with problem solving, as the end solution and its positive impact on the organization are ultimately the most meaningful pieces of the equation. For example, share how your on-the-fly problem solving allowed a critical project to be completed on time after a last-minute change.

As you pursue the next step in your professional journey, emphasize both your hard and soft skills. Illustrate how your soft skills complement your technical abilities, demonstrating your suitability for the new role you have your eye on. Remember, even if you lack some direct experience, your transferable soft skills can be valuable assets during your career change. Happy job hunting!

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