This is my first job so how can I offer experience ? – Tips on how to use transferable skills

You have prepared and researched, you have lots of enthusiasm and energy, self-belief, a good academic background and a real interest for the job, but you know the only thing you don’t have is a huge amount of experience to offer, or so you might think.

Understanding transferable skills can really help sell yourself and show how skills you may have developed through education , hobbies and personal interests will help to show how rounded you are . These early skills could show how you would fit with the ethos of a company and how they could be applied to a particular role for which you may be applying. Keep these relevant and do not go over the top or make them up, use examples rather than statements to demonstrate.

“I am a team player” means nothing on its own, however, “every weekend for the last 3 years I have played football for a local team”, not only shows you are a team player but shows commitment and that as part of a team you are able to give and take instruction, you might be responsible for taking subs, so trust and handling of money shows you are prepared to accept responsibility. Leadership could be also be added to the list if you have captained the team. So through one simple activity you can soon give someone an indication of how you have developed and how you might fit into an organisation.

Think of other examples that could demonstrate how you
• Relate to others
• Communicate – give or take instruction
• Make Decisions
• Organisation and Plan your time
• Accept responsibility

Use that summer job as a waiter to identify skills you learnt, in time management; getting food to the customer on time and hot, communicating with customers, ensuring you understood their requirements and passing them to the kitchen; how in dealing with difficult or problem customers you were able to show flexibility and maybe accept responsibility, think of examples to demonstrate a situation and how you dealt with it to ensure the customer returned.

Travel experiences, clubs/societies , community projects and voluntary, work are another excellent example of transferable skills, someone can learn a lot about your values and how you interact with different cultures , differing abilities and what things are important to you.

So you do have skills to offer after all. Read the role for which you are applying and pick out the skills that you think they are looking for, and then prepare two or three simple examples to demonstrate how your skills can relate to them, you will also find that you will talk with passion about these things because they will be real to you. Finally don’t forget that once you have a job, update your CV regularly with all the new skills you learn, this will help when applying for further jobs or promotions.


Are there any questions you would like to ask?



So you get to the end of the interview and then you are asked if you have any questions. I have often met people who struggle with this and flounder because they think that all their questions have been answered and feel they have nothing more to say.

Actually  this as an excellent opportunity to help improve your chances of getting the job , to really show your interest  and to evaluate if the job is what you are looking for, so seize the opportunity with both hands.

This is your chance to find out more about what the job entails. If this has already been covered acknowledge it but add that you would like to know more.

Ask more  about  day to day expectations  , does the job include travel;  if so how often, if you are required to work to tight deadlines , question if they are daily , quarterly ;  internal or customer focused.

Will you be given specific training and be able to develop your skills further; if so how, through courses, mentoring or on the job training; does this suit you learning style.

 Establish if it is an existing or new role, are there opportunities for you to grow it further and what the expectations might be. This is also a great way to recap on the skills that you can bring to the role and the organisation, remember it is always a two way thing.

Don’t feel you need to bombard the interviewer with questions , but digging deeper on a couple of areas that have been discussed or that are of particular relevance  to you will show your interest in the role at the same time as satisfy yourself that it is a position that you really want .

If you really like the sound of the job, then conclude by letting them know that you are interested, but don’t leave thinking I wished I had asked that question, the opportunity is there and with prior research and understanding of the role you are applying for will generate the questions that will add to your chances of success.