This question bothers all my clients who want to make a turn in their careers. Some have just started their careers and realized they want to do something else, and some of them want to change professions after 20+ years of working in the same place. The motivation of younger people is often the opportunity to get more money so that they can create better living conditions for themselves, but the desire for new challenges is something that appears as a very common motivating factor among those with 15+ years of work experience.
What are transferable skills?
What stands out as a phenomenon among all candidates is the lack of knowledge about transferable skills – skills they have acquired in previous jobs, which they can use in a new position. Their identification is something we base their applications for new jobs on. Of course, we emphasize the necessary technical knowledge, but transferable skills are a way to combine previous experience with the following, which represents the biggest challenge for them when creating applications. Some even feel that they have nothing to put on their resume, given that they have not worked in a position similar to the one they are applying for.
They are specific to all candidates, but some of them can be presentations, sales, planning, organization, document management, attention to detail, working with people, and communication skills.
What should be written in the motivation letter?
A motivational letter is a stumbling block for all candidates, especially those who want a career transition. It is not clear to them what is expected of them – whether they should retell their CV, how to present their great desire and motivation, and how to stand out compared to candidates with previous experience in the field. Companies would receive better quality applications if they asked specific questions they want answered, instead of asking for a motivation letter, because candidates would have clarity about what is expected of them and have a better opportunity to answer those requests.
What salary do you expect?
What is also a concern during a career transition is the famous question “What salary do you expect?”. Young people are aware of their lack of experience, and they want a career transition often because of a higher salary than in their previous workplace, so it is a challenge for them to answer this question adequately. Older people have children, loans to repay, and cannot agree to entry-level salaries, yet they are aware that they are beginners in a new field. Afraid that by answering this question they will eliminate themselves from the selection process, they have tremendous anxiety during the interview. The transparency of companies in the form of compensation would significantly reduce stress during the selection process and, in the last case, make the job easier for companies at the start, because candidates would not apply if the compensation does not fit their financial expectations.
Why would anyone accept me?
There are always candidates with more experience in the field they are applying for. “Why should they choose me? Will anyone give me a chance?” Candidates themselves ask this question. The lack of self-confidence is reflected in their applications, but also during the interview process. Being aware of the advantages they bring as those who are constantly learning, who are not afraid of change, and as flexible and proactive people brings more self-belief and better passability during the selection process.
The Role of the Candidate vs. the Role of the Recruiter
It is up to candidates to know themselves – to identify their transferable skills, to be aware of what they bring with their personality and previous experience, and to present this transparently and clearly in their applications and interview attitude.
It is up to recruiters to recognize the qualities that candidates who come from different professions and industries bring. Sometimes a different way of looking at things is exactly what will bring a competitive advantage. Also, with specific questions and salary transparency, companies can make the selection process easier for themselves and the candidates. Finally, transferable skills are something that should be found together in order to help both companies and candidates create progress for both parties and respond to the challenges of today’s business in a unique way.
Tijana Dazdarević, Career Development Consultant at “znam ja ko si ti”