Selling college transferable skills

Even seemingly unrelated experience to your first job can be used in your cover letter or CV to indicate sought after college transferable skills. Some students only study and have no need to take on summer or part time jobs. It however, can count in your favor if you had one or two part time jobs during your studies as the experienced gained, can be used on your CV.

College transferable skills can be divided into five broad categories:

  • Communication ? how well you are able to translate ideas and facts into understandable terms on paper and verbally. If you took part in class discussions, wrote reports and presented ideas then use them to show your excellent communication skills.
  • Management ? including the ability to lead, oversee projects, make decisions etc. Have you held a supervisory position? Even if only one person had to report to you it still indicates your management abilities. Be sure to relate the position to responsibilities and traits associated with management.
  • Interpersonal or people skills ? how well you are able to motivate, inspire, convince, understand and relate to other people. Even in your personal life, you had to deal with other people. Describe how you are able to motivate colleagues or fellow students to perform better, or confide in you with their problems.
  • Survival ? those skills that are essential for you to be able to work in formal employment area. It can include punctuality, reliability, taking responsibility, effective time management etc. Describe how you never handed in work late, always came to class on time, never missed lectures; showing that your punctual, able to keep to deadlines and reliable. Do the same with any job you held.
  • Research - the ability to do planning, finding information, think logically, critical analytical skills etc. You should do well in this section. You definitely had to do research to complete projects and had to plan the projects.

Even if you haven't held any part time or summer jobs, you may have been involved in student projects, voluntary work or internships. All of these can still be used as experience and opportunities to indicate your college transferable skills. If you haven't been involved in any of these and just studied hard, you can still use your class involvement to indicate relevant college transferable skills.

The secret is to relate any experience whether in the classroom or from a job held, to the job that you apply for and to relate the experience to the above skill sets in your CV and cover letter.

Other college transferable skills, which are also high in demand include:

  • Entrepreneurial skills ? did you perhaps sell books, gas pistols, t-shirts, ice-cream, even only for once off projects or to make a quick buck? You can use this to show your marketing, people, accounting, creativity and entrepreneurial skills. Did you sell any fraternity magazines; well that shows your selling skills.
  • Organizational and project management skills ? think of all the group classes where you had to work together. Did you ever lead or organize a project? Perhaps you helped out at the community centre and had to organize space, people or items? You may have planned an outing for a volunteer group or have led them for a day. It can be used to indicate your ability to organize. Think about your work space, tasks and projects. You had to organize them, or did you not? Working as a waiter meant you had to be able to organize seating arrangements, food to be served etc.
  • Adaptability ? if you held more than one job, you can describe your flexibility and even with one job can indicate how you adapted to changes and new roles.
  • Creative thinking and problem solving skills ? think about jobs you held where you faced problems and came up with brilliant solutions.

Convert your experience to college transferable skills in your CV, cover letter and tutorial and overcome the problem of no job related experience when you apply for your first job.