5 Transferable Skills to Highlight in Your Education, Nonprofit, & Government Job Search During COVID-19

Careers within Education, Nonprofit, and Government are evolving and changing due to COVID-19. Many of you are now being asked to adapt, change your perspective, or even consider pivoting your career goals. While this may seem daunting, as a member of the ENPG community you have a unique set of transferable skills that you’ve acquired through your various experiences–skills that make you marketable applicants for the jobs that are currently hiring. To stand out in your job search, here are five transferable (hard and soft) skills to highlight in your career toolkit documents:


1. Technology

With most activities shifted to virtual platforms, technology is at the forefront during COVID-19. You now use technology every day to communicate (Slack, Zoom, Google Meets, Microsoft Teams), complete coursework (Microsoft Office, Google Suite, VoiceThread, Panopto), and manage projects (Asana, Trello). Since most businesses and organizations are operating remotely, highlight your proficiency in different technology platforms in your resume, cover letter, or an interview to show a hiring manager that you are able to effectively work remotely.

2. Leadership

Whether you’ve taken the lead on a group project in one of your classes or had a leadership role in a student organization, being a leader can show an employer your ability to take charge. Highlight your leadership skills to demonstrate your effective communication, organization, and time-management skills so that an employer has the impression that you can be a leader in their organization. 

3. Adaptability 

During this pandemic, we are adapting to change. COVID-19 has impacted school, work, and daily life. Highlight your ability to adapt to different situations to show your flexibility and willingness to modify projects and tasks within the workplace. Implement a statement in your resume to showcase this skill.

4. Facilitation

Have you presented in a class, at work, or at a conference? Emphasize your ability to successfully present in front of a quantifiable number of members. Facilitation can also look like leading a group in an activity, implementing a lesson plan in a class, guiding a meeting, and more. Highlight this skill in your documents and interviews to show an employer that you have strong public speaking and presentation skills. 

5. Management 

Management doesn’t have to mean being a “manager” in a job or an internship. Management skills can come from working on a group project in class, leading a sports team, guiding a group of people through an activity, and more. These management skills speak to one’s ability to work and collaborate with others. Feature this skill in your documents and speak on your management abilities in interviews with employers. 

 

With the added pressure that COVID-19 brings, your current job or internship search can be challenging and intimidating. You may be seeking adjacent careers or considering changing career paths altogether. Have a solid toolkit of transferable skills in your back pocket to help you explore different careers and to be competitive candidates within the Education, Nonprofit, and Government community. 

Looking to discuss transferable skills or your career plans further? Make an appointment on Handshake!       

Communicating the Right Skills to Employers

As a student you are learning a lot in the classroom. From technical knowledge related to your major, to transferable skills like problem solving and collaboration, your degree program is preparing you to enter the workforce. As you engage in internships, volunteering, and student leadership roles, you put these skills and knowledge to use in ways that are of interest to potential future employers. Being able to effectively communicate what you are able to offer will be key to your successful job search.

In a recent article series published in Eye on Psi Chi, an online magazine for members of the national honor society for psychology students, I wrote about the importance of being able to identify and put language around your skills. The Career Center offers a card sort activity, called SkillScan, in both one-on-one advising and workshop formats that focuses on transferable skills.

SkillScan, described at length in the first article, helps you prioritize the skills you would like to use in the future, separating them from those of less interest and those that you are certain you would not like to use. An activity like this is valuable as you work to identify the industry and career path you wish to target for yourself. From there, your career counselor or workshop facilitator will guide you in identifying strong examples of times when you have successfully employed the skills you wish to use in the future. He or she will also help you to think critically about those skills you need to develop further and/or exemplify through future coursework, volunteer activities, internships, and part-time work. To complete a SkillScan assessment, attend the “Identify Your Skills and Accomplishments” workshop on May 2, 2016 or contact the Career Center to schedule an appointment with your advisor.

Once you have identified the skills you wish to perform in the workplace, you must hone your ability to convey these to potential employers. The second article in the Eye on Psi Chi series addresses the art of communicating your skills through strategic resume writing. Crafting bulleted accomplishment statements that strike the right balance between offering sufficient detail and being concise enough to allow your reader to quickly grasp the skills you offer, can be a challenge. The Career Center’s Peer Career Advisor program offers walk-in resume development and critique sessions to help you ensure your resume will grab employers’ attention, and land you the interview you are after.

My advice to you when it comes to communicating your skills:

Emphasize the skills you wish to use and further develop in your next position when crafting your resume. Also, be concrete by offering examples of times when you’ve used those skills and be sure to note the positive outcomes that resulted from your efforts.

 


 

A future article in Eye on Psi Chi will feature tips for continuing your efforts to communicate skills to employers by providing tips and best practices for helping you to succeed in the interview process. Stay tuned for more details!