As an experienced and accomplished internationally trained professional banker, and newcomer to Canada, I have started my job search by applying for jobs in my field. After a couple of months and countless applications, I have not received one phone call for an interview! How do I market my skills, qualifications, expertise and education to build my career in Canada?
Signed: Blocked Banker
Welcome to Canada and you sound like a very talented professional. One of the first steps in the job search that will make your resume and job application stronger is to identify your transferable skills. You can also sell yourself to employers for alternative careers through your transferable skills. Let’s begin by understanding this term, followed by identifying your “transferable skill” and then learning how to articulate as well as market your wealth of these talents in your resume, social media profiles and networking activities.
Step 1: Definition
The best definition is explained by the JVS Toronto Employment Counsellors. TRANSFERABLE SKILLS can be used in many different occupations and work environments. They may be natural talents that are refined through work or leisure experience or education, or may be developed through specific training. These skills provide flexibility to move from one position to another or from one occupation or industry to another. For example, solving mathematical problems, operating machinery, and communicating effectively with your team and customers.
Step 2: Make a list of YOUR Transferable Skills from these categories. For more transferable skills, visit http://careerservices.uic.edu/docs/Marketing_Transferable_Skills.pdf
For example, COMMUNICATION involves these transferable skills:
- EXPLAIN – Express/communicate a message, information, or an idea in a clear and understandable manner.
- INFLUENCE/PERSUADE – Convince others to adopt a belief, change an attitude, or take an action.
- FACILITATE GROUPS – Support or ease interaction for the purpose of reaching an agreement or common goal.
- SERVE AS LIAISON – Act as a catalyst or connection between people or organizations to enhance communication.
- PROMOTE – Use creative concepts to persuade through media, special events or personal involvement.
- PUBLIC RELATIONS – Represent an employer to the public, receive or greet others, demonstrate a product or service to the public.
- CONSULT – Provide a high level of expertise in the evaluation of needs and problems to recommend solutions and a plan of action.
- INTERVIEW – Elicit views or probe for information through verbal questioning.
- MOTIVATE – Stimulate individuals or groups to take action for optimal results.
- WRITE – Compose written forms of communication demonstrating skills in the use of language, grammar and punctuation.
- SELL – Describe features and benefits of a service or product to match the needs of potential buyers. Convince a prospect to make a purchase.
- SPEAK BEFORE GROUPS – Deliver a message to an audience with the intent of informing and/or entertaining.
LEADERSHIP / MANAGEMENT
- NEGOTIATE – Bring about a settlement or agreement by bargaining.
- MAKE DECISIONS – Identify and choose an option from among alternatives.
- DELEGATE – Assign tasks to others in order to achieve desired objectives.
- MEDIATE – Resolve or settle differences by acting as an intermediary between two or more conflicting parties.
- COORDINATE – Arrange the proper sequence, logistics, events or activities.
- INITIATE – Put an idea, plan or task into action without direction.
- ORGANIZE – Pull together elements into an orderly, functional and structured whole.
- SUPERVISE – Direct the performance of workers and monitor work projects.
- PLAN – Formulate a series of steps to meet goals and objectives.
- DETERMINE POLICY – Develop guidelines and strategies for carrying out a course of action.
INTELLECTUAL / ANALYTICAL
- IMPLEMENT AND FOLLOW THROUGH – Take necessary action to ensure the completion of a project.
- SOLVE PROBLEMS – Trace and identify the sources of a problem and provide a solution.
- MANAGE RECORDS – Collect, classify and process data using records or a computerized information system.
- CALCULATE/COMPUTE – Execute simple mathematical operations to determine an exact amount.
- MONITOR – Oversee and regulate flow of work in assignments or projects.
- RESEARCH/INVESTIGATE – Search systematically using observation, comprehension of written sources or interviewing for discovery or application.
- CATEGORIZE – Organize information or objects into groups or classifications.
- EDIT – Revise and improve written material for final use.
- OBSERVE – Watch closely or be acutely aware of behaviour, information or objects.
- ANALYZE – Examine in detail or separate data, an idea or an object into its parts.
- BUDGET – Plan or schedule expenses or operating costs against fixed income for a specified time period.
- EVALUATE – Assess needs of a situation and/or determine value or quality of concepts or materials.
Step 3: Analyze the job description language for your career goal.
Target a few well-written postings in your field through www.indeed.com, www.simplyhired.com, www.glassdoor.com and www.linkedin.com. For example, type in the job title or “jobs banks Toronto”. This will give you the language to express your transferable skills. Look for key words or phrases and match them to your skills. For example, as a banker you had to have excellent time management, work well under pressure and listen attentively when dealing with customers. These are highly desirable transferable skills for any employer
Step 4: Give concrete examples of your transferable skills from your professional experiences in your resume, social media profile and professional networking. For example: Expertise in meeting tight deadlines that helped my company secure USD$2 million portfolio of business from a large Fortune 500 company.
Step 5: Lost in Translation. Once you have prepared your resume with your transferable skills, qualifications and other information required by the job postings, I recommend working with an employment counsellor through JVS Toronto’s newcomer employment services to edit your work.
If you are a permanent resident and living overseas waiting to resettle in Canada, please contact our pre-arrival employment services – CanPrep.
For more in-depth advice on this topic (or any other job search topic), CanPrep offers individual, one-on-one employment / job coaching with a JVS Employment Specialist at no cost. In addition, CanPrep can connect you with additional training resources like the e-Learning modules on Skills Assessment, Resume and Cover Letter Preparation, Interview Skills, and Networking Strategies.
I wish you much success in your job search and building your career in Canada.
Feel free to email your questions, comments, and concerns in confidence to firstname.lastname@example.org
Joanna Samuels, MEd., CMF, RRP is a certified Life Skills Coach, and Personality Dimensions Facilitator who works as a job developer-job coach-facilitator at www.jvstoronto.org and is a part-time instructor at George Brown College.