4 Steps to Marketing Transferable Skills in a Job Interview

I was recently on an interview team recruiting a new director to execute on a rather extensive job description. Many of the candidates selected for job interviews did not have experience in the specific industry, but had excellent transferable skills from other industries – or so we thought.

After watching more than a few candidates miss good opportunities to market their transferable skills, I thought this step by step instructions could help job seekers market transferable skills in the job interview.

Step 1 - Read the job descriptions carefully.
Too many job seekers really underestimate the value of the job description. I think it is fair to say that most employers put a lot of effort into creating a good job description to attract the best candidates, especially for complex roles. If a job seeker has not read the job description carefully, they are overlooking what could be great clues for success in the interview. Read the job description several times to become familiar with what the company wants. You must be able to speak to specific needs in the job interview.

Step 2 - Be familiar what knowledge, skills and abilities are needed to succeed in this specific job. Although the job description can give you clues, it is a good idea to look at external sources to find out more about current trends in a specific profession. Professional associations are a great resource to find specific information on in-demand skills for specific jobs. The job interview is the place to show current knowledge of what is required to succeed in the job. Use this current knowledge and think about similar situations you have encountered in your career.

Step 3 - Acknowledge the gaps between what the employer wants and what you have to offer – before the interview. Job seekers, who acknowledge the gaps ahead of time, have an opportunity to address them in a positive way in the job interview. If prepared, the employers’ focus on these gaps should not surprise the job seeker in the interview. Identify experiences from your own career and background that will allow you to demonstrate how your transferable skills will compensate for direct knowledge.

Step 4 - Learn how to tell interesting stories in the interview. Showing energy and vitality in the job interview is crucial. Job seekers must show enthusiasm for the job, the company, their profession and the prospect of coming on board with this new organization. Job seekers should be able to speak comfortably, despite the nerves, and share interesting and engaging stories. Putting the interviewer to sleep with a long winded, unfocused answer is not the way you want to be remembered.