Discover Your Transferable Skills

Marketable Skills Comic

When working with students and talking about how they will market themselves to an employer, an important step I ask students to take is to remember to reflect on what their transferable skills are. Many times, however, I get the question of what a transferable skill is.

In simple terms, transferable skills are applicable skills you have gained through activities in your life including; a sport, a club, classes or projects, hobbies, a volunteer or a study abroad experience for which you can apply to a field of interest.

By identifying your transferable skills early on in the job search process, you will market your skills more effectively within your application and during your interview. Your resume will have clearer description statements within your resume and you’ll feel more confident answering questions regarding your experiences, student involvement, academics or study abroad experiences and how they have prepared you for the position. It’s important to re-examine your transferable skills for each position you apply to because each position might require different skill sets. Try using the job posting to help you identify the skills needed for the position, then re-examine your experiences to see how you have obtained the necessary skills for the particular job.

Click here to find a checklist of transferable skills. You can use this checklist to help you identify your transferable skills.  If you have questions on how to go about this step, connect with a career counselor in Career Services either through a Drop-In or by scheduling an appointment. We’d be happy to discuss this further with you.

Slow and Steady Gets the Job: Stamina and Motivation in a Job Search

Crossing the Finish Line

A job search is similar to any long-term goal you might work towards in life.  It could be a big race, a lengthy-paper, major project…any of these require at least two qualities- stamina and motivation.

When you set your mind to participating in a 5K, marathon, triathlon or similar race it is generally advisable that you train over an extended period of time in manageable pieces.  If you’re a new runner, you probably don’t want to start your first run pushing 3 miles.  Never run longer distances?  Your runs should build in length each time- 26.2 miles on day 1 of training is unrealistic.

Perhaps you’ve had a semester- or year-long assignment to complete for a class or towards a degree.   Many times procrastination is not an option.  Professors and advisors may require regular check-ins, certain components might have to happen before you can move forward on other parts, and most of us won’t put forth our best work on such a substantial undertaking within a small timeframe.

It’s easy to think a job search should be a quick process, but just like these other types of tasks it requires extended and dedicated amounts of time.  To stay motivated, surround yourself with positive people and messages.  To maintain your stamina, don’t bite off more than you can chew at once.  One day can be spent polishing up your resume, another for searching for jobs, and yet another for interview preparation.

Need ideas for how to stay motivated? Here are 10 to get you started.  Happy job searching!


Phone Interviewing: The Tale of Two Calls

Don Draper

“Just get me in a room.” –That’s Don Draper’s signature line in Mad Men. and refers to his uncanny ability to smooth-talk anyone. While I may not close million dollar deals before breakfast, I usually do well with people. This was not the case, however, when I had my first phone interview…

First off, I had broken my routine the day before. Rather than my usual afternoon bike ride, I spent the extra time researching the organization. While this type of preparation was good, I had too much nervous energy so I didn’t sleep well. To make matters worse, I gave myself a full hour of free time before my interview, which I mostly spent glancing at the clock every three minutes. I was worried before the call even started.

Without having the physical gestures and body language of normal conversations, phone calls can be awkward and disjointed. But I dwelled on this fact before the interview even started, so when the conversation got clumsy for a moment, I felt as if my worst fears were being realized. I reacted by talking quickly. At some point I got up to walk—thinking that it would calm me—but I soon found myself pacing and my breath became even more hurried.

When a friend asked me how the interview went, I dropped Draper’s line; “Just get me in a room!”

It turns out, I did need room. A very specific one. For my next phone interview, I borrowed the use of a friend’s office that had a window overlooking the park. This helped because I had something to look at. My eyes could wander so I didn’t have to. It also felt like an interview because I was sitting in an office setting. If you get fidgety during a phone interview, find a way to occupy yourself in a way that won’t distract you: find an appealing view, a painting, or grab a stress ball.

In contrast to my first interview, I kept busy by doing some painting until fifteen minutes before the call. This not only calmed my nerves but focused my mind. So if you have a hobby you find relaxing (yoga, braiding, playing an instrument, etc.), use it as a preparation tool. It’s a better strategy than dwelling on what could go wrong. That can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you can find strategies to help you relax before and during your interview, you will have a much easier time presenting your true self on the phone. Let yourself act naturally by smiling and gesturing like in normal conversation—you’ll find it imbues confidence and friendliness to the cadence your voice.

~Jarrod Szydlowski, Career Peer Advisor

How to Spend the Summer Effectively

Summer Bike Ride

It is about that time of year again. Classes are coming to a close, finals are starting up and the summer months are about to begin. You may ask, “How can I make the most of my summer vacation?” There are many ways to effectively spend your summer.  You may have heard people chat about internships. Internships are a great way to spend to summer, but here are some alternatives to internships.

1.  Summer Classes

  • Great way to lighten your academic load or catch up if needed.
  • Doesn’t need to be at UVM, but tuition is discounted (at UVM).
  • At UVM, there are classes on campus, online and worldwide.
  • For more information UVM Summer Classes

2.  Summer Research

  • Excellent method of gaining experience in your field of study.
  • It doesn’t have to be at UVM, which is helpful if you do not live close.

3.  Relevant Job Experience

  • Not an internship, but a job in your field that will give you at least the most basic experience.
  • Could lead to networking for an internship or full-time job.
  • Volunteer at an organization in your field.

4.  Study Abroad

  • It works well with jam-packed curriculum tracks because it won’t interrupt your scheduling.
  • Perhaps you could fulfill a language/diversity/elective requirement as well.
  • Study Abroad involves a lot of planning beforehand. Here is  a link to help you get started UVM: Office of International Education

~Randall, Career Peer Advisor