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Transferable Skills & Your "Alt-Ac" Job Search

By the time you are nearing completion of your graduate studies, you have acquired an impressive list of transferable skills through a variety of professional development activities. The stronger your transferable skills are, you will be

  • highly competitive on the job market when compared to other equally-qualified candidates;
  • able to consider multiple career paths within and beyond higher education; and
  • more able than others to pursue a new career if you lose a job due to downsizing.  

In sum, you should feel highly confident about landing a job interview!

Your next steps are:

  1. If you have not already done so, complete at least one transferable skills inventory.
  2. Go to O*Net Online and conduct an Advanced Search browse the database using Skills on the pull down menu.
    Note: You can also search by an Industry, Job Cluster, Job Zone, or Jobs with a Bight Outlook.  
  3. Make notes of Occupational Titles of interest to you. You can later search for jobs using the titles as key words. 
  4. Once you find an ad of interest, make sure you meet the qualification (ie., the knowledge, skills, & abilities the job requires).
  5. Carefully analyze the job announcement to identify the transferable skills desired by the employer;
  6. Update your résumé to reflect the disciplinary and transferable skills listed in the job ad; and
  7. Craft a compelling, error-free cover letter that highlights your disciplinary qualifications and related transferable skills.
    Use specific examples of how you are able to apply your skills. 
  8. Sign up for a mock interview at the MU Career Center. Practice describing scenarios of how you have applied your transferable skill.
  9. Make sure that you are well prepared for the interview.
  10. Make sure that you are prepared for salary and benefit negotiation.


What are transferable skills? 
These are the "soft skills" that are n high demand by employers. Learn more about transferable skills.

Specifically, which transferable skills are sought by employers?
Check out this recent national survey of employers.

Can I market my transferable skills across job sectors (for non-academic jobs)? 
Yes! Find examples in The Versatile PhD's career finder. Also check out "alt-ac" conversations on social media.

How do I add transferable skills to my cover letter and résumé?
Go to our cover letter and résumé pages.