Deploy Transferable Skills in Your Executive Resume When Making an Industry Transition


image_promolanding_making_industry_transition.gif ExecuNet’s free, downloadable report by Marji McClure, “Making an Industry Transition, offers tips on emphasizing transferable skills when making an industry transition at the executive level, excerpted here. You can download the report by going here. According to search firm respondents of ExecuNet’s 2008 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report (EJMIR), the top three most critical characteristics/skills [hiring decision-makers] seek in candidates include leadership skills, industry-specific experience, and functional/ technical expertise. Not surprisingly, search firms (and their client companies) stick to that criteria most of the time when seeking new talent. But companies can also benefit from the expertise of an individual with experience from a different industry. It requires hiring executives learning how to determine which candidates have the background skill set to effectively make a transition. At the same time, executives interested in making a transition to a new industry must understand how to make a strong case for such a move. They must be able to connect their current industry to a new sector and demonstrate their value to prospective employers. Identifying transferable skills is the first step in building connections from one industry to another. What are the Most transferable skills? Some of the most transferable job functions and industries include finance, human resources and information technology, says Steve Kendall, president of Lithia Springs, Ga.-based Management Recruiters of Atlanta West Inc. He notes that sales and marketing skills are transferable, although knowledge of a product or market is typically needed. The most transferable skills — those that are valuable for an executive to possess regardless of industry — are general management skills. Among those competencies, according to New York City-based executive coach, Bob Lee, are:
  • Supervision: set expectations and standards; give feedback
  • and praise; help with development.
  • Management: planning; controlling; team management;
  • budgets; meeting management.
  • Leadership: sense of vision; willingness to calculate personal
  • and organizational risk; generate willing followers; protect the group; give them hope.
“As you move higher in the organization, above the functional level into general management, skills become increasingly transferable,” says Kendall. “General managers deal with larger, strategic issues and are less involved with the details within the company. The C-level managers (chairman, CEO, CFO, COO) can often successfully contribute to companies that are quite different from each other.” Read more about transferable skills in our article, Transferable Job Skills — a Vital Job-Search Technique.