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  • FIRST POST
    • abernathy
    • By abernathy 14th May 17, 1:39 AM
    • 14Posts
    • 4Thanks
    abernathy
    When applying for a job in a different sector - are "transferable skills" a myth?
    • #1
    • 14th May 17, 1:39 AM
    When applying for a job in a different sector - are "transferable skills" a myth? 14th May 17 at 1:39 AM
    Looking to change career - and applying for jobs in different sectors just to "test the water" as to whether I would enjoy it and want to stay within that role if I was lucky enough to land a position there. Worked in the same role for nearly a decade - most;y in a line management role dealing with fraud investigation for councils/housing associations.

    Looking to change to something completely different. I've heard people talk about "transferable skills" i.e. skills that are relevant to other industries/sectors that you have developed elsewhere.

    As a line manager for over 4 years, it would be safe to assume that management skills, people/staff management etc are one of those skills I was hoping would be transferable - and let's be honest, they generally are.

    Yet, having applied for lots (30+) of junior management roles, supervisory positions, line management roles in other sectors - service, leisure, retail, health etc it's clear that my experience and 'transferable skills' aren't being considered. I might as well have sent a restaurant menu as a C.V. All of these vacancies haven't asked for specialist training or qualifications, or experience specific to that industry, just the general qualities most jobs look for.

    I know I could thrive in most of these junior management roles - I've had direct responsibility for 10+ people, yet don't get an interview for a team leader role within a hotel or a supervisory role within retail - jobs with close to half the salary I was previously on, with far less input required overall.

    To me, there doesn't seem to be any point in seeking a career change unless you have prior experience in that field or are willing to heavily invest in retraining.

    Am I wasting my time?

    Are 'transferable skills' just a myth?
    Last edited by abernathy; 14-05-2017 at 1:47 AM.
Page 1
    • tacpot12
    • By tacpot12 14th May 17, 5:16 AM
    • 738 Posts
    • 636 Thanks
    tacpot12
    • #2
    • 14th May 17, 5:16 AM
    • #2
    • 14th May 17, 5:16 AM
    Transferable skills aren't a myth, but employers take a risk every time they hire someone. Once way to reduce the risk is to ignore select candidates who have all the relevant skills and who don't need to rely on any transferable ones.

    Your management skills are transferable but you also need a base of actual skills or experience in the industry you looking to enter. You can't manage someone in retail if you don't know what skills you are trying to develop in them. Perhaps you need an entry level position in the industry first? While this will meam even less money, you should be able to return to the management salary pretty soon.
    • xapprenticex
    • By xapprenticex 14th May 17, 10:52 AM
    • 1,273 Posts
    • 1,185 Thanks
    xapprenticex
    • #3
    • 14th May 17, 10:52 AM
    • #3
    • 14th May 17, 10:52 AM
    yeah just bear in mind that you are competing with people with similar (or maybe not as much) skills to you BUT gained in that sector.

    Just keep trying, hopefully you'll get what you are after. Or take something a step below and work your way up to a management role assuming there is progression.
    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 14th May 17, 11:40 AM
    • 4,921 Posts
    • 6,148 Thanks
    theoretica
    • #4
    • 14th May 17, 11:40 AM
    • #4
    • 14th May 17, 11:40 AM
    Transferable skills do exist and are valued, but don't fall into the trap of underestimating the specialist bits of experience. I have read a fair number of job applications from people who clearly believe their skills match the job, but are discounting the depth of the ones they don't have. The equivalent of 'I have lots of experience in retail because I go shopping sometimes'.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
    • TELLIT01
    • By TELLIT01 14th May 17, 3:06 PM
    • 4,109 Posts
    • 4,239 Thanks
    TELLIT01
    • #5
    • 14th May 17, 3:06 PM
    • #5
    • 14th May 17, 3:06 PM
    As others have suggested, specific skills in an area/sector trump 'transferable skills' every time.
    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 14th May 17, 5:46 PM
    • 4,921 Posts
    • 6,148 Thanks
    theoretica
    • #6
    • 14th May 17, 5:46 PM
    • #6
    • 14th May 17, 5:46 PM
    I suspect also that applying to "test the water" is likely to be coming across in your applications. Can you show a history of interest in the field you are looking to go into, such as through volunteering?
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 15th May 17, 11:57 AM
    • 3,305 Posts
    • 5,020 Thanks
    Malthusian
    • #7
    • 15th May 17, 11:57 AM
    • #7
    • 15th May 17, 11:57 AM
    Transferable skills are for entry level / graduate positions. It is much easier for an experienced hotel service assistant to learn how to manage people than for an experienced team manager from a different industry to learn how to run a hotel: how to ensure the sheets are being washed, how to keep the kitchen from running out, how to deal with annoying guests, etc.

    I recently applied for a team manager position in my own industry. Without going into the full specification, the bits listed under "essentials" would take at least two years for someone outside the industry to acquire, and that's if they were really focused. In terms of the necessary professional qualifications, and what the specification called "experience of the end-to-end lifecycle of a client journey".

    Look at it this way OP - would you genuinely expect someone who'd managed a supermarket or a hotel to be able to competently manage a fraud investigation team from day 1?

    To me, there doesn't seem to be any point in seeking a career change unless you have prior experience in that field or are willing to heavily invest in retraining.
    Originally posted by abernathy
    Yep. Or unless you are happy with returning to entry level and the associated drop in income.
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 15th May 17, 7:41 PM
    • 1,580 Posts
    • 1,083 Thanks
    Tarambor
    • #8
    • 15th May 17, 7:41 PM
    • #8
    • 15th May 17, 7:41 PM
    What type of CV are you doing? When doing a career change you need to do a skills CV, one that concentrates almost entirely on the personal statement, the skills and qualifications you have with the employment history being effectively a footnote entry instead of being a primary part of your CV if you were applying for similar jobs to your current role.
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 16th May 17, 5:18 PM
    • 1,296 Posts
    • 1,322 Thanks
    Fireflyaway
    • #9
    • 16th May 17, 5:18 PM
    • #9
    • 16th May 17, 5:18 PM
    I am in a very similar position to you! I was hoping my transferable skills would get me some where but not yet anyway! Like you I have also been applying for team leader / management roles but either don't hear back or get rejections. Today I spoke to a recruiter who told me many companies want your current job to be in the field you have applied for. For me its my previous job that's most applicable. Like others say I guess as well as management experience we need some exposure to whatever field the management role is in. I'm going to change my job titles for a start. Bit unsure though so might start a thread about it and get more advice.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 16th May 17, 5:32 PM
    • 60,718 Posts
    • 354,899 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    I had a gazillion almost identical transferrable skills once, and even lived just round the corner, but it was a local authority little place and they chickened out and hired somebody from 250 miles away who had "done the exact same job" before.

    It wasn't a difficult job ....

    They even called me to "apologise" and explained that they wanted to take me, but chose the other person, even though they thought I'd be better (had more/wider experience) ... but this other person had "done the exact same job where they were planning on moving from" and within their structure they felt they should be hiring the other person rather than choosing who they actually thought would do the better job because "it looked better on paper" should it ever be questioned.

    I went for another job once and didn't get it - I reapplied a year later and it was a "group hiring explanation session" and I spoke to the bloke who hadn't hired me the year before and he remembered me and said "Sorry about that - I had a disability quota I had to meet; it was a complete disaster. I told them to mark your file to contact the minute we had another vacancy" It appeared that his message to mark my file hadn't been done ... he told me who to phone and what to say and they dug my previous file out - and I was instantly hired. That was a county college.

    Too many hidden agendas and quotas and people not doing their job properly ....

    People don't get the job because they're "the best person for the job". That's the myth!
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 17th May 17, 5:40 PM
    • 1,296 Posts
    • 1,322 Thanks
    Fireflyaway
    Someone recently told me he was told outright by recruiters he wouldn't get the job he applied for even though he had done well in the assessments because the organisation was actively recruiting ethnic minorities and lgbt candidates.
    I was once not even given an interview because a woman on maternity leave applied. Back then the law stated the person on maternity had to be given the job 'even if they are not the best candidate'.
    I'm sure there are many reason for being overlooked but guess we won't know!
    • lcc86
    • By lcc86 18th May 17, 8:21 AM
    • 903 Posts
    • 2,380 Thanks
    lcc86
    OP I'm in a similar position to you, looking for a potential career change. I currently work in the public sector and there's a strong chance we're moving towards privatisation in the coming years. Part of the service has already been privatised and it's been an unmitigated disaster, so I'm very concerned and trying to look for alternatives with transferable skills. Unfortunately without investing in more qualifications and also being prepared to take a pay cut, it seems there aren't many options out there full stop, which is a shame. I understand it from an employer's perspective, I suppose it's much more risky than someone with industry experience. When you're applying, are you ensuring you demonstrate how you meet each criteria on the advert? An old manager once told me to ensure I can demonstrate that I can do that, and it's never failed to get me an interview since then (within the public sector anyway).
    1/12/14 total £9,140 DFD 30/01/17
    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5124473 - my original DFD

    25/08/17 new total £802 back in debt but determined clear it by February 2018! 17/11/17 - £110 2017 365 day challenge £597 saved for emergency fund
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 18th May 17, 9:15 AM
    • 1,296 Posts
    • 1,322 Thanks
    Fireflyaway
    I'm feeling at a loss right now. Keep getting turned down for jobs even though I don't think I'm being too ambitious in what I'm applying for. Just spoke to another recruiter who told me 'not to waste my time' applying for team leader / manager call centre jobs because I will always be overlooked in favour of someone who is already in that role. I've been out of that sector for 3 years - apparently that's not recent enough. There isn't much that comes up in my current sector and I'm not sure I want to stay in it anyway. The recruiter suggested going back to answering phones and working my way up..... I thought my current skills would be quite useful but apparently not.
    Last edited by Fireflyaway; 18-05-2017 at 2:07 PM. Reason: T
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 18th May 17, 3:18 PM
    • 3,305 Posts
    • 5,020 Thanks
    Malthusian
    Someone recently told me he was told outright by recruiters he wouldn't get the job he applied for even though he had done well in the assessments because the organisation was actively recruiting ethnic minorities and lgbt candidates.
    Originally posted by Fireflyaway
    This is why if I am ever asked my sexuality on a job application form I'd say "bisexual". Just because I've only ever been in monogamous relationships with women doesn't mean I'd never countenance having sex with a man. At least, you can't prove that I wouldn't.
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 18th May 17, 4:35 PM
    • 1,296 Posts
    • 1,322 Thanks
    Fireflyaway
    This is why if I am ever asked my sexuality on a job application form I'd say "bisexual". Just because I've only ever been in monogamous relationships with women doesn't mean I'd never countenance having sex with a man. At least, you can't prove that I wouldn't.
    Originally posted by Malthusian
    I completed a diversity questionnaire the other day that had categories I'd never even heard of. I thought I was fairly up to date but apparently not!

    I feel down after being told to forget anything listed on my cv I'm not currently doing. 2 more rejections this afternoon as well. The recruiter advised to get a call centre job and work my way up again. I don't want to drop salary maybe 7-9 thousand and do something I don't want to do with no guarantee of promotion. Seems silly but maybe I'm not as qualified / experienced as I thought.
    • mattcanary
    • By mattcanary 18th May 17, 6:23 PM
    • 4,084 Posts
    • 3,514 Thanks
    mattcanary
    I had a gazillion almost identical transferrable skills once, and even lived just round the corner, but it was a local authority little place and they chickened out and hired somebody from 250 miles away who had "done the exact same job" before.

    It wasn't a difficult job ....


    I went for another job once and didn't get it - I reapplied a year later and it was a "group hiring explanation session" and I spoke to They even called me to "apologise" and explained that they wanted to take me, but chose the other person, even though they thought I'd be better (had more/wider experience) ... but this other person had "done the exact same job where they were planning on moving from" and within their structure they felt they should be hiring the other person rather than choosing who they actually thought would do the better job because "it looked better on paper" should it ever be questioned.
    the bloke who hadn't hired me the year before and he remembered me and said "Sorry about that - I had a disability quota I had to meet; it was a complete disaster. I told them to mark your file to contact the minute we had another vacancy" It appeared that his message to mark my file hadn't been done ... he told me who to phone and what to say and they dug my previous file out - and I was instantly hired. That was a county college.

    Too many hidden agendas and quotas and people not doing their job properly ....

    People don't get the job because they're "the best person for the job". That's the myth!
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    What kind of mealy-mouthed !!!!!!!! is that? They sound gutless.
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