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When you’re changing careers (or finish high school) it can feel like you’re starting from scratch and that all of your professional experience to date doesn’t count for anything. The good news is that is not true, and actually, anyone can build a resume that’ll pique the interest of any hiring manager. We spoke to Kelly Van Nelson, Managing Director at Adecco Australia, to get the dirt on the specifics, and find out exactly what recruiters love to see on any resume.

Kelly more than proved what we already thought: that life experience and certain skills all add up to a pretty robust resume. In fact, we found out exactly which skills are transferable from one career to another, which life-learned skills are worth their weight in gold, and the little things you can do to build on the experience you already have (like free training courses that will up your skillset, fast).

1. There are 3 types of skills recruiters always love to see on a resume

No matter the job you’re applying for, there are three types of skills that are transferable to every industry, according to Kelly. First up, soft skills. “Soft skills are one of the most important areas of focus for hiring managers,” she says. “Across industries, they are looking for candidates with excellent communication skills, problem-solving skills, and the ability to work to deadlines.”

The crucial skill, says Kelly, is agility. “Today’s workforce is ever-changing and chances are the role you are hired for will evolve over the coming months and years,” she explains. “Candidates who have a proven ability to upskill, reskill, and stay agile will be seen as favourable by hiring managers.”

And finally, Kelly stressed the importance of resilience. “Now more than ever during a global pandemic, candidates must show resilience,” she says. “Resilient people generally can manage stress and conflict [better].”

2. Communication and digital skills will never go out of style

The value of digital skills and their ever-increasing value will come as a shock to precisely no one. “Digital skills are always going to be in demand,” she says. “Continual learning is imperative in today’s world so whilst your formal education is important, it is certainly not the only kind of skilling you will need throughout your career. Don’t underestimate the need for soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, and creativity as these will put you ahead of the rest throughout your career.”

If you want to level-up your digital prowess, the NSW Government has a range of low-fee (or entirely free) information technology courses you may be interested in.

3. Highlight real-life examples that prove you have these skills

So you know what your skills are, but you’re still not really sure how to present it all on your resume (or prove in an interview that you can really walk the talk). “If you’re planning on changing careers, particularly in the middle of a pandemic, you need to be well researched and [be ready to] pitch yourself,” explains Kelly. “Highly transferable skills such as your ability to communicate, take initiative, manage time, and collaborate with others will be a priority for any job, regardless of the technical criteria. Remember to highlight real-life examples which prove you have these skills.”

“While hiring managers don’t need to hear your life story, there are particular, highly-regarded life-learned skills they will look for,” says Kelly. One example: “leadership skills – which as we know don’t necessarily have to do with seniority – are particularly sought after across a variety of industries and at many levels,” she explains.

“Job seekers should include tangible examples of times they were able to motivate others towards a common goal and the success that came with it.” Perhaps it’s a project you worked on, or a huge period of change at your previous company that you helped others navigate.

If you’re planning a huge career change, Kelly also suggested that you get in touch with a reputable recruitment agency that specialises in your new industry, “as they can help you update your resume and identify skills or experience for you to highlight.”

4. Formal education and training can boost your confidence

Sometimes you think you know something, but think some formal education could boost your confidence and help you land the job you really want. That’s where formal education comes into play. And it doesn’t have to be expensive!

The NSW Government has a little thing called The Skills and Employment Hub to chat out all your options with a professional.

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