I met a great student at a WISE networking event at UCLA. She emailed me and told me that her dream internship is in the sports industry. She explained that she had some great work and internship experience on her resume but didn’t have any work within the sports industry. She asked how she can best show the employer that although she doesn’t have sports experience she still has great transferrable skills that she can utilize within the sports industry. But how does she show the employer that? My advice is that you have to:
1. Explain your transferrable skills throughout the application process – not just in the resume, not just in the cover letter, and not just at the interview. When the employer thinks about you as an internship or job candidate – they should automatically think about how much great experience you DO have instead of the specific experience that you lack.
2. Your confidence is going to play a big part in this. If you are confident about the experiences that you’ve had and you can articulate what they taught you that will help you excel in any internship or job – an employer is going to walk away with a strong sense of that confidence. Put it this way, confidence is contagious. And if you can display strong confidence it’s very likely your employer will feel that same confidence in regards to hiring you.
3. Play connect the dots. Print out a copy of the internship listing and highlight the words they use to describe what they are looking for. Examine your resume and cover letter, do you incorporate what they are looking for? When determining which transferable skills to highlight and discuss in your application materials, use those that the employer talks about in the job description. They are giving you the answers!
4. Don’t harp on your lack of experience. Focus on the experience you DO have and not the experience you DON’T have.
5. Your resume AND your cover letter should include transferable skills that you’ve learned from each opportunity. Don’t put them on one and not the other – as you never know which document the employer will spend the most time reviewing.
6. Make sure to include positions of leadership. Employers tell me over and over again that they want to see a candidate who didn’t just sign up for an organization but was in a leadership role within that organization. Leadership is a skill that employers across the board look for. Make sure to incorporate your leadership experience into both your resume and cover letter.
Good luck! For more tips on the application process for internships, order a copy of my book on internships, All Work, No Pay HERE.