Using Transferable Skills If You’re a Project Manager In a Niche Industry

Karen Springer May 30, 20180 comments

At Spring Forward Résumés, we not only create résumés, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles, we also monitor job trends. Ever felt like you’re living in a bionic age? One where automation, robots, and artificial intelligence (AI) are taking over? Well, you’re not too far off. According to Glassdoor, some jobs that are done by humans today will be lost to new technology. However, new jobs and fields are opening because of  innovation.

So what does that mean for you when it comes to surviving in a constantly changing workforce? What if you’re a project manager in an industry like healthcare that’s using more and more automated processes? If you evaluate your expertise, you can identify transferable skills to bring to other jobs.

The Evolution of Project Management

In the not-so-distant past, project managers worked in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC). While there is still high demand in this area, project management techniques are now used almost anywhere. Healthcare, information technology, finance, manufacturing – you name it, and project and program managers are a hot commodity. If you’re wondering how you can use your existing skills to work as a project manager in a different industry, good news! These are transferable skills used in a wide range of jobs and industries. We’ve worked with many project managers who are now in different industries than they were previously.

A key thing to keep in mind when job searching is that employers often use different terms for the same thing. A job might not be posted as a project or program manager position. However, the description could entail skills in that arena that they are looking for. If you’ve identified problems and pulled together teams to arrive at a solution, congratulations – you’ve done project management. Or if you’ve been tasked to implement a new solution or improve a process, congratulations again – you’ve also done project management!

How to Apply Different Skills to New Industries

Whether you’re currently a project manager in construction, healthcare, information technology, or finance, you can use these skills in many other professions. Areas such as operations, software implementation, warehousing, and merchandising use these skills.

Find ways to correlate your skills to the industry and company you’re applying to. Show your versatility and how you solve problems in a variety of ways. Revise your résumé with tangible examples from each position. To do that, make a list of your skills like the one below. They’re essential to project and program managers across the board. Then group your experience and achievements accordingly.

Time Management: Scheduling, prioritization, forecasting

Documentation: Business cases, standard operating procedures (SOP), presentations, managing communications

Brainstorming: Pitching and exploring new ideas, identifying lack of expert knowledge, best practices, evidence-based arguments

Financial Acumen: Budget creation, cost evaluation, expense tracking, cash flow management

Planning: Resource allocation, defining goals, motivating others, contingency plans

Problem-Solving: Researching issues, evaluating bottlenecks, decision-making, data analysis, critical thinking

If you think creatively and apply these transferable skills to your résumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn, you will be better positioned for jobs in more industries than you ever thought possible.

Have you successfully used transferable skills as a project manager to find a new job or career? Do you think there are other skills that a project manager can use elsewhere? Let us know in the comments!

 Karen Springer, MBA, CPRW, is the owner of Spring Forward Résumés. When she’s not writing or meeting with clients, she enjoys researching anything and everything, reading, and spending time with family and friends. Karen lives in Rhode Island with her husband and two guard cats.