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  1. #1

    Default Explaining the value of transferrable skills to a recruitment consultant?

    Knowledge in the general public of what physicists and engineers do, or are capable of doing, seems pretty limited. And I've been running into this problem when applying for jobs.

    How would you communicate the value of engineering and physics skills to a layman or recruitment consultant? I just need to get across the message that it is quite easy for a physicist or engineer to approach a new system, and the fact I am not qualified in a specific area does not mean I can't pick it up quite quickly, especially if the focus is scientific and problem solving related. I have found they treat it more like skilled labour where an electrician does electrical wiring and a carpenter builds things. From what I know, at least within the circle, engineering and physics are seen as quite broad and adaptable skills sets. And I've read endless accounts of physicists being employed in non-physics industries. How do I get them to take any notice of me when making a career change? Or should I look for companies which already know the value of hiring people from physics and engineering?

    p.s. Make this a general discussion on applying for jobs using transferable skills, if you want.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noigmn View Post
    How would you communicate the value of engineering and physics skills to a layman or recruitment consultant?
    You explained it quite well in your own post. Just make it a point to communicate this to the hiring manager (or include it in your cover letter/resume/application so that they read it):

    ...it is quite easy for a physicist or engineer to approach a new system, and the fact I am not qualified *may not appear to be qualified in the traditional sense* in a specific area does not mean I can't pick it up quite quickly, especially if the focus is scientific and problem solving related. ...engineering and physics are seen as *are* quite broad and adaptable skills sets. And I've read *There are* endless accounts of physicists being employed in non-physics industries.
    Make sure that you communicate this to them in one way or another. It's really your only chance. If you don't have actual work experience in the field in the same way that other applicants do, then you have to communicate to them why you can still do the job just as good.
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    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I think it depends on what area you're applying for, exactly.

    Although some things will be applicable to almost any job (networking, people skills, computer/internet skills, writing skills, to some degree problem-solving), other skills will be applicable to fairly broad but still limited areas (engineering is very broad to start off with, and you could have skills that would be valuable anywhere in science, which is also a ridiculously huge area).

    Are you applying for non-scientific jobs? I can see how they wouldn't understand for that case in particular.
    -end of thread-

  4. #4
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noigmn View Post
    Knowledge in the general public of what physicists and engineers do, or are capable of doing, seems pretty limited. And I've been running into this problem when applying for jobs.

    How would you communicate the value of engineering and physics skills to a layman or recruitment consultant? I just need to get across the message that it is quite easy for a physicist or engineer to approach a new system, and the fact I am not qualified in a specific area does not mean I can't pick it up quite quickly, especially if the focus is scientific and problem solving related. I have found they treat it more like skilled labour where an electrician does electrical wiring and a carpenter builds things. From what I know, at least within the circle, engineering and physics are seen as quite broad and adaptable skills sets. And I've read endless accounts of physicists being employed in non-physics industries. How do I get them to take any notice of me when making a career change? Or should I look for companies which already know the value of hiring people from physics and engineering?

    p.s. Make this a general discussion on applying for jobs using transferable skills, if you want.
    Oh god, I can relate. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending how you look at it ) I was forced to take classes in how to communicate this stuff. A good way is to list about 5-6 transferable skills and give clear examples of how you used this skill in previous jobs in broad simple terms and, preferably, why this is of benefit to an employer. You can definitely use 'a fast learner' and 'adaptability' - they are good skills to have because they save employers money in training you and in employing extra staff because you can pick up the slack wherever necessary. As Randomnity said, you have to keep the skills specific to the jobs you're applying for but for an agency list all the ones you can. Some examples from one of my cover letters (sorry for their lameness - this is why I hate job searching ):

    Organization and Excellence
    • I am very organised and attentive to detail which I have demonstrated while working on the feature film, Jake. I successfully followed correct procedures with both digital video files and paperwork; working with care to ensure no footage was lost, misfiled or incorrectly encoded.

    Flexibility
    • I understand that I will need to be skilled at adapting to the situation at hand. I am very capable at multitasking, prioritizing and adjusting in response to challenges that arise. While working at Picture Talk, I had to manage a variety of tasks simultaneously; such as transcribing, answering the phone, dubbing DVDs and attending to paperwork.

    There will be wide variety of skills your can talk about (depending on what applies to you):

    Analytical and evaluating skills
    Problem solving
    Team player
    Broad technical capacity
    Leadership
    Verbal and communication
    Writing skills
    Attention to detail
    Reliability and integrity
    Coping under pressure
    Self-discipline and taking the initiative
    Multitasking
    Computer (list specific software)
    Design
    Generating new ideas
    Customer service
    Working independently and unsupervised
    Training others

    Hope this helps...
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    I think it depends on what area you're applying for, exactly.

    Although some things will be applicable to almost any job (networking, people skills, computer/internet skills, writing skills, to some degree problem-solving), other skills will be applicable to fairly broad but still limited areas (engineering is very broad to start off with, and you could have skills that would be valuable anywhere in science, which is also a ridiculously huge area).

    Are you applying for non-scientific jobs? I can see how they wouldn't understand for that case in particular.
    Thanks for that. I'd like to move to something outside physics which is a bit faster paced, more people and out of the office a bit more. Maybe feel I'm contributing something to the world (stupid ENFP traits, grrr) It could be another science or eng, or could be something completely different. I'm pretty open to whatever seems good.

    One example of when I had trouble was when I was looking at was environmental science jobs in "energy and climate change", which I thought I'm not that unsuited to with electrical engineering and physics background (at least I thought I'd have a pretty good idea of energy, power related things, atmospheric and statistical modelling, etc.) I'd think someone from the maths department might be better than physicists at the atmospheric stuff, but still it seemed not that far stretched seeing they requested environmental scientists not maths PhDs. And they were like, you modelled systems in your old job but I don't see how your skills are otherwise useful. I thought it was an area I could bring a lot to with the deeper understanding my degrees might give me, but couldn't seem to get a foot in the door to start even.

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    Oh god, I can relate. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending how you look at it ) I was forced to take classes in how to communicate this stuff. A good way is to list about 5-6 transferable skills and give clear examples of how you used this skill in previous jobs in broad simple terms and, preferably, why this is of benefit to an employer. You can definitely use 'a fast learner' and 'adaptability' - they are good skills to have because they save employers money in training you and in employing extra staff because you can pick up the slack wherever necessary. As Randomnity said, you have to keep the skills specific to the jobs you're applying for but for an agency list all the ones you can. Some examples from one of my cover letters (sorry for their lameness - this is why I hate job searching ):
    .
    .
    .
    Hope this helps...
    Thanks, that helps. I'm never sure what to put in the random skills on cover letters. Like I address the ones I know I have to, but in my past jobs adaptability, communication, innovation, etc. have probably been my stronger points. Punctuality, consistency, etc. not so much . Some of the things feel like they are hard to give evidence for, but you know they are what makes you really useful in a job.
    Freude, schöner Götterfunken Tochter aus Elysium, Wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, dein Heiligtum! Deine Zauber binden wieder Was die Mode streng geteilt; Alle Menschen werden Brüder, Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

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