And as a candidate, the odds that you’ll find an employer where you match every item on the skill set is low too. Chances are that some part of the job, such as the industry, language, framework or some aspect of the technology, will be something you’ve never worked with before.
How do you translate your past experience to employers? Share your thoughts below.
For example, I recently needed to find someone to maintain a .NET-based Content Management System (CMS). In Boston, where I am, available .NET developers are pretty hard to come by, where as in Europe it has some traction. I realized this hire could easily take months, or years. I was hoping for weeks.
Faced with the fact that I probably wouldn’t find someone who knew it all already, I looked for someone who could learn it quickly. I specifically sought someone with similar skills, who could translate that knowledge into the specific technologies that would be used for this position.
Developing an Eye for Transferable Developer Skills
The following job requirements could potentially be handled by alert engineers, who recognize the potential for transferring their technology skills:
- .NET — Someone used to working with frameworks on Windows is probably going to work out.
- CMS — Any non-trivial CMS here will do. Someone with a Drupal background, for example, will understand the basics of how this CMS works and have an advantage over someone who has never worked with a CMS before.
Employers will find that candidates who have worked with similar technologies, or in similar industries, have a leg up on learning. They can apply the concepts and ideas from their past experience to the new environment. On the flipside, new employees joining a company that uses a similar technology will have an easier time learning the details. From both perspectives, similar is better than “never seen anything like that before.”
There’s no such thing as a perfect match in employment – from the hiring side, or from the candidate’s perspective. What it comes down to is finding the best candidate who posses the closest match in skills and a candidate who knows how to present those transferable skills to a prospective employer.