Season 3, Episode 10: "I Want to Break Into a New Field. How Do I Make Employers See Past My Lack of Direct Experience?"

Season 3, Episode 10: “I Want to Break Into a New Field. How Do I Make Employers See Past My Lack of Direct Experience?”

We, your humble Bitches, are experts in many topics. How to horrifically fuck up one’s finances, for example! We’ve got hands-on experience with that one, and we aren’t afraid to announce it to an auditorium full of people.

Today we’d like to direct your attention to another area of our hands-on expertise: career transitions. Citizens of Bitch Nation will recall that I transitioned from a career in publishing to one in finance early this year. Certainly not as dramatic as some people’s transitions, but it was still a big deal. I had to figure out how to reframe my existing skill set and experience so it would apply outside of my original industry. And I had to let go of the idea that my career defined me. Scary stuff.

Fortunately, I had prepared for my career transition by setting up a second income stream through my side hustle—this very Chris Dane Owens fan site personal finance blog! And that gave me a huge advantage before I attempted to reforge myself in the fires of a career transition.

For my next career transition, I'm going to be Chris Dane Owens.

Listen to this week’s brand new podcast episode to find out how to identify transferrable skills, translate your experience into the language of a new career, and reinvent your professional worksona! We even kinda know what we’re talking about with this one!

This week’s question

Today’s letter comes to us from Patreon donor Lucie. Lucie asks: 

Hi Piggy and Kitty! I hope all is good! I’m considering changing my job/career. How do I identify transferrable skills from seemingly unrelated jobs and frame them as advantages? 

Perfectly cooked beef bourguignon made in the style of Julia Child, Lucie

Our answer

This isn’t the first time we’ve covered career transitions! It’s not even the first time we’ve talked about how to sell yourself to employers with seemingly no experience. Check it out:

This whole mad project would not be possible without our Patreon supporters. These people are worthy of their very own superhero movie franchise. That’s right—I skipped straight over a lauded run of comic books to a movie franchise because our superheroes patrons are ready for the big screen, metaphorically speaking! We are eternally grateful to their monthly donations and encouragement. If you want to be one of them, join up here:

Episode transcript (click to reveal)

Kitty 0:00

This episode, like all of our episodes, is brought to you by our patreon donors. Thanks to Marta, Kimani, Andy, Kate, Hanna, Rachel, Michelle, Katie, Chelsea, Sarah, Caroline, and Stacey. And an extra-special thanks go to Annet, Ann, Santiago, and Jennifer. Annet is a wedgewood lilac tree that reblooms, like, 17 times a year. Ann is a magical swimsuit that looks great on everyone. Santiago is a wall calendar of the hottest firefighters holding the cutest puppies. And Jennifer is a secret hiking spot that only locals know about, that’s never crowded, where you almost always see a baby deer. Thank you, dear patrons! Mwah!

Piggy 00:50

For those of you who have been deprived of the light and brilliance of Chris Dane Owens—

Kitty 00:56

The light, the life, the legend Chris Dane Owens. This is a figure whom—

Piggy 1:00

He is a creative entity.

Kitty 1:03

Yeah, he is just a being of pure light and

Piggy 1:06

Yes.

Kitty 1:07

And I think he lives in LA or something.

Ducky 1:09

Hi, this is Ducky, producer for Bitches Get Riches. The Bitches continued to talk about obscure fantasy rock auteur Chris Dane Owens for the next 17 minutes. Here are the highlights.

Kitty 1:21

—sharks! There’s no sharks.

Piggy 1:22

No.

Kitty 1:22

But it FEELS like there’s sharks. It feels like there’s everything. There’s dragons.

Piggy 1:23

And giant balls of fire. 

Kitty 1:26

There’s witches, evil witches!

Piggy 1:25

Swinging oversized axes.

Kitty 1:28

Men in weird iron masks, and not Leonardo DiCaprio.

Piggy 1:31

Oh the guy in the weird iron mask—

Kitty 1:33

It is the living embodiment of like, creative bravery and honesty.

Piggy 1:39

It’s got some great cleavage.

Kitty 1:40

I feel like he’s a dream, that you and I dreamed.

Piggy 1:43

Collectively dreamed. Yes.

Kitty 1:44

And other people don’t get it! And I’m like NO! CHRIS DANE OWENS JUST—

Piggy 1:49

[screeches]

Kitty 1:50

—LIKED OUR TWEET!

Piggy 1:51

It goes like the Pyramids at Giza, the Colossus at Rhodes, Shine On Me.

Kitty 1:57

Yeah. I don’t want to damage my relationship with you, but I actually do think that Light Speed is even better.

Piggy 2:03

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Chris Dane Owens, if you are listening, which you probably are not—

Kitty 2:07

Oh my god, but what if he was?!

Piggy 2:09

[screams]

Kitty 2:10

I would fucking lose my mind.

Piggy 2:11

He has written the book, metaphorically speaking, on conquering that voice in your head that says, what if you fail?

Kitty 2:17

He conquered the shit out of it!

Piggy 2:19

So if you would like to see me play those songs on acoustic guitar with as much fervor and earnestness and creative joy as Chris Dane Owens, you can sign up for our patreon.

Kitty 2:30

We are not a personal finance podcast. We are a Chris Dane Owens fancast. The Iron Mask is off and we are here to speak our truth.

Piggy 2:40

Love! Has! Enemies!

Kitty 2:44

[vocalizes]

Theme Song 2:45

If you need some dough
You don’t know where to go
In this patriarchal capitalist hellscape

Well here’s the ‘sitch
We’re gonna help you, sis
Because bitches get riches

Bitches get riches
Bitches get riches
Bitches get riches
And so can you

Kitty 3:16

Okay, let’s go stealth again and talk about the personal finance crap. I’m Kitty.

Piggy 3:20

Ugh, fine. I’m Piggy.

Kitty 3:22

We’re the bitches in Bitches Get Riches.

Piggy 3:24

We’re 2 strange insects that emerge from the ground every 17 years to complete our life cycles. 

Kitty 3:30

And we’re here to make loud noises at you until we eat ourselves to death.

Piggy 3:34

Our time on this planet is limited.

Kitty 3:36

So let’s get started.

Piggy 3:38

Yeah. Today’s letter comes to us from patreon donor Lucie. Lucie asks, hi Piggy and Kitty. Hi Lucie! I hope all is good. I’m considering changing my job/career. How do I identify transferable skills from seemingly unrelated jobs and frame them as advantages? 

Kitty 3:56

This is a fantastic question that I think everyone can get a lot of use out of. Also, I want to compliment Lucie on the spelling of L-u-c-i-e is a super cute way to spell the name Lucie and I’m just really into it.

Piggy 4:06

Very cute, very cute. Mad props.

Kitty 4:08

Okay, so the main challenge with identifying transferable skills, which is an incredibly important skill to be able to like really propel your resume from the mediocre to the astronomically good. It is such a hard skill to develop because it basically asks you to go outside of yourself and look at yourself non-judgmentally. And I just want to honor that Lucy is struggling with how to identify their own transferable skills, because it’s very difficult to step outside of yourself and to eliminate those sorts of value judgments where you’re like, yeah, I needed to do this, but anybody can do that. Yeah, I needed to do this, but like, they make it so easy, like I only have to push a button—and it’s like no.

Piggy 4:53

Things that you find easy, and I actually I had to have my husband, Bear, smack me across the face with this fact recently because I was saying, you know, oh my gosh, my new job is so easy. They only want me to do X, Y, & Z like, they’re totally overpaying me for this work. And he had to be like, no. It’s easy to you. That’s why you have this job.

Kitty 5:13

Mm-hm, mm-hm, mm-hm.

Piggy 5:14

So don’t discount the little things that are easy to you that you’re like, well anyone can do that like, no. The things that you do on a daily basis to be successful at work, those are transferable skills.

Kitty 5:25

Someone who can write a fantastic resume is someone who has figured out exactly how to identify their transferable skills, and it’s especially important for people who are looking to either change careers or really reframe everything that they’ve done in their career up to this point so that they’re really honing in on one thing. There are some transferable skills that if you work in a job that a lot of people have worked, if you google around, you can find people who have identified here are the transferable skills for a babysitter for example, or a Starbucks barista or something like that. If it’s a common skill, I would start by googling and seeing if someone has helped do that work for you.

Piggy 6:08

Mm-hm.

Kitty 6:09

I think there’s 3 ways that come to the top of my mind to identify a transferable skill.

Piggy 6:15

Alright, hit me.

Kitty 6:16

The first is if you do happen to have that skill, if you’re someone who’s really good at thinking big and small, really set aside time to zoom all the way out on your career and think about what are the things that I’m good at doing? And then if you think about, okay, what are the skills behind the things that you’re good at doing? So for example, our admin Ducky—

Piggy 6:39

Hey Ducky!

Kitty 6:40

who’s been helping us out a lot with the podcast and has also been the producer for this season. Thank you, Ducky. She’s really good at, if we say offhand, can you remind us to do this thing later? She says, yes, and then she does it. Now. That’s an activity, that is a job task that she does every day. But what is the skill behind that? So the skills behind that would be listening actively and attention to detail and administrative support.

Piggy 7:09

Staying organized.

Kitty 7:10

Organizational skills.

Piggy 7:11

Managing creatives.

Kitty 7:12

Yeah, oh god. Herding cats.

Piggy 7:16

Everyone should go to YouTube and look at videos of panda keepers trying to like, deal with baby pandas. Ducky is the panda keeper. We are the pandas. If you watch those videos, you will understand.

Kitty 7:29

Yeah. My lord like, yeah, we have “business meetings,” which I hope you can hear the big bunny ears scare quotes I’m doing around that, where it’s like 49 minutes of you and I talking about Chris Dane Owens—

Piggy 7:41

And Ducky desperately trying to keep us on task.

Kitty 7:44

Yeah, it’s great. So think about those tasks that you’re good at. And then go back and say, now what is the skill that describes someone who is good at that task?

Piggy 7:54

Absolutely.

Kitty 7:55

So if you don’t have that zoom in, zoom out ability, the second thing I would suggest is talking to someone who understands your job and values it. Do not ask this question of someone who thinks like, oh yeah a panda bear could do what you do. Because in fact, they’re quite difficult to manage. Thank you very much.

Piggy 8:11

Indeed.

Kitty 8:13

So talk to someone who you work with every day, a co-worker who you really like who has a different job role, and then say like, hey, you’re a copywriter. I’m a graphic designer. Give me your perspective about what makes a good graphic designer. And from that you will hear things that you will identify with and go yeah, you know what, actually I am really good at prioritizing feedback. I am really good at managing difficult clients. You’ll be able to find those things because someone who values what you do and is a little bit more removed is in a much better position to explain it to you. By the same token, please always offer to utilize this kind of skill for the co-workers who you work with who you think are undervalued, underpaid, and struggling to describe what it is that they’re good at. Don’t underestimate what a valuable resource you can be to the people in your life where you’re like, oh my gosh, I see how hard you work. I see how good you are at this stuff. The third thing that I would suggest trying is think about if you’ve ever had a co-worker who has the same job function as you and is terrible, terrible at what they do. Makes your life a living hell, is always dropping a ball or doing things wrong or can’t be relied upon.

Piggy 9:27

We all know ‘em, sometimes we’ve been ‘em.

Kitty 9:29

Think about that person and now describe why were they bad at that? And you might find yourself saying things like, they just were never honest about when they were going to be finished with something. They would say, yeah I’ll get this to you by Tuesday and then I wouldn’t get it until Friday morning and it was so frustrating. I couldn’t plan anything. Stop. That’s your answer. You just have to flip it around. So someone who’s bad at your job has bad time management skills, they lack the self-discipline to accurately describe how long the tasks that they’re going to do take. Flip it around, and you have what that job role is good at and likely what you are good at, which is actually, I am good at this job because I have great time management skills. I’m really good at anticipating how long a task is going to take. Hey, if I can do that then it also means I am self-managing. I’m capable of integrating feedback, but also working independently.

Piggy 10:25

Ooh.

Kitty 10:25

If it’s hard to think of the positive, try thinking of the negative and then spinning those around. So again the first thing, thinking about the tasks that you are good at, and then thinking about what are the skills that inform being good at that task. That’s number one. Number two is asking someone who understands your job intimately and values what you do for their input because they’re just removed enough that they can be able to point out a lot of things that to you are completely invisible. And number three is, if you think about what is someone who’s really bad at your job like, and tie those to skills and then invert them.

Piggy 11:02

Oh, I love that. We have always recommended to our listeners and to our readers that you customize every resume, every cover letter, every job application for the job you’re applying for. I know it’s more work, and you can kind of use a template, but in general, every employer wants an individualized application. Whatever career you’re trying to get into, the reframing portion of this is about putting your existing skills into the context of that new career.

Kitty 11:34

Yeah, and confidence is key to this. I know it sounds really cringe for you to think about a job that maybe you weren’t very proud of. That you didn’t feel was very prestigious or complex or especially what you wanted to do and to try to frame it as basically bragging by way of like getting you to your dream job. I know that’s uncomfortable. I, for example, was a camp counselor for years and I know that had a ton of transferable skills, but did I feel very foolish when I was describing them on my resume as like, logistics and management and support and all these things? Yes. You will feel a little foolish, but you have to push through that because no one is going to advocate for you if you don’t do it for yourself. So if you come in in your resume with this kind of like, well I haven’t done very much. I don’t have much to be proud of. If that’s the energy that you’re bringing into your resume, no one will understand why they should hire you. And ultimately what the transferable skills is about is making the person that you’re talking to understand because I am good at A, B, & C. Here is how I would also be excellent at X, Y, & Z. You’re really just trying to convince them to see the link between two things that are not immediately, obviously linked.

Piggy 13:06

Mm-hm.

Kitty 13:07

It’s not about lying or blustering or making it sound more complex. It’s about just making it clear that I have a proven track record of thinking creatively. I have a proven track record of managing my time wisely and showing, hey, I see that you are advertising for a job that is asking for creative people who are excellent at time management. Here is that skill that I’ve lived throughout my life just not in a way that you would personally recognize. If you can’t be confident about that, you’re not going to be successful. So like, do whatever you have to do to psych yourself up. I know it’s cringey. But you got to do it because no one will do it for you.

Piggy 13:48

Um I believe the corporate lingo way of saying that is fake it till you make it.

Kitty 13:53

There you go. Can we wrap by talking about what are some of the most common in-demand transferable skills that people don’t really think of as being something worth writing about on a resume?

Piggy 14:10

Oh yes, and I’m not even sure how to frame this so maybe we can work shop it, but the ability to Google the answer.

Kitty 14:18

Oh my god, yes! Okay, actually I can legit answer this—

Piggy 14:25

Ooh, good!

Kitty 14:25

—because my husband transitioned from working in a job as a tour guide to working in a job as a software developer. Don’t ask me how. I’m still, like, how did you manage this?

Piggy 14:40

Magic.

Kitty 14:39

Even though I coached you through every step of it and I know you did it with my help, once you’re at the end of that transition, it does feel like magic. So one of the things that he really has to be good at Is figuring out when I’m having a problem with programming language that I don’t know how to solve, how do I phrase it in google so that I can find people who have similar problems and have ultimately discovered the answer? It is a very, very, very in-demand skill. So the way I would frame that. Research.

Piggy 15:12

That’s a good, good word.

Kitty 15:13

Problem solving, writing skills, listening skills. Those are all like kind of a part of—

Piggy 15:20

Investigation.

Kitty 15:21

Investi—yes! Like the more you work with high level people—I’m shaking my fist in my closet—the more you work with high level people, the more you will be shocked by what they don’t know how to do.

Piggy 15:34

Oh it’s, it’s ridiculous. And this is especially for older generations. Like the number of times a baby boomer that I’m working with asks me a question and it takes me 15 seconds to google the answer and give it to them and they’re so grateful.

Kitty 15:47

Exactly.

Piggy 15:48

And it’s nothing against them. They just weren’t raised as digital natives the way the younger generations were.

Kitty 15:53

Yeah. I have had the global vice presidents of Fortune 50 companies call me and effusively, personally thank me because I made their powerpoint look a little bit better, and they think I’m a fucking magician. And I’m just like, how did you get this far—but of course, you’re people in your 50’s, 60’s and beyond. Like this was not a skill that you needed. And they are truly impressed by that. So like you have to harness that energy of like, think of—maybe this, maybe this is pathway number 4! What would your grandma say that you’re good at?

Piggy 16:33

Yes!

Kitty 16:34

Think about what Mee-maw needs!

Piggy 16:35

Oh my god.

Kitty 16:36

[grandma voice] Oh, she’s so good at getting my digital photos to show up on my iPad. I don’t touch any other buttons on this except for the photos-of-my-grandchild button. [regular voice] Like, dude, if you can use Word, If you can use Excel, if you can write well. If you can read things and then summarize them, like that alone is a huge, huge skill.

Piggy 17:00

That is a skill. Those are huge skills.

Kitty 17:04

If you in your mind think, oh, I’m not going to put powerpoint on my resume because everybody knows how to use powerpoint.

Piggy 17:10

They do not!

Kitty 17:11

I’ve only used it like a dozen times to make like a couple of presentations in college. Like it’s not something—put it on your resume! Because you have no idea how many people on this green earth—

Piggy 17:24

—just have no fucking idea. They have no idea!

Kitty 17:26

I am a senior-level consultant and I get people emailing me twice a week to ask questions like, how do I save this image—

Piggy 17:36

[gasp]

Kitty 17:37

—as a JPEG?

Piggy 17:38

[gasps louder]

Kitty 17:38

It’s a dot PNG. I don’t know what to do with a dot PNG.

Piggy 17:43

The other thing too, like Microsoft Office, yes, don’t assume everybody knows how to use all those tools. But if you have a TikTok, if you have an Instagram, if you are at all involved in social media—

Kitty 17:52

Yes. Yes!

Piggy 17:54

—put social media on your list of technical skills on your resume.

Kitty 17:58

Just put it on. Just put it on.

Piggy 18:00

Just put it on there. And like I guarantee you, you don’t need to have an advanced degree in social media management or whatever to impress a prospective employer with your social media skills if you know how to regularly update a Twitter account. Again, this is just something that non digital natives need help with.

Kitty 18:20

Absolutely.

Piggy 18:21

This goes for hobbies as well.

Kitty 18:24

Yes.

Piggy 18:24

Like if you’re a musician, if you’re an athlete, you are using valuable transferable career skills.

Kitty 18:31

Memorization, translation, practice.

Piggy 18:33

Strategy.

Kitty 18:34

Committing to goals, following through on training regimens and plans. Like if you are someone who can wake up at the ass crack of dawn every day and go to the gym for an hour, I am fucking impressed by you. I want to see that even if it’s not “I go to the gym” as a bullet point on your resume, like, find a way to say, I am someone with a lot of follow-through. I’m someone with a lot of dedication. I have vision and I have the drive to achieve that vision and translate goals into reality.

Piggy 19:07

Absolutely. If you are a musician and you are a skilled sight reader, what that means is you are capable of thinking on your feet and processing new information quickly, which are both very valuable skills. Man, we’re so good at this advice stuff.

Kitty 19:19

Yes, and you have practice and dedication and oh my god. Yeah, like no matter what it is that you do in your life. Even if you’ve never had a job. If you’re like, just out of high school or just out of college, and you say, I’ve nothing to go on my resume. I guarantee you, you do. If you are just like, well, I don’t do anything with my life. I just stream me playing The Sims and finding new more, inventive ways to make my sims have drama with each other—

Piggy 19:49

I’d watch that.

Kitty 19:49

—for the entertainment purposes of the 35 people who watch my stream. Okay, if you are that person, the transferable skills that I see there are creativity, spatial awareness, audience management, social media SEO, writing skills, and delivering speeches—public speaking, public speaking!

Piggy 20:11

Public speaking.

Kitty 20:12

Like all of that. You just don’t think of it because you’ve been trained to not value it because it’s not something that’s brought in a bunch of money, because it’s just something that’s brought you personal pleasure. Our culture has trained you to think it’s not valuable. You just have to resist that training and see what the value is in it. In that sort of capitalist framework, how do I translate this into making money at a job?

Piggy 20:35

Mm, I love it.

Kitty 20:36

I just want you all to hear this. If you cannot express the value of what you do in your personal resume, you are never going to work for a company that actually values that skill-set and wants to pay you well and promote you well for having it. If you cannot advocate for yourself and frame it in the best, most impressive possible light, it’s never going to be valued and you will always be in situations where you are underpaid and undervalued. And I just don’t want that for any of our readers.

Piggy 21:10

God, no.

Kitty 21:10

So like, get comfortable with bragging.

Piggy 21:13

Brag the hell out of yourself.

Kitty 21:14

Embrace the feeling of cringing at yourself. Brag like you—like your Nona is writing this! Are we good with that?

Piggy 21:22

Yeah, I’m good with that.

Kitty 21:24

Listeners, if you want us to answer your question, go to BitchesGetRiches.com and click “Ask the Bitches.” Production of this podcast is directly tied to our total number of Patreon supporters, so if you want to hear more, join us at patreon.com/bitchesgetriches. And if you need a little more Bitches in your life (and who could blame you?), you can read our articles and follow us on social media at BitchesGetRiches.com.

Piggy 21:47

Hey, is there anything else they should know?

Kitty 21:48

Yeah. I’ve searched my heart, and I’ve determined that my very favorite shot in a Chris Dane Owens music video is toward the end of Shine On Me he kind of pulls open his shirt and he’s got like, a whole glowing doorway where his heart should be.

Piggy 22:03

Oh yeah.

Kitty 22:04

I’ve never felt so spiritually resonant with something. It’s the best.

Piggy 22:09

Good to know!

Kitty & Piggy 22:10

Bitches out!

[vocalizing]

When you lift my heart (heart)

Shine on me (With the light of love)

Shine on me (With the light of love)

[laughter]

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