How do I show that my experience is relevant to other jobs when taking on a completely new career path?

Your résumé needs extra attention when you turn from one career field to another. In addition to finding the right vocabulary to get through Applicant Tracking Systems, you have to translate your experience to show its relevance. My extensive experience in both education and résumé writing have given me a solid background in helping professionals transition into or out of the classroom, so I am using education for these examples.

The first step in demonstrating your fit for the role is to carefully read the job description. Take note of the duties of the new position and the requirements that potential employers have for applicants. Compare this with your experience and skillset, and focus on the overlap. Proving that you have the skills potential employers need is more important than showing off attributes that are generally impressive but irrelevant to your next role.

Pay close attention to the terms in the job description. They are probably similar to the search terms used by the Applicant Tracking Software. Phrase your experience in a way that is accurate but uses these key terms.

As a final step, write a cover letter that clearly communicates your experience — again using the language of your future career. Acknowledge that this will be a career shift, and provide a bit of information as to why you want to make this change. The tone of your letter should be positive and professional. It is fine to say that you want to take on new challenges, or increase the time you spend on x, or move your career in direction y, but be careful not to put down your previous work. That would undercut your argument that the work you have done in the past has served as preparation for your future career.

Below are some sample résumé bullet points that show transferable skills between teaching and other careers. These examples are generic to give a broad idea of translating skills. As much as possible, though, when you write your own résumé you will want to use numbers and achievements to more thoroughly communicate your value.

Transitioning Between Education and Executive Assistant Roles

Link to Teacher Job Description

Link to Executive Assistant Job Description

From Teacher to Executive Assistant:

  • Communicated effectively with colleagues, students and parents, and administrative team (campus and district level) through email, monthly newsletters, and phone calls.
  • Maintained comprehensive records of student progress, disciplinary concerns, and parent communication.
  • Followed district policies to order items for class activities and collect money for field trips and school fundraisers.
  • Designed and followed classroom schedule in conjunction with grade-level team, special services providers, and cocurricular teachers to ensure that resources and spaces were available when needed and all students could receive appropriate services within the school day.
  • Created inviting atmosphere for families at open house and other special events.
  • Politely redirected visitors to front office for ID scan and visitor badge to comply with school security requirements.
  • Balanced administrative mandates, parental requests, and individual student needs by prioritizing most important matters and handling others as time permitted.   
  • Researched scope and sequence of curriculum, prepared instructional materials, and planned and implemented lessons to reach students with variety of learning styles. 

From Executive Assistant to Teacher:

  • Prepared materials and wrote memoranda for meetings and professional conferences.
  • Organized schedule, anticipated needs, and enforced time limits to keep busy executive on schedule.
  • Used preferred communication methods to effectively reach diverse groups of stakeholders.
  • Created, maintained, and organized documentation of executive meetings and communication.
  • Built rapport with VIPs, clients, and key employees including other assistants to company leaders.
  • Welcomed guests, scheduled appointments, and assisted company leadership with errands, event-planning, and goal achievement.
  • Assisted company leadership with breaking down large projects into manageable tasks, then devising and implementing plan to efficiently achieve goal.
  • Developed safe, respectful, and inclusive environment for employees and clients attending executive meetings.

Transitioning Between Project Management and Education Careers

Link to Teacher Job Description

Link to Project Manager Job Description

From Teacher to Project Manager:

  • Set and monitored progress toward short- and long-term goals for whole class instruction and individual student progress.
  • Consistently exceeded quality expectations and deadlines for instructional and administrative tasks.
  • Used data-driven decision making to adjust plans and ensure class proceeded efficiently while maximizing student outcomes.
  • Served as point of contact for students, parents, grade level teaching team, guidance counselors, special service providers, and administrative teams with common goal of student success.
  • Communicated frequently with administrative teams on campus and at district level to align instruction and keep students on track to achieve learning and behavioral goals.
  • Assessed students frequently using formal and informal measures to ensure attainment of learning goals.
  • Complied with district policies for effective communication, confidentiality, and differentiated instruction to ensure that entire student-centered team worked together effectively to increase student achievement. 

From Project Manager to Teacher:

  • Responsible for project including timeline, budget, and progress-checks from planning stages through completion.
  • Motivated team members to complete individual assignments through combination of encouragement, incentives, and structured reminders.
  • Created checklists to track and evaluate team members’ progress, adjusting schedule and resource availability as needed.
  • Led meetings with leadership team and employees to share trajectory of project, external factors affecting completion status, and team member progress.
  • Implemented meeting norms to create safe, respectful, and inclusive environment for collaboration.
  • Established clear objectives and communicated regularly with leadership, team members, and clients to prevent and address areas of concern. 
  • Prepared planning sessions, adjusted materials, and adapted communication methods to effectively address all team members.
  • Developed positive relationships with leadership and team members; followed up one-on-one to support team members when project demands were high. 

Transitioning Between Education and Sales

Link to Teacher Job Description

Link to Sales Job Description

From Teacher to Sales:

  • Familiarized self and assisted department with new software, online textbook features, and district curriculum as course changes were applied.
  • Used student information system to collect contact information and create email lists for specialized groups, including students in certain courses, students in specific extracurricular activities, and students taking AP or state-mandated tests to maximize efficiency in communication.
  • Identified families with specific needs and communicated proactively to learn how best to support our shared students in classroom.
  • Recommended services and informed parents of school offerings related to student/family interests.
  • Created plans and negotiated accommodations to help students make up missed class time and catch up on missed work following absences and extenuating circumstances.
  • Collaborated with teachers in other departments to create interdisciplinary lessons and support each others’ learning goals
  • Developed professional relationships with students and families through in-person events, occasional phone calls, and regular electronic communication.

From Sales to Teacher:

  • Prepared and delivered presentations to potential clients, individually or in groups
  • Established and communicated clear objectives; met all sales targets for 2022.
  • Adapted sales pitches to meet preferences of potential clients and encouraged prospects to explore product and compare to competitor’s brand.
  • Met with clients one-on-one upon request.
  • Tracked and evaluated responses to different sales strategies and devised future sales pitches based on this data.
  • Developed and maintained positive relationships with development team, marketing team, clients, and prospects.
  • Communicated regularly with potential clients, alerting them to new products that met their needs.


It can be a little tricky to show that you have the skills potential employers need. We are skilled in researching careers, interviewing clients to find areas of great strength, and communicating excellence in writing. Contact us for help!

How To Use Technology To Make Work More Accessible If You Have A Disability

Photo via Pexels

How To Use Technology To Make Work
More Accessible If You Have A Disability

Guest Post by Patrick Young of

No one should feel discouraged or held back when planning their career. Today’s job market accommodates people with a wide range of skills and abilities, so anyone can find success and fulfillment at work. With the help of tech devices, software, and online apps, people with disabilities are gaining access to all kinds of empowering work opportunities that can give them greater independence and control over their lives. Custom Career Coach explains some ways technology can help you in your search for the perfect career.

Looking for A Job

Job hunting is one area where technology is helping people with disabilities get ahead. 

  • Start a business online or search for remote work without leaving the house. These remote work opportunities can help people with mobility impairments participate in work and earn an income, even if commuting to an office every day is unrealistic. 
  • Look for freelance opportunities. There are numerous online resources for people who want to pursue freelance work. For example, staffing firms can help you find job opportunities that are a perfect fit for your skills and talents, whether you’re looking for work in web development, marketing, sales, customer service, or other fields.
  • Search and apply for positions online. Some websites even cater to employers who are specifically looking to hire people with disabilities. You can also reach out to local employers over email or social media to inquire about potential job openings and share your interest. 
  • Network. Networking online is an excellent way to discover unique career opportunities. Business News Daily specifically recommends LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for finding potential jobs and portraying yourself as a professional and passionate candidate.
  • Hire a professional resume writer. In addition to helping people find careers that meet their interests, Custom Career Coach can transform your resume and help you highlight your strengths and goals so you can stand out from the crowd.

Stay Connected

Staying connected to clients, customers, employers, and coworkers is important for all job seekers these days, and especially for anyone working in a remote position. Various tech tools can help you with this. 

  • A reliable smartphone will allow you to contact people on your team or manage work-related matters when you’re away from the computer. Tameday recommends free communication apps like Slack and Google Hangouts for staying in the loop when working from home. 
  • Video conferencing. Websites like Go-To Meeting and Skype can help you stay in touch when a face-to-face conversation is prefered. 

Access Support

The internet is a bottomless resource for career support and educational opportunities that can help people with disabilities obtain the skills they need to join the workforce. 

  • Use available resources. Online advocacy groups and organizations can be great for finding employment guides, training, and assistive technology services.  
  • Receive skills training and job coaching. Using online education portals like Lynda and Coursera can give you access to new skills, which can help you enjoy long-term success in the workplace.
  • Earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree online. Online degrees can be completed from home, and you can work at your own pace. For example, if you wanted to start your own business, an MBA degree will focus on business skills, management, and strategy.

Overcome Barriers

When it comes to getting work done, assistive devices can help you overcome any barriers you may be facing. 

  • Look for the right tools. There are products out there to accommodate nearly any disability imaginable. As an example, people who aren’t able to control a computer mouse can use speech recognition software, face tracking, and eye gaze systems for hands-free computing. Vision and hearing-impaired individuals have access to all kinds of built-in computer accessibility features like text-to-speech, on-screen keyboards, high-contrast themes, closed captions, and text magnification. 
  • Learn how to manage. There are also programs specifically designed to help people with learning disabilities to write and communicate on computers.

Don’t let your disability stop you from getting the job you want. The evolution of technology has opened up some amazing career paths for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Take advantage of the tech tools available to you so you can produce your best possible work, show employers that you have the skills they want, and ultimately thrive in your career. There are no barriers to success that you can’t overcome.

Ready to find the perfect job that matches your passions and interests? Turn to Custom Career Coach for professional support in pursuing the right career track and having a polished, eye-catching resume. 

How do I get a job without experience?

It can be challenging to find a job that doesn’t require you to have prior experience. The US Department of Labor reported in 2016 that 47.8% of all civilian jobs posted required experience. So how do you get your first job?

There are several steps I recommend for my clients in this situation. First, read the job description with an eye toward your current activities. See if you might be able to build a bridge between unpaid work you are doing and the skills that potential employers want to see from job candidates.

For example, if you want to work in construction, you could fill a resume with projects you’ve completed for yourself and others. Include a Habitat for Humanity service project you worked on with your church group. Renovations and major repairs you’ve made on your own home are also relevant. Other activities can show your strengths as well. If you mowed lawns in the summer then you learned many skills related to construction — make sure potential employers are aware of them! You could not have kept a lawn-mowing job without a basic understanding of customer service, ability to follow through on commitments, and knack for using tools.

Your cover letter gives you a chance to explain why you would be an asset to your potential employer. Do not dwell on your lack of paid experience in this letter, but do acknowledge it. A statement like, “While I do not have paid experience in this field, I have acquired a great deal of practical experience through my work on… “, can help you achieve this.

Finally, if you are a student or recent grad you can include information about particular classes and experiences you have had at school. You wouldn’t want to list them all, but you could certainly bring some highlights into your resume or cover letter.

The bottom line is this: Future employers want to know that you have the skills you need. Use your career documents to show them that you are ready, willing, and able to take on the job.

What other experiences can you draw from as you create your first resume?

How do I find a good job?

We spend about 30% of our lives at work. This makes decisions about the type of work that we pursue very important to our overall happiness.   This is a complicated question, and we will break down the answer over a series of posts.

Step 1: Figure out what a “good job” means to you.

Some of the factors below will be very important to you as you consider your options.  Some will play a role in your decision but not be deal-breakers, while others will not matter to you at all.

  • What type of work do you like? What do you actually want to do all day?
  • What type of environment do you prefer to work in? Are you comfortable in an office, school, hospital, warehouse, the great outdoors, or a variety of settings?
  • How do you feel about work travel?
  • What type of training are you prepared to undertake for your work? How much time can you reasonably put in to this?
  • What financial commitment are you willing or able to make to your career?
  • What other commitments do you need to consider?
  • What hours would you like to work?
  • How do you prefer to be compensated? Do you prefer to be paid based on your time, effort, skills, or results?
  • Are you willing/able to relocate for your work? How does the commute factor in to your decision?
  • What geographic location is appealing to you? Is it important to you to live near a certain place, or in a certain size city / town?
  • Do you prefer to collaborate with a team as you do most of your work, or would you rather take full responsibility for part of a project and take care of it independently?
  • How do you feel about social interaction at work?
  • How do you feel about making decisions?
  • How much supervision do you need to feel comfortable at work? How do you feel about leading others?
  • How do you measure success?
  • What are 3-5 things you enjoy doing? What are 3-5 things that really bother you?
  • What are 3-5 things you take pride in? What are 3-5 things you wish you would prefer not to be judged on?
  • What are 3-5 things you look forward to doing? What are 3-5 things you dread?
  • Describe the best day you’ve ever had at work (or volunteer placement or school).
  • Describe the worst day you’ve ever had at work (or volunteer placement or school).

Follow up questions are important, so don’t get bogged down in these specific prompts as you think about your ideal job.   Reply below and let us know what other factors are important to you as you consider your happiness with work.