What are the certain phrases or ways in which transferable skills can be projected in resume and interview when I am considered as a fresh recruit , though I have experience in a slightly different field ?

I am in engineering and expect engineering oriented answers. I am talking about 3-5 years' experience level with minimum managerial and leadership roles with more of engineering work experience that I want to show as transferable.

I must say that some recruiters acknowledge my experience and say that if I have done this I can do that with minimal guidance. I would like to know the best and definite way to impress and negotiate with the HR or potential senior team mate with my transferable skills.

  • 1
    Why are you considered fresh recruit when you have 3 years of experience? Could you clarify that
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 1:51
  • Can you give more detail about the type of engineering? I work in the architecture/construction industry, and can provide an answer for that type of engineering, but that may not be applicable for you.
    – magerber
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 1:53
  • Experience in a different country (not USA) and experience in broadly in one field of engineering ( e.g. civil engineering) but not specifically what the company aims to fill (or projects itself as aiming to fill) e.g. civil construction for waste water treatment. PS: I am in electrical engineering
    – AAI
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 1:53

2 Answers 2


This feels somewhat specific for this site, but since I can answer, I will. Plus, I think this is a good way to think about creating a resume anyway.

As you already know, the skill set of an electrical engineer vs a civil engineer is very different, so basically the only thing you can really sell are those skills that are less engineering-related. Think about what issues a civil engineer on a wastewater treatment project is likely to be dealing with--project siting, environmental factors, grading, etc. They will need to know land use codes, etc. so the best things for you to highlight are previous projects where, for example, you needed to take site elements into consideration as you were working on the electrical plans. In other words, try to think about the concerns you made get face as a civil engineer, and pull out elements of your previous work that touched on these same concerns.

Also, try to think through whether your knowledge of electrical engineering might impact on civil considerations; maybe you have done work on complex electrical systems and have learned things that could impact whether they should be placed underground or not--heat buildup vs limited vault spacing, etc.

Then more generally, there are issues that all engineers face, regardless of their specialty--working on a collaborative team with other design professionals, project management, budget management, etc. Whenever you can, highlight your accomplishments related to skills that are consistent across various disciplines.

As for moving to a different country, the best way to overcome that issue is to make sure to define things that people may not know. For example, if I said that I had worked on the new terminal at LAX, people in Los Angeles know that this is a big, complex project, and likely so do many people who know about airport construction around the US, would also know the relative scale of the project. But, to someone in a foreign country, the project name alone might be relatively meaningless, so you want to be sure and include quantifiers, like "provided engineering services for low-voltage system for a 300,000 sf facility" so that people can understand the scope of your prior experience more readily.

TL;DR. In order to optimize the value of unrelated experience, try to anticipate the issues you will face in this new position, and see what elements of your previous work addresses similar situations, or has provided you with insights you might bring to bear on your new role.

Hope this is helpful...


Focus on "Engineering" not "X Engineering". Most engineering fields are built on a common set of disciplines - math, scientific method, etc. Look at the most advanced areas before these diverge or specialize, and focus there. I'm an EE myself, and moved into business process re-engineering with less experience than you. Everything I learned about "systems" translated surprisingly well.

For the areas past the point of divergence, or for other areas of difference, show that you understand the differences. You are not showing that you know the answers, but that you understand the gaps. If you can, show similarities or mappings of your current skills to ways you would approach closing those gaps, include those.

You can also focus on the advantages your tangential skills bring. Water Treatment is a system/chemical process that has more in common with EE then CE. The new position is Civil Engineering supporting Systems Engineering. Your systems perspective may give you additional insights to potential problems and solutions.

  • +100, for a great addition. You have the specific knowledge of the engineering fields that I lack as a marketer. I wish all engineers could think so clearly about how the engineering fields overlap and intersect. Your points here are really valuable, and I will be keeping them in my back pocket for future resumes I might have to create for employees at my firm.
    – magerber
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 23:08

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