Transfer those Skills! How to Identify, Communicate, and Sell your Transferable Skills when Switching Careers

Monday 2:20pm, Salon F-H
Beginner

About This Talk

Tech industry giants are acknowledging that diversity in employee backgrounds is valuable for their organizations’ bottom lines. However, it’s still tough for job seekers to land a tech job without prior experience closely aligned with the job they’re applying for. This talk will focus on helping people who are looking for their next tech role: (1) understand themes of what hiring committees look for, (2) identify transferable skills from nontraditional experience they already have, (3) communicate the power of their unique set of past experiences, and (4) learn tools to demonstrate these skills in their resume and job interviews.

Attendees who are looking for their next role will leave with actionable ideas for improving job application materials, conveying transferable skills from non-technology-related jobs in interviews, and generally rocking any job interview with basic tips that many people miss.

Attendees involved in hiring will learn how pursuing non traditional candidates is one effective strategy to meet their diversity, inclusion, and equity metrics.

The presenters, both of whom came to tech without a traditional CS background, will give a short introduction of their experience and expertise. They will discuss the aspects of their experience that they expected to be valuable from the start, and those (sometimes surprising!) skills whose value became apparent only after they got to technical positions. Both presenters have participated in hiring panels, one as a hiring manager.

They will share tips and tricks based on industry best practices and their experience reviewing resumes, cover letters, speaking with references, and interviewing job candidates. They will highlight common mistakes and things to consider when applying for, and then interviewing for, attendees’ next tech job.

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Caroline Taylor

Caroline supervised up-and-coming developers for 3 years at the University of Texas at Austin, and has hired developers with a range of experience from trainees with no coding background to devs with 2 years experience. She loves mentoring, particularly nontraditional tech professionals who are building their careers! Pivoting from a career in environmental education to software development stretched Caroline’s ability to advocate for her own nontraditional background. Since then, she has held an array of roles including Software Developer, Training Coordinator, Dev Manager, and most recently Product Owner. Caroline is an avid volunteer in the workplace and as a Texas Master Naturalist. She is excited to build the confidence of her peers, as they explore new career options that excite them.

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Rebekah Post

Rebekah has been working full time as a developer at the University of Texas at Austin for three years and continues to find new ways in which her seemingly unrelated job experience and training has been valuable in this field. Having worked in a variety of jobs, most of her experience is in teaching and research. She owes a good bit of her documentation, project management, public speaking, problem solving, and even email-writing skills to her experience before moving to tech. She is very happy to have made the career change and looks forward to helping others find career options that fit the lifestyle they are looking for.