When contemplating a career change, physicians are often intimidated by the prospect of not having any of the skills necessary for the new job. I can relate to this. I felt the same way when I was considering a career change more than a decade ago. I was a surgeon. I could fix a bone fracture or tendon rupture, repair an artery or nerve under a microscope, or even reconstruct an entire body part, but what good were those skills in a non-clinical setting?
I think of transferable skills in two groups: character traits and operational skills.
First, think about the traits most often needed for management positions in various industries:
Dedication and perseverance
Attention to detail
Calm under pressure
Ability to multitask
Ability to priorotize
Written and spoken communication skills
Do these sound familiar? They should. Nearly all physicians have these personality traits and people skills. You probably do, right?
Operational skills in today’s world often involve have to do with computers and expertise with various types of software. Many positions require familiarity with developing PowerPoint slides and using other software such as Excel, Access, and Microsoft Project. Writing skills overlap into this domain as well, especially when it involves writing in specific software programs or templates.
Once you have assessed your transferable skills, it is time to think about how to sell them.