Recognizing the Value of Transferrable Skills
By: Ned Khatrichettri, Internship Coordinator for the College of Humanities
The combination of insufficient funds and feeling a social disconnection to the University of Utah led Erika Wilson to leave school after just three semesters. She worked in the food and service industry for several years and after a particularly exhausting evening shift, went home and had a "now or never" realization about earning a college degree. Erika returned to the U to major in international studies and history and was determined to make the most of her collegiate experience. She studied abroad at the University of Oviedo in Asturias, Spain for a summer, attended workshops about entrepreneurship hosted by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, and served as co-chair for the Student Coalition for Social Impact. On top of all this, Erika was thriving in all of her courses. Optimistic about her professional aspirations, she turned to internships to help her explore her interests.
Erika was interested in the Sorenson Impact Fellowship Program, but was worried she wasn’t good enough because she only had waitressing experience. Self-doubt and unfamiliarity with interview preparation for an administrative role was overwhelming her, so she relied heavily on the transferrable skills inventory resource.
“Until I found this resource, I wasn’t familiar with how to highlight the strong oral communication skills I had gained through waitressing on my resume and cover letter or how to demonstrate the added value I could bring to the Sorenson Impact Fellowship Program," said Erika.
She worked closely with Ned Khatrichettri, internship coordinator for the College of Humanities, to strengthen her resume and cover letter and scheduled multiple follow-up meetings to practice her interview skills and discuss alternatives if the fellowship didn’t unfold accordingly. Her confidence improved drastically after each appointment.
“I was involved in an undervalued industry and it wasn’t easy to see myself in a reputed role. My big take away from this process was realizing I have a lot more to offer than I realized,” said Erika.