Transitions from the Academia to Industry: Transferable Skills

 In Academic Clients

As you transition from university teaching to administrative leadership roles within the academia or in the industry, focus on listing your transferable skills on the resume, supported by specific examples from your career history.

An effective industry resume is easy to scan in a few seconds and has clear headings, with its top part drafted toward a specific job description. Stay away from general descriptions of tasks and focus on specific examples relevant to target roles.

Here are some core skills in organizational leadership to highlight in your application, along with questions you can ask yourself to help phrase the specifics:


As a lecturer and researcher, you have participated in committee decision-making and project coordination. Administrative leadership roles require strategic planning, project/workflow coordination, special project execution, and policy support.

As a diplomatic, strategic professional you are uniquely equipped to analyze large volumes of data, identify priorities, develop action plans, and coordinate multiple initiatives.

Highlight your organizational, planning, and communication skills by providing specific examples of decisions made, plans implemented, or recommendations proposed in each of your academic roles.

Be brief and specific about the outcomes.

List all partners involved, mention deadlines, and use numbers to illustrate the scope of work.

Ask yourself: What specific tasks have you coordinated within a project? How did you apply strategic thinking to improve outcomes, and for which groups?


Many former academics find themselves in leadership roles with responsibilities to hire, interview, and select candidates. You may also be tasked with developing corporate training policies, conducting aptitude testing, or designing and delivering training.

Your skills in syllabus writing and course/program design are directly related.

Ask yourself: Have you served on admissions or scholarship award committees, selecting students? If so, describe the experience using specific examples. Have you assembled and coordinated teams for research projects? Are your course materials used by other instructors or departments?


Academics bring outstanding skills in document design and audience analysis. You are equipped with the knowledge to choose the styles and genres that best fit the needs of a particular group of people.

As a lecturer and researcher, you are able to listen actively to assess the status quo, determine needs, and recommend the best available solutions. You can outline action items with clarity and hold teams accountable.

Your knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research methods makes it easy for you to assess data and select the most relevant and accurate information. You can establish tools to disseminate information, present workshops, and define key concepts. You edit, write, and format various types of content on a daily basis.

Academics are expected to maintain high levels of responsiveness. Your ability to address inquiries in a timely manner is an important skill to highlight.

Ask yourself: On your resume, provide 1-2 links to reports or studies you published. What was their scope? What key audiences and genres did you work with (proposals, reports, white papers, PowerPoint presentations, etc.)?

Emotional Intelligence:

Academics can bring behavioral insights, empathy, and humanistic approaches to every environment. Many of you practice servant leadership and prioritize social impact, equity, transparency, humility, collaboration, and commitment to positive impact.

Emotional intelligence is recognized as one of the most sought-after workplace skills for the next decade. You can introduce and advocate for ethical business practices.

Make sure to describe your leadership style and soft skills in your career summary.

Efficiency and Process Improvement:

Lean practices are important for any organization. Your top-notch analytical skills help you identify weak areas and suggest solutions. Your experience in fieldwork, randomized controlled trials, quantitative analysis, and literature review is transferable to areas like business analysis, process development, and strategic planning. You can draft action items and ensure timely project completion.

Ask yourself: In any of your past roles, how have you optimized processes and what was the result? Specific improvements achieved should be mentioned on the resume.

Team leadership:

Your academic experience has prepared you to lead client or team meetings, draft agendas, and identify client engagement opportunities based on audience analysis. You also manage hard conversations in a clear and empathetic way and can design professional development plans for team members.

Ask yourself: What were some of the collaborative projects you worked on?


About the author:

Tanya Mykhaylychenko is a professional resume writer with a background in content writing, university teaching, and IT staffing. She is a member of Editors Canada and Career Professionals of Canada. For more information, please visit or contact her at to schedule a free introductory consultation.

Recent Posts