Transferable Skills as a Lifeguard

A loud whistle blows in the distance and takes you out of your thoughts. It’s another summer and you’re working as a lifeguard. But it’s getting closer and closer to graduation and you’re wondering how these summers are going to help you in your job search. Well, have no fear! I was a lifeguard for five years so I know firsthand all the transferable skills that are developed in this position. Transferable skills are soft skills that can be used in many situations. You can develop valuable transferable skills whether the position is related to your future career interests or not. This information doesn’t just apply to lifeguards, it’s for anyone that’s ever had a summer job like camp counselor, waitress, or even babysitter!

Communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills are examples of transferable skills, and believe it or not being a lifeguard can help develop all three! Oral communication skills and customer service skills are used when speaking with teammates and patrons. In order to keep a calm demeanor and keep the patrons satisfied you need to use customer service skills. Teamwork skills are used whenever there are multiple lifeguards on a shift. All lifeguards have to work together to scan the entire pool area, keep up with maintenance, and make sure the patrons are happy. Problem-solving skills are used when something doesn’t go as planned. For example, maybe some children decide they want to play tag on the pool deck. You have to decide what the appropriate course of action will be for each different scenario you come across in the position.

You’ve also developed even more transferable skills that some wouldn’t think of when lifeguarding like critical thinking, analytical, or teaching skills. Critical thinking and analytical skills are important when scanning the water because lifeguards need to decide if the patron is in need of assistance in the water or if they are just bouncing off the ground for fun. Lifeguards need to consider all aspects of the scene and analyze them in order to make judgments that are usually life and death. Teaching skills are also developed because when speaking to a patron about the rules, lifeguards need to not only explain the rule but explain why it’s important the patron follow the rule.

This is not a complete list of transferable skills that are developed while lifeguarding and it’s always a good idea to brainstorm more that are specific to your experience. Expressing these skills shows a potential employer that you have strong transferable skills even if the experience isn’t directly related. The next step is to add these transferable skills to your bullet point statements on your resume. If you need some guidance on how to do this schedule a virtual resume critique through Handshake with the Center for Career Development today!

By Melissa Nowak
Melissa Nowak