How to Write a Resume if You Are Switching Careers

Career Change

When trying to change careers, you will find yourself competing against candidates who are already established in your target industry.  Therefore, you will need a standout resume to grab the attention of hiring managers and give yourself an edge over the competition.

One of the biggest challenges that career changers face is rebranding themselves for their target industry. To accomplish this, you have to consider your experiences and accomplishments in a different context. You need to evaluate your skills and be able to express them in a manner that is relevant to your target industry. The key is to anticipate how you want to be seen by prospective employers.

Here are few tips to help guide you through the career change process successfully, and get a job in your new field of interest:

Research the new industry

Before you begin writing your new resume, do some research and find out about the skills and certifications that your target industry and potential hiring managers are looking for.  Read some industry publications (online and offline) to become familiar with the relevant terminology.

Pick the right resume format

There is no ‘correct’ way to format a career-changing CV. You can decide what needs to be most prominent on your resume based on the specific job description.   If your target position is not very different from your current one, you can use a standard chronological format, tweaking some details to better match with the new role you are seeking.

If you are pursuing a career that is very different from your previous positions, you can use a functional resume which focuses more on your skills. So, rather than focusing on your work history, you can put the emphasis on your specific skills and accolades which will help you succeed in your new role.

Using a fixed format (i.e. functional style) resume for the first page and standard chronological format for the second page could also be a good idea. This would allow you to highlight your skills and accomplishments while also providing a look at your job history, providing a complete picture for the hiring manager to consider.

Stay focused on relevance

It is important to identify which of your skills would be most valuable to hiring managers of your new role. Each job teaches us something new, and you can easily list out an array of skills that are useful in a variety of industries.  For example, skills such as people management, leadership, communication, strategic thinking, problem-solving, etc. would be useful in most positions in any industry.

 

However, if you are pursuing a completely different field that requires specialized skills, you may consider speaking with industry experts who will be able to provide insight into roles relevant to your skill set and strengths.

Include the right keywords

Keywords help hiring managers search for and identify potential candidates from resume databases. When writing a resume for a career change, make sure you have included keywords relevant to the new industry. Include these keywords in the summary section at the beginning of the resume, as well as in sections describing your skills and professional qualifications.

Emphasize non-work related achievements/skills

Showcase any quantifiable achievements or experiences other than your full-time jobs, such as volunteer work, internships, temporary/part-time work, or other extracurricular activities where you acquired and leveraged relevant skills. Be specific and make sure to include how these activities will help you accomplish your new career goals.

Quantify your success from previous jobs

Show that you have been successful in your career so far, and that you have the support of industry leaders. Include references wherever possible. When applying for a position for which you don’t have much prior experience, it is important to demonstrate your value to your employer.

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules for writing a career-changer resume. Each resume must be tailored to the position you are seeking, and showcase your past experiences in ways that make them relevant to your current and future career goals.