How to Give the Resume a Boost for a Career Change
It’s one thing to update your resume with additional experience and skills gained on the job for the next job in the same profession, but it’s a totally different ball game when it comes to a career change. For anyone going through a career change, the resume needs to take a different approach – especially when it comes to highlighting the experiences and skills that matter.
Your previous job required experience and skills different than what’s needed in the new career, so to highlight them in the same manner on the resume is ineffective. Employers must see what value you bring to the table to meet the needs of the job, so you’re probably wondering: “What do I have to show to impress when I’m new to the playing field?”
Here are some ways to give your resume a boost when it comes to making a career change:
Don’t hide the fact that you’re making a career change.
There’s no point in hiding the fact that you’re making a career change. One glance at your resume and most recruiters can clearly tell you do not have direct field experience. Rather than trying to make cover-up on direct experience you don’t have, focus on helping the recruiter understand why you’re making the shift and what it is that you bring to the table. These details can in part be provided through the cover letter so that the recruiter has a better understanding of the situation when your resume is reviewed. Approaching it in this manner can also help address many of the common questions and red flags recruiters may have in considering a career changer for the job.
Substitute lack of experience with transferable skills.
You may not have direct field experience, but you certainly have experience that can complement what’s needed in the new career. You also have skills that may be transferable to leverage what you can do on the job in the new career. Sit down and take some time to evaluate what skills you bring to the table, what skills the employer is looking for, and outline the skills you should highlight to prove you can bring value to the employer and the job. It may be a focus on transferable skills like sales, social media marketing, customer relations, employee training or project management.
Reformat the resume to allow the highlight of important skills.
As a candidate coming into a new career, the traditional chronological resume format (outlining your work history and experiences from most recent to the past) may not immediately impress the employer. When you create a combination (hybrid) resume, which marries aspects of the chronological resume with the functional (skills) resume format, key sections like Summary and Professional Experience may be expanded to highlight important skills while still allowing you to maintain the traditional resume format flow. Using the combination resume format, the prospective employer can more easily see your relevance and desirable background experience and skills because the focus is on the specific experiences where important skills used on the job are transferable to the new career.
Show aspiration in the new career.
Your competing with other job candidates who have direct field experience, so your resume needs to shine in other ways. Expressing a strong passion in the work and aspiration to thrive in the new career can help. Some of the ways you can do that is by highlighting additional education or training taken to improve your abilities on the job. Highlighting relevant volunteer work or internships are also beneficial in these instances on the resume. It shows recruiters you’ve taken a serious effort and invested time to pave the way to this new career path.
As with any other job search, don’t simply rely on applying to job postings. Dedicate some time to networking with those in the same field, especially if you’re going for a career change. It’ll not only offer you valuable insight, but also lead to opportunities of referral, which improves your chances greatly. Find more tips, reading: “5 Key Rules for Career Changers.”