In this time of historically low unemployment, it seems that every day brings new articles demonstrat ing how desperate employers are to find people to work at their enterprises. If you are itching to change the path of your career, this may be an ideal moment for you to test the waters and make the switch.
As you contemplate a career change, one of your daunting tasks may be writing a winning resume. A straight chronological history for a career changer doesn’t necessarily covey your abilities to take on new challenges. It is up to you to put what you have been doing into a comprehensible context while demonstrating your transferable skills to a prospective employer.
While everything on your resume must be entirely truthful, you can employ certain strategies to creatively make your past employment and achievements work in your favor.
Tips for Career Change Resumes:
— Engage in self-reflection.
— Cater to employers.
— Carefully choose what accomplishments to feature.
— Present yourself as the professional you want to be.
— Step back to move ahead.
Engage in self-reflection.
The first step is to ask yourself why you want to make this particular change, what you know about your new field, what skills and experiences your prospective employer requires for the particular role you seek and how you fit the bill. Until you are clear about all of this in your own mind, it isn’t yet time to try to convince anyone else of your abilities and potential for success in your new field. But, once you’ve come to a solid understanding of these questions, you are set to go!
Cater to employers.
Lay out several similar job descriptions for what you want to be doing side by side. Look for the desired skills that you possess. For example, if you see general skill words like “identify ,” “prioritize ,” “accurately ,” “contribute to improvement ,” “guiding” or “collaborating ,” use them as bullet point leads to describing what you’ve done and what you’ve achieved.
As you identify transferable skills and experiences, present them using the vocabulary and jargon of the industry you seek to join.
If you see other job-specific skills called for that you possess, use them in both your bullet points and in your resume’s skills section.
Carefully choose what accomplishments to feature.
If you’ve been in your current role and field for quite some time, it’s likely that many of your challenges and accomplishments are field-specific. Remember that what your current and former employers might think of as significan t won’t necessarily resonate well with a future employer.
Consequently, you’ll need to ferret through all that you’ve done and include only the most relevant experiences, using language that a hiring authority in a different environment will easily comprehend.
Remember: Y our resume is a marketing document, not your autobiography. You have no obligation to include everything you’ve ever done and every place you’ve ever done it. Limit yourself to three or four bullet points for each position you’ve held.
Present yourself as the professional you want to be.
Join professional organizations related to the roles and industry that interest you. Highlight them on your resume.
Be sure to note prominently courses you’ve taken and certificates or degrees you’ve earned that relate to your new career , perhaps even in your branding statement at the top of the resume.
If you have done volunteer work in the area that you want to transition to, make it prominent by moving it into your professional experience section.
Remember that you may have to take a step backward to move ahead.
Depending on how far you are in your career, you may have progressed to a mid- to high-level management level. In a new field, you may have to take a step back to an individual contributor level. This can have significant implications for how much detail you put into your resume.
Shave the unnecessary stubble of totally irrelevant detail that doesn’t add to your case. Point to it and summarize it but don’t waste space elaborating on things that detract from who you want to be rather than what you’ve done.
More from U.S. News