Posted On01 Jun 2021
How to Write a Resume for a Career Change
Life can certainly throw some lemons and curveballs. Sometimes, the career you’ve carefully plotted for yourself does not turn out the way you wanted, leaving you stuck in a rut, and a fresh start is the only way forward. If you find yourself trapped in a dead-end job, it may be time to look into changing careers, and you’re going to need a great career change resume that shows off your skills as applicable to your new career plans.
6 Tips on How to Write a Resume for a Career Change
Do you feel ready to take a giant dive into the great unknown and forge a career path anew? As you write that all-important career change resume, here are tips on how to make recruiters notice and take a chance on you.
1. Do your due diligence for your new job
It would be a mistake to send your resume without first getting to know the new job you’re thinking of getting into. Selecting a new employer should be done with serious due diligence to minimize the risk of not getting hired or being let go because you are unable to meet the job’s minimum requirements.
Even if you have little to no experience in a new field, skills and qualifications from your previous job can still apply, the trick is to know what a potential employer is looking for. Take time to read and understand the job posting to verify if you have transferrable skills and other forms of expertise that could be valuable in your new career.
2. Identify your transferrable skills
Your transferrable skills may not be easily obvious, so you’ll have to make a list of your skillsets to make it easier for you to find matches between your old industry and the new one. This could involve a lot of out-of-the-box thinking, so be ready to get creative. For instance, if you’re moving from education to customer service, examples of common skills between these two careers include:
• effective communication
• pleasing personality
• ability to give a strong presentation
• hold the attention of students/customers
• meticulous understanding of the subject/product
You also don’t have to limit your skills and experience to your previous job. Your life outside of your profession—from your nonprofit org membership to weekend hobbies—can serve as a vast resource of skills and experience to include in your resume for a career change.
3. Make your objective clear
Your summary statement should declare your reason for applying and explain what makes you qualified for the position. This is essential for anyone changing careers, because it immediately answers the question for recruiters why your skillsets may differ from others. It also sets the tone for the rest of your career change resume. Use your summary statement to bring the focus of your resume on your applicable skills and qualifications and take the attention off from your work experience, since most of it may now be irrelevant.
4. Quantify your achievements
Recruiters love seeing numbers on a resume, as these make it easier to assess an applicant’s potential value. So make sure you accompany accomplishments with real, measurable results to build a functional resume for career change. If you were able to improve anything about your previous workplace, whether it be working conditions, productivity, profit margins, or even employee morale, express the results in percentages, fractions, or monetary amounts. Here are some examples:
• Reduced data processing time by 25% as IT specialist
• Met and exceeded sales targets over a 36-month period, resulting in an additional $2 million profit for a startup company
• Implemented seminars that improved employee retention by 15 percent
• Achieved a 100% satisfaction rating in six months of employment as a real estate agent
5. Hit the right keywords
Many organizations and enterprises nowadays employ what’s called an applicant tracking system (ATS) to screen resumes before they’re read by recruiters and hiring managers. The way to beat these systems is to ensure your resume for career change uses the right keywords and phrases, so review the job post carefully and take note of prominent terms and phrases used for the skill and experience requirements. For instance, if you’re applying for work as a clerk, some of the common keywords attached to the profession include:
• phone skills
• data entry
• file systems
By mentioning these words in your career change resume in an organic and natural way, you boost your chances of earning the approval of not only ATS, but potential employers as well.
6. Include relevant citations and certifications
Awards and accolades in and outside of work can give recruiters a better picture of your achievements. Any professional certification is good, but if you’re having trouble which ones to use for your target industry, websites like onetonline.org, careertech.org or BLS.gov have detailed info about which skills, certifications, and education are applicable for a wide range of professions.
Don’t include unnecessary information
You need to work on emphasizing what can help you stand out, not what makes you underqualified. You may have very limited applicable skills and experience as it is, so it’s best to avoid peppering your resume with unnecessary information, as these may make it seem that you have very little to offer to the position in question. Recruiters will appreciate a lean, concise resume more than an info-dump application filled with unrelated experience.
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