According to a recent study published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person changes jobs 12 times in their lifetime. Approximately half of Americans are considering making a career change in 2022. One major barrier job seekers have is writing a resume that enables a successful transition. Today we will discuss how to write an effective resume to change careers.
There are many reasons and benefits to pursue a new career path. When someone changes careers, it gives them an opportunity to explore other avenues, boost their creativity, or increase their income. This can also lead to improved self-esteem and an increased sense of purpose.
As you are writing a powerful resume to help you transition into a new career, you should do a bit of soul searching, reflection, research, and analysis.
Soul Searching & Reflection
What drives you? The widespread success of self-assessment tools such as StrengthsFinder and the DiSC Profile is undoubtedly due to the fact that they help consumers figure out what they want, where and how they fit into the work force. Many people’s first exposure to these tools, though, is at their workplace. I recommend drawing on these resources, or even inventing your own system for critically assessing your strengths, to learn who you are before settling into employment.
Determine if you are qualified for the target position. Compare the job posting(s) with your resume, noting matches in specific college degrees, certifications, training, and experience.
Write down a detailed description of your experience with the selected core competencies so you can make a compelling case for the reader.
If you lack the required qualifications for the position, it is important to understand that you may not have a chance at the position no matter what sort of magic you perform with the resume. You may consider professional development, training, certifications or spring boarding from an interim position.
Research & Analysis
Gaining credibility in the new career field is the paramount strategy for a career changer resume. Many career “transitioners” do not understand the tremendous importance of proving to employers that they are serious about their new goal. It doesn’t occur to them that the employer might not believe they are sincere and committed.
Consider demonstrating commitment to the new field by:
- Joining professional / trade associations of the target field and networking at association meetings and workshops to meet others in the industry. Learn where to network in Austin!
- Volunteering with the association to integrate into it more quickly and possibly negotiate discounts, the ability to attend meetings at no cost, or other benefits of membership. Volunteering within the target field.
- Obtaining training and/or certifications in the new field. Reading as much as possible about the target position/field.
Identify three job descriptions for positions similar to those you are targeting. From the job descriptions, determine the core competencies required by the target job.
Then, write down a description of your experience with the core competencies, using the Challenge-Action-Result (CAR) formula. Elicit all project details, including who supervised and participated on the team; what problems occurred; what tools, software, or methods were used; and what conclusions and results were gained.
Take time to recall the details of your past life that contain evidence of experience, skills, knowledge, and training that may prove useful on the target job.
For example, if you are applying for a Logistics (Transportation) job and your passion is reading anything and everything about trucks, there is definitely a correlation.
Resume Headline & Summary
Leverage your ‘best credibility stuff’ for this new field. Start the resume with a Professional Profile or Professional Summary. It is important to create a personal brand; state any prior experience. Add in a degree or certification if you have one.
Call out the match between the requirements of the target position and your experience in a function-based section of core competencies after the summary. Preferable to a tabbed list of keywords is a bold keyword “headline” followed by a summary or example of the client’s experience in this area. Computer Skills or Technology Skills can be included here, as well.
Retain a reverse chronological format for the experience section.
Group jobs related to new objective on the first page of the resume with a category header that will immediately show that the jobs are relevant. Omit short-term, unrelated jobs.
Include only the past 10 to 15 years of experience. If older experience has substantial transferrable skills, place it under a separate Additional Experience section.
Determine and showcase how you demonstrated those skills in previous positions, including internships. Be sure to include accomplishments / results of using those skills.
Utilize words the employer will recognize by eliminating jargon from the old industry, adopting language that is in the job posting (switching patients to clients, for example), and using language that is neutral.
Do your homework on industries and job titles, and use wording correctly and honestly.
Community and Volunteer Work
Highlight activities that relate to the new target.
If this section contains the majority of the pertinent experience, place it above the Experience section or within the Experience section with Volunteer as part of the title.
Include Certifications or Job-Related Training, if applicable.
Interests and Hobbies
Add this section only if the activities relate to the new target.
Keep forging ahead!
Career changes can be scary, but they are SO worth it. In summary, take some time to do a bit of personal reflection, identify a new career path, research the positions, industry, and relevant job descriptions, make an action plan, rebrand yourself, and build a resume that tells a compelling story.
Resume Assassin has helped 1,000’s of clients change careers, get a promotion, and land a new job. We would love to learn more about your background and career goals. Reach out today: www.resumeassassin.com or firstname.lastname@example.org