Career changes are driven by a variety of factors: realizing a new passion, seeking more financial security, or feeling stuck in an unfulfilling position, to name just a few. In the course of most people’s professional lives, a career change is inevitable.
If you’re willing to put in the effort, applying for a job in an industry in which you have little or no experience takes some extra work. The right career change resume can be a crucial asset in this transition.
Employers need to see your skill set and experience relate to the position they are trying to fill when reviewing your resume for a career change. Your resume should demonstrate your transferable skills, demonstrate your ability to learn quickly, and demonstrate your ability to succeed in the new role.
It is therefore necessary for you to know how to write a career change resume here. You will find some tips and a sample that can be of assistance to you.
What is a Career Change Resume?
If you are changing careers, take the time to review your resume and show how your skills are relevant to the position you are seeking. Throughout your resume, you should emphasize your transferable skills, demonstrate your rapid learning ability, and show you have enough same-but-different skills to succeed.
Frequently, career change resumes are confused with job change resumes, which do not mean the same thing.
If you’re in a job search, you may be trying to find the same role you had, in a different company, with a different salary, and perhaps at a higher level of seniority. You may decide to change your career path because you have found yourself in a different industry, role, or field of expertise.
Why Do You Need a Career Change Resume?
Nowadays, objective statements do not seem to be as common in job applications as they tend to emphasize the job seeker’s goals instead of measurable achievements. The most common alternatives tend to be summary statements. Even if the job seeker changes careers, a strong resume objective/summary statement can still be helpful.
You should focus your resume objective on the skills you have acquired during your current career and explain how you plan on using those skills in this new field. For instance:
Experienced accountant seeking to transfer my skills to finance. My proven mathematical and money management skills make me an ideal fit for the Finance Assistant position.
A resume objective or summary section is a great way to tie in experience with present goals.
Choosing The Right Format For Career Change Resume
For career change job searches, job seekers often choose functional resumes. The main advantage of functional resumes is that they focus less on work history and more on skills and accomplishments. Doesn’t that sound great? Not necessarily.
Functional resumes can give the impression that the candidate is hiding something. A hybrid resume (also called a “combination resume”) is a better choice for job applicants making a career change because it showcases skills and accomplishments but includes traditional work experience in the second half of the document.
It is important to remember that if you are transitioning from one career to another, a hybrid resume will work great for you. In the event that you are changing careers, you should consider a functional resume format, although a hybrid resume would likely be the best option.
Use Keywords and Transferrable Skills
Keywords on a resume serve as a job seeker’s BFF, but a career changer’s BFFL. An applicant tracking system (ATS) that uses keywords can be used to determine whether you are qualified for a job.
Career change resumes need to be tailored
If the job description for an advertising position includes the keyword “writing,” then a journalism graduate might be familiar with it. They have expert-level writing skills that can be transferred to the new field, even though they do not have any advertising experience. Such skills are called transferrable skills.
Any skill that can be transferred from one job to another is considered a transferrable skill. Job duties tend to become irrelevant when changing careers because of their specificity to the previous career.
However, there are a few skills that can match previous experience with a new role’s expectations. Transferable skills include both hard skills and soft skills, like writing (as mentioned above), multi-tasking, communication, organization, listening, research, and many more.
Put them in your work experience section, and focus less on duties and more on skills that will be helpful to the hiring manager. If you are switching careers, your hybrid resume will enable you to highlight these skills.
When switching careers or industries, you can showcase your relevant skills by adding training and certifications to your resume, especially if you’re struggling to identify transferable skills.
Career Change Resume Tips & Sample
If you’re making a career change, then you should follow these best practices. They include:
How to Add Your Contact Information the Right Way
One of the most important parts of your resume is your contact information.
In the case of misspelled emails, even the most qualified applicants will be ineffective if the HR manager is unable to contact them.
In this section, you should include the following:
- Your first and last name
- When applying outside of your country, include your country code.
- Use a professional email address like [FirstName.LastName@gmail.com].
- If you are in the area or if the company will sponsor your relocation, the company needs to know where you are located.
- The title you wish to acquire is either the one you have now or the one you desire to acquire in the future. You should include the title of the job you are applying for in every sentence.
Double and even triple check everything once you’ve finished. If there was a mistake in your resume, you wouldn’t want to lose your chances of getting hired, would you?
Impress the Recruiter With a Career Change Resume Objective or Summary
You’ve written down your contact information. In order for the HR manager to keep reading your resume, you need to give them a reason.
When recruiters look at resumes for only 6 seconds on average, how do you get the recruiter to read your career change resume?
You can use a resume objective or summary. This section explains why you’re the best candidate for the job and acts as a preview for the rest of your resume.
You may include either one in your resume if you are going through a career change.
If you have some transferrable skills and worked in a related field, opt for a resume summary. You can use a resume objective, however, if you were working in a completely unrelated field.
Use Your Work Experience to Show Off Transferable Skills
Say you’re switching from marketing to business development as an example.
If you were applying for a job in marketing, your resume would probably be quite different than if you were applying for a job in business development.
What is the commonality between the two roles?
They both require excellent communication skills, for one thing. Also, you need to be able to communicate complex information simply and understand your target market.
Your work experience section should highlight that common thread.
Consider some relevant transferable skills that you brought to your previous jobs when listing them in your resume.
The same skills apply to unrelated jobs as well.
Boost Your Education Section
Almost every position above entry-level will require you to have an education section.
On a resume, you should include your education.
Listed below your latest education entry (e.g. college degree) is all you need to include.
For example, you can include things like:
- Name of degree (Minor – optional): e.g. B.Sc. Chemistry.
- Name of educational institution: e.g. the University of Texas.
- Years attended: e.g. 2013 – 2017.
- Location of the program (optional): e.g. Texas
- GPA (optional): 3.79 (only include if you excelled).
Showing Career Certifications on a Resume
A certification shows you’re dedicated to your craft when you’re switching careers.
The fact that you have already begun the process shows that you are willing to put in the effort.
Be sure to list relevant certifications when listing your credentials.
Listing Personal Projects
List your personal projects as another way to demonstrate your abilities.
Almost anything can be used for this:
- Establishing a university sports team
- Your business class project
Your new career should also include what you love. You can compensate for your lack of experience with almost anything.
You should of course make sure that your projects are relevant to your new job.
When you’re switching careers, you want to use your cover letter to highlight WHY you’re switching fields and WHY your skills are a good match for the new role.
To do this, make sure you bring up a ton of examples and call out any key statistics or measurable results to draw upon, if possible.
- Indeed – Updating Your Resume for a Career Change
- TheBalanceCareers – Resume Writing Tips for Changing Careers
- US News Money – Tips for a Career Change Resume
- The Muse – How to Spin Your Resume for a Career Change