Changing careers is a rewarding move, but it’s also a challenging one. Even after you identify the move you want to make, you need to land positions that change your trajectory from the old career and into the new one. A great resume will help you do just that. But how can you tailor your resume when your work history is in a different field, position, or industry? Discover a few pointers anyone can apply.
1. Identify Transferrable Skills
Many of the skills a person learns over their lifetime of work can apply in a variety of situations. Learning to work with a team in IT is a soft skill that allows you to work with a team in office administration, construction, or manufacturing. Even more technical skills, such as project management, indicate that you’re familiar with the basics of managing a project and are prepared to get up to speed on the specifics.
Before you design a new resume, determine how your current and newly acquired skills can translate to your new position. Highlight anything that’s relevant to a wider workplace for potential employers. You can leave off irrelevant skills.
2. Explain Your Career Change
Potential employers know that you’re changing careers, so embrace it. Start by giving the interviewer some context with an introductory paragraph and resume summary. Don’t go into great detail about why you’re changing directions, but acknowledge your goal. However, follow up on this by briefly summarizing how the following resume will show that you have what the employer wants.
3. Reformat Your Resume
If your actual work history isn’t as relevant to the positions you plan to apply for, change your resume’s format to highlight the right aspects.
Most resumes are in a chronological format, listing work history and experience from most recent to oldest. However, a functional resume groups your experiences and skills under soft skills categories relevant to the new job. For instance, you might group accomplishments under headings like customer service experience, management experience, and technical skill building.
If you have trouble abandoning the traditional chronological work history, a combination functional and chronological resume may help. It starts with your skills and experiences, then includes a smaller section listing your prior jobs in order nearer the bottom.
4. Match the Resume and Job
Look carefully at the job description you want to apply for. Circle the key words, skills, and requirements. Your resume should address these directly, using the same phrasing in many cases. The list of skills or job requirements may even be the source for categorizing your functional resume into sections that highlight how your experience matches up with the job.
5. Tailor Your Resume Carefully
Because your work history cannot speak for itself as you change jobs, you should shepherd it more carefully — and more often — than many others.
Design a master document with the right format and general skills based on your new job goals. But keep a list of variations you may want to pull out for different positions. For instance, if you apply for a position that wants a lot of office skills, prepare these in advance so you can swap them in. Conversely, if a different job is more customer-focused, group these skills so you can use them instead.
Want help rethinking your work experience, transferrable skills, and resume format to change career paths? Start by meeting with the employment experts at Tulsa’s Green Country Staffing. We’ll work with you to help create a resume that will get you a great new job, no matter where you are in your career. Call today to learn more.