In the modern world, where there are far more job applicants than there are job openings, crafting a compelling resume can seem like a near-impossible task. More so, if you are changing careers. Because you are directly competing with professionals, who have the necessary experience and abilities for the job. Your experience, however, is an indirect one.
For a career change resume, you cannot employ the conventional tricks of the trade. You have to re-brand yourself in order to stand out from the crowd. You have to rethink your entire approach towards writing that perfect resume.
Let me break it to you: your career change resume has to be far better and more stand-out than any other resume on the hiring manager’s pile. Why else would they consider you for the job instead of someone who has the right aptitude, skills, and experience for the job?
Here are a few tips to write a resume when you are shifting from one job to another.
- Choose an appropriate format
There are several different types of formats that you can choose from while creating a career change resume.
- Functional Resume — If you want to switch careers to an industry that is drastically different than yours, this should be your resume format. In this format, you emphasize your skills and abilities rather than relevant experience. You write your objective, then the skills and abilities, and a work history(without detailed descriptions) in a chronological order.
- Chronological Resume — In this format, you list your work experience in a reverse chronological format. This format type is perfect for professionals who are switching from a job-to-job within the same industry.
- Cover Letter — In this resume type, you craft a letter instead of a resume. In the letter, you mention your interest and passion for the industry and how you would be a good fit for them. This format type is used in rare cases, where you do not have a lot of experience, transferable or not.
The format you use for your resume will say a lot about what you are looking for in the job. With the right format, the hiring manager will also appreciate your clarity of thought.
Side Note: Unlike conventional resumes, where the “objective” is not required anymore, in career changing resumes, it is of utmost importance. You must clearly state your objective at the beginning of the resume, regardless of the format you choose.
- Appropriately mention your skill-sets
While changing careers, skills become more important than experience. Just like how it was when you crafted your first resume. And the skills SHOULD be transferable. That is, you must know what are the skills that will help you land this new job. You may have a lot of abilities and talents under your kitty, but you only have to mention the ones that will add some value to the recruiters of your new job.
For example, if you are looking to make a drastic leap from tech work to managerial roles, your team-building and managing abilities will be far more important than your geeky skills. Take time to understand what you really want from the new job, and what are your existing skills that will help you achieve that.
There is no point rambling on and on about a skill that will be ultimately worthless if it does not fit the job description.
- Make up for your qualification gaps through your experience
Since you are making a career change, it is likely that you may not have the desired qualification the recruiters are looking for. But, your experience can render you the edge you need. While skimming through career-change resumes, even the hiring managers understand that there is not much point talking about the qualifications of the aspirant. It is, then, the experience that makes a world of a difference.
For that reason, do not waste precious resume space by talking about your past qualifications if they are not directly related to the job. Instead, highlight your experiences that will directly or indirectly help you reach the interview stage.
- Keep it short and simple
If you have a fair deal of experience and transferable skills in your arsenal, you may succumb to the temptation of writing it all on your resume. DON’T! That is a huge mistake. On your resume, less is always more impactful. Especially if you say less, even when you have all the reasons to say more. Whatever your experience and transferable skills may be, mention and describe them in a short and simple manner. A good resume is one which can be easily skimmed through. Make sure that you have a breezy, simple resume. That will definitely create a huge impact.
Despite what people conventionally think about changing careers, many successful professionals have made that huge leap. And they have done it through writing a stellar career-change resume, which means that it is not an impossibility. It is certainly difficult, but with these four tips in mind, and a little bit of creativity, you can certainly create a resume that truly stands out!