How to write a resume for career change?
“If you do not feel yourself growing in your work and your life broadening and deepening, if your task is not a perpetual tonic to you, you have not found your place.” ~ Orison Swett Marden.
And that is one of the major reasons why many people decide to change their career at various points during their professional life. According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, every American goes through an average of 3 to 5 career changes by the age of 38. Although there is nothing wrong with career change, it is often quite challenging to convince your potential employer that you have what it takes to succeed in the new field. This is why it is important to ensure that your résumé is impactful. If properly written, the résumé can help you create a positive first impression. For best results, you should know which of your skills, qualifications and experiences should be highlighted and how. Read this article to know some useful tips on how to write an effective résumé for career change.
Tips on Writing Résumé for Career Change
Initially, you need to think from the perspective of your potential employer. Ask yourself why someone would bother to hire you. If the hiring manager can find answers to this question in your résumé, he or she is surely going to call you for an interview. Here are the top five tips on writing an impactful résumé for career change:
1. State a clear objective .
Since you are coming from a different field, it is very important to state a clear objective at the very beginning of your résumé. Mention what you actually want before your work history confuses your potential employer. For best results, you should mention the change in a short and catchy sentence. Let’s take a look at some examples.
- A technical writer who wants to be an instructional designer
- An engineer who wants to be a corporate trainer
- A school teacher who wants to go into sales
Another good idea is to emphasize your specific skill set that is relevant for the new job. For example, a sales manager who wants to become a project manager can write, “I like to use my communication and managerial skills as a project manager to improve productivity of an organisation.”
2. Choose the format wisely.
Of the different résumé writing formats, the combination format and the functional format are perhaps the two most effective choices for career changers. Both formats enable you to focus on your transferrable skills. This helps you to focus more on your related skills rather than on your work history. Choosing one of these two formats for résumé writing will help you showcase that you are a good fit for the position in question.
3. Highlight your transferable skills.
Some knowledge and skills you used in your previous career may be relevant to your new chosen field as well. You need to identify these transferrable skills from the perspective of your potential employer. For example, you may have used your writing skills, communication skills and teamwork skills as a technical writer in your previous job. Now you want to become an instructional designer, which again requires those same skills plus something more. For best results, you should highlight those transferrable skills in your résumé.
4. Showcase your strengths.
Although this is applicable to any kind of résumé, it is all the more important for career changers. You need to promote your strengths without putting off the reader. For example, if you have gaps in your career, you can choose to write in the functional format in order to hide gaps. You don’t have to provide a year by year description of your employment history in this format. On the contrary, you can emphasize your strong points in the résumé.
5. Consider writing résumé letter.
If you have very little related skills for the new job, you can choose to write a résumé letter. This is actually a cover letter that acts as an alternative to a résumé. When you write your résumé in a letter format, you get a chance to talk more about your new passion, and about the reasons for your wanting to switch to a new career.
Finally, it is very important to arrange the content in the right order in your résumé. For example, if you are a fresh out of college, you should mention your education qualifications on the upper portion of the résumé. On the other hand, a professional with years of experience should prioritise his/her experience.