The Specifics of a Career Change Resume
Adam Smith
Certified Professional Career Coach
August 11, 2022, 1:35 pm

The Specifics of a Career Change Resume

Making a shift to a new career can be both exciting and challenging. One of the most crucial elements in this transition is the creation of a well-crafted career change resume that showcases your transferable skills and demonstrates your potential value to the new industry or profession. This article will guide you on how to write a resume for a career change.

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What Is the Peculiarity of Creating a Resume When Changing Careers?

Creating a resume when changing careers can differ slightly from creating one when staying in the same field. The main peculiarity lies in highlighting transferable skills, relevant experiences, and accomplishments that demonstrate your suitability for the new career path, even if your previous work history may not directly align with the new role. Example: Suppose you are a marketing professional seeking a career change to content writing. Highlight your communication skills, creativity, and ability to create engaging content through past marketing campaigns or blog writing projects.

Here are some tips to help you craft an effective resume when changing careers:

Transferable Skills
Emphasize transferable skills that apply to the new career. These skills might include communication, leadership, problem-solving, project management, adaptability, and others relevant across different industries. It emphasizes your abilities and accomplishments more than the traditional work history. However, some employers and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) may prefer the combination format.

Relevant Experience
Highlight any work experiences, projects, or volunteer work relevant to the new career. Focus on responsibilities and achievements that showcase your abilities and accomplishments related to the target role.

Keywords and Phrases
Tailor your resume to include keywords and phrases commonly used in the new industry. This will help your resume pass through applicant tracking systems (ATS) and make a positive impression on recruiters and hiring managers.

Education and Training
If you have undertaken any courses, certifications, or workshops related to the new career, mention them. Even if you don't have a traditional education background, showcasing relevant learning initiatives can help demonstrate your commitment and knowledge.

Networking and Referrals
Leverage your professional network and seek referrals to make a stronger impact. Personal connections can often open doors and help overcome the lack of direct experience.

A career change might require more effort in articulating your suitability for the new role, but with a well-crafted resume and cover letter, you can effectively showcase your potential to employers in the new industry.

Choose the Right Format for Your Resume

When transitioning careers, selecting the appropriate resume for career change format can significantly impact hiring managers' perceptions of your qualifications. Here are some considerations to help you choose the best format:

Functional Resume

A skills-based resume (functional resume) can be an alternative if you have limited work experience in the new field but possess relevant skills gained from other areas of your life, such as volunteer work, projects, or personal development. It emphasizes your abilities and accomplishments more than the traditional work history. However, some employers and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) may prefer the combination format.

Combination Resume

The combination resume format is often the most suitable choice when changing careers. This format combines the best elements of the chronological and functional formats. It allows you to showcase your skills and accomplishments upfront in a dedicated skills section while still providing a work history section in reverse chronological order.

The goal of your resume is to showcase your qualifications and convince the employer that you are a valuable candidate for the job. The right format will convey your skills and experience effectively, increasing your chances of securing interviews and successfully transitioning to a new career.

Add a Resume Objective

A resume objective outlines your career goals and how your skills align with the new role. It can help employers understand your motivations and potential fit for the position. Below is a career change resume example to help you craft a good resume objective. Example: "Detail-oriented marketing professional seeking a challenging role in content writing to leverage strong communication skills and creativity in producing engaging and persuasive content for diverse audiences."

Describe Skills and Abilities

Showcase your transferable skills and abilities on your resume to demonstrate to potential employers that you have what it takes to succeed in the new role, even if you lack direct experience in that field. Here are some tips on how to describe skills and abilities in a resume when changing careers:

Identify Transferable Skills

Review your previous work experience and identify skills that apply to your new career. These transferable skills can be used in various industries and roles, such as communication, leadership, problem-solving, teamwork, adaptability, and organizational abilities.

Focus on Relevant Accomplishments

Highlight achievements from your previous career demonstrating the skills and qualities that align with the new job's requirements. Quantify your achievements with numbers and data whenever possible to showcase your impact.

Tailor the Resume to the New Career

Customize your resume for each job application to emphasize the skills and experiences most relevant to the position. Use the job description as a guide to understand what the employer is looking for and tailor your resume accordingly.

Utilize a Skills-Based Format

Instead of using a chronological format focusing on your work history, consider using a skills-based resume format highlighting your relevant skills and accomplishments at the beginning. This format first draws attention to your capabilities and can be especially helpful when changing careers.

Use a Strong Professional Summary

Craft a powerful professional summary or career objective section that clearly states your intentions for changing careers and showcases your transferable skills. This section should grab employers' attention and encourage them to read further.

Incorporate Keywords

Use industry-specific keywords and phrases relevant to your new career when writing a resume for a career change. Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes, so using keywords can increase your chances of passing through these systems and reaching the hands of human recruiters.

Specify Education and Courses

It's essential to present your education and courses on your resume in a way that highlights relevant skills and knowledge for the new career path. Here are some tips on how to specify education and courses effectively:

Relevance is key
Focus on education and courses directly related to your new career field. Highlight degrees, certifications, or coursework demonstrating your ability to excel in the new industry.

Create a "Relevant Education" Section
If your previous education is not directly related to your new career, consider grouping all relevant educational qualifications under a separate section titled "Relevant Education" or "Additional Training."

Tailor Your Coursework
If you pursued additional coursework or certifications to bridge the gap between your previous career and the new one, highlight these relevant courses. Mention specific subjects or skills you learned that are transferable to the new role.

Use Relevant Keywords
Incorporate keywords and industry-specific language in your education section. This helps your resume pass through employers' applicant tracking systems (ATS).

Highlight Academic Projects
If you worked on any projects that align with your new career goals during your education, include them in your resume. Emphasize the skills and knowledge gained through these projects.

Specify Professional Experience

While your previous work experience may not directly align with the new career, it can add value to your resume. Emphasize accomplishments and experiences that demonstrate transferable skills and achievements. The following are some pointers for highlighting professional experience in a CV when changing careers:

Use a Combination Resume Format

Instead of a chronological resume, consider using a combination format focusing on skills and work experience. This format allows you to highlight your relevant skills and accomplishments at the beginning of your resume, even if they were gained in a different industry.

Create a Strong Summary/Objective

Craft a compelling summary or objective statement that showcases your passion for the new career and highlights the skills and experiences you possess that can be valuable in the new role.

Focus on Transferable Skills

Identify the skills relevant to your new career and draw attention to them in your work experience section. These transferable skills might include communication, leadership, problem-solving, teamwork, project management, etc.

Tailor Job Descriptions

Customize your job descriptions for your previous roles to focus on tasks and accomplishments that are transferable to the new career. Emphasize achievements that demonstrate your abilities in the new field.

Quantify Your Accomplishments

Use quantifiable metrics to demonstrate your impact in your previous roles whenever possible. Numbers and data can help employers understand the value you brought to your previous positions.

Address the Career Change in the Cover Letter

Explain your motivation for the change and how your previous experiences have prepared you for success in the new role.

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Adapt the Resume to the Vacancy

Tailoring your resume to the job posting helps you showcase the most relevant skills and experiences that align with the new role. Here's how to do it effectively:

Carefully Review the Job Posting

Thoroughly read and understand the job description, required qualifications, and preferred skills for the vacancy. Take note of keywords and phrases used in the posting.

Identify Transferable Skills

Match the skills and experiences you have gained in your previous career that are transferable to the new role. These may include leadership, communication, problem-solving, adaptability, and project management. Highlight these skills prominently in your resume.

Rearrange and Rephrase

Reorder the sections on your resume for new career to prioritize the most relevant information for the new role. Place your transferable skills and experiences related to the job at the top of your resume.

Customize Your Professional Summary

Tailor your professional summary or objective to reflect your interest in the new career and how your previous experiences have prepared you for success in the specific role.

Modify Work Experience

Adapt the job descriptions in your work experience section to focus on accomplishments and responsibilities that relate directly to the job you're applying for. Use keywords from the job posting to describe your achievements.


Changing career resumes requires thoughtful consideration of transferable skills, relevant accomplishments, and a strategic presentation of your qualifications. Choose a format highlighting your strengths, incorporate a compelling resume objective, and showcase your abilities through specific examples. Tailor each resume to the vacancy to demonstrate your genuine interest in the new career path.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

Q1. What information should be added to the resume? 
Your career transition resume should include essential details such as contact information, a professional summary or objective, work experience (emphasizing transferable skills and achievements), education, relevant courses or certifications, and any additional information (volunteer work, professional affiliations, etc.).

Q2. Should I include all of my past work experience, even if it's irrelevant to my new career? 
While you should prioritize relevant experiences, including all past work experience can showcase your work ethic and commitment to professional growth. Highlight transferable skills from unrelated roles to demonstrate versatility and adaptability.

Q3. How do I explain the career change positively on my resume? 
In your resume objective or summary, express your passion for the new field and emphasize how your previous experiences have prepared you for the transition. Focus on the transferable skills and achievements that align with the new career.

Q4. How do I tailor my resume to the new career without looking unqualified or inexperienced?
Customize your resume by aligning your skills, accomplishments, and experiences with the requirements of the new role. Emphasize your ability to adapt and learn quickly, showcasing how your existing skill set complements the demands of the new career.

Changing careers means you need a fresh start. However, it can be difficult to persuade recruiters that you are the one they should be looking for. A revamped professional resume is an absolute necessity for you in this case. Creating a good resume is not the easiest task, taking into account that you need to tailor your previous experience to a completely different industry.


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