Career change resume

Usually, resumes reflect past work history, education, and achievements in the chosen career path. But what if you’re willing to change careers? For that, you’ll need a forward-looking resume – one that advances your decision to move into a new field.

Career change resume

What should I mention as the main reason for my willingness to change my career?

A logical question when writing a changing careers resume. What am I driven by in switching careers? Should I use a passion as a statement? Or is that not really appropriate there?

Actually, it is not the best idea to include this statement in your career change resume, as you indeed should stress on how useful you can be for the employer rather than what he can do for you.

So, it’s better to keep it very factual at this point – that will be more effective.

How to write a resume for a career change?

Let’s consider an approximate step-by-step guide on how to create a career change resume.

Title

The first step – filling up the title field can sometimes be confusing. That’s the field you really have to start with your job target, your new objective, not what you’ve already been doing. You have to create a title field, a headline across the top of your resume, that reflects your new goal. So, right at the very start of your resume, you are driving employers in – they immediately see what you are looking to do. What confuses people is the context – should the title state something that I’m trying to achieve rather than who I am?

In such a case, write “Career goal” and put there your new target. Of course, formatting always matters (put needed parts in bold, writing your contact information properly, etc.).

So, the title is the very first thing that employer shall see and figure out - “ok, this is what the candidate is going for.”

It’s also part of the headline or title section, where you can include a few of your top qualifications - should you have a degree that’s related to your new career or certain skill or certifications – you can put those in, so that employer sees that right away as well.

Use these tips to come up with the best possible title ever.

Objective field

The next part in a career change resume is the objective, and it’s also kind of tricky one for a lot of career changers because many of them make a bunch of mistakes, writing statements like “I want to change my career because I’m looking for a challenging position”, “I want to try myself in the new field”.

This cannot be advised as the right approach. The objective section is much better used as a qualification summary – a place to write a marketing message that sells you as an employee. That is exactly where to mention your top qualifications for your new career. Actually, the same thing that works for the traditional resume and qualification summary is the main part that highlights your credentials, which continues to drive the employer in from where you first started at your title/headline.

Basically, it’s a creation of a kind of flow, where one thing should logically lead to another – and it is extremely important to write this section wisely in order to get a professional summary for a career change, as the employer will critically scan it.

At the same time, you shall pay attention to how long shall this summary be in order to look professional. It doesn’t have to be very long – better to keep it brief. In our career change samples, you can notice that in such cases, we’re stressing on a few bullet points or reflecting your top qualifications in one or two concise paragraphs (because again, each employer, each position or each employee is unique, so professional career change resume must correspond to some certain concrete situation). No need to tell your whole life story here; it’s rather a teaser that makes an employer want to read the rest of your resume.

Job timeline

When moving to the work experience section in transition resumes and starting writing about your job timeline, you will most probably want to focus on accomplishments and responsibilities that are most related to your new target job. Here it would be good to express your transferable skills and focus on the qualifications and work tasks that are most related to your current goal.

This is a mistake that a lot of career changers make, too – focusing on their work experience and job tasks that are related to their old career (which they’re not looking to do anymore).

What is really important – is to mention your accomplishments, which show that you are a top performer and – to do it in such a way, so it’s related as much as possible to your new career.

An excellent way to approach this section is to go back to the research and again check out the job requirements for your new goal and see if there are any job requirements that are sort of crossover from what you were doing on your previous job. Of course, it’s not an easy task to find out these crossing points (if there are any) and, moreover, to present those in a logical and effective way. But that’s why our professionals, who are specialized exactly in career change resumes, are here to help you.

So, the key points in this section:

  1. Highlighting your transferable skills
  2. Playing on your related job tasks and accomplishments.

As simple as it is, but as much important as it can be.

Skills section

The skills section is extremely important when you write a resume for a career change because it gives you a chance to include the job-related keywords in your resume.

So, this again requires some research in order to find out certain skills that are desirable in your new position.

This is also the exact place to highlight the skills you are just starting to develop. But it’s very important to be careful with it – make it be related to the new job as well, but don’t lie about skills that you haven’t mastered on the high level yet. If there are any – better mention that you’re just beginning to work on that. This will show out your honesty, which is always better than a pseudo-skilled “professionals.” Some people add skills to their resumes, which they think that employers want to see, but those may not reflect what they really can do.

On the other hand – don’t sell yourself short – get it in there if you feel like that applies to you.

Keywords

Keywords are very important elements of your resume. However, it’s not very good to put all the possible keywords you’ve researched on the internet related to the field – it doesn’t look right because, after all, it’s also human who is reviewing your resume, so try to keep it focused on the most important keywords for your new career field, but don’t overfill it with too many of them – it should look natural.

Resume format

There are different resume formats, each suitable for a certain career changer in some particular situation. What shall resume format be chosen when writing a career change resume?

A very popular choice in such a situation is a functional resume (here, you can find functional resume examples for a career change) since it emphasizes your skills while downplaying work history. This might be a good choice in some cases. Still, as practice shows, there are also cases when employers rather prefer a combination style – a resume with a strong qualification summary and a reverse chronological work history.

Which one is better to use, functional or combinational, and when depends from case to case and should be deeply investigated by our writing professionals.

These tips will surely help you in figuring out how a great career change resume shall look like.

For more details and consultation about your particular case – you’re welcome to reach out to us at contact us page - we’re always there to cover your back and support you in your whole career change journey!

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