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Writing A Career Change Resume: 7 Professional Tips

In: How To

Write a career change resume for your dream job

Career change is nothing new for today’s world of work. The statistics suggest that working professionals will have up to 7 careers in their lifetime. Some professionals are unfulfilled with their current careers or have chosen the wrong profession when going to college. Others have faced the industry downturn or found their genuine professional passion elsewhere. Whatever your reason for career transition is, note that it’s an important and time-consuming step and you want to plan things through carefully.

Successful career transition starts with a resume

One of the biggest concerns for career changers is writing a resume for a new industry. If it’s not adapted for a new field nor enriched with necessary keywords, you’re out of the competition. The expert writers of our professional resume services have helped hundreds of clients from the US, Canada and the UK to land the jobs of their dreams.

Our resume makers pour the years of industry expertise to translate your experience effectively and build a resume that will get you noticed. We guarantee your satisfaction with a done resume, otherwise we’ll revise it for free. As the best resume writer services, we work with American and British experienced and certified writers.

Want to know how an effective career change resume looks like and how to build one? Continue reading, and our staff experts will explain how to articulate transferable skills, adjust the language and change the formatting to show your value for a new field.

5 tips for navigating a career change

A career change might be a petrifying experience. It comes as no surprise that, motivated to leave the hatred job as soon as possible, you might overlook some crucial points. Before you get down to rewriting a resume, make sure you’ve taken the tips below into account:

➤ Understand the reason behind your career change. If you have a side passion, hobby or a business idea, your career change is now the question of planning and persistence (by the way, here are some tips for turning hobby into job). When you are confident that you’re on the wrong job but not sure what you’d like to do instead, your journey should start with researching, reflecting, and analyzing your strengths.

➤ Achieve clarity before taking action. Your success in switching careers depends a lot on whether you have a clear focus. If you want to code but have little idea in what industry, with which programming languages and on what projects you’d like to work, your career change is in trouble. Your time and resources are limited, so be clear in your direction and concentrate fully on pursuing a very specific goal.

➤ Put your finances in order. Career change is financially challenging. Having entered a new field, you’ll probably have to accept a significantly lower salary or even volunteer to gain experience. Let alone the costs for retraining and related expenses. So, start thinking about money early. Pay off the debt, cut the expenses and create a savings account that will support you after you leave the day job.

➤ Find a mentor or career consultant. Understanding how things work in a new industry is a lot of stress. The transition will go smoother if you ask for help or advice from people successful in a new field. Their insights will help you avoid the pitfalls that novices often make and grow in the profession faster. Consider also working with a career counselor – they might recommend the non-conventional ways of entering the profession or landing a job faster.

➤ Be ready to face setbacks. Career change, especially with a lot of re-training involved, isn’t always going smooth. At times, you might encounter the temptation to give it up because the pressure is too high. See these setbacks as an inevitable part of working towards your goal and ask for help and support when things get tough. Do something small for your goal every day to keep moving and you’ll see the results soon.

If all motivational advice on how to find lost desire doesn’t seem to work, it’s time to search for a meaningful career elsewhere. Below, our resume makers will share hands-on tips on crafting a strong resume in support of your career change.

7 tips for an effective career change resume

▶ Gather the target job requirements

Writing a resume for a completely different industry starts with research. Since you are not deeply familiar with a new field, you need to be aware of what the employers expect from the ideal candidate for the position. And the online job postings are of great help in clarifying this for you.

Go to the popular job boards such as Indeed.com or Glassdoor.com and read the target job listings carefully, highlighting the must-have requirements and skills. Highlight the qualifications you’ve found in a resume (provided that you have them, don’t stretch the truth). Use the same skill names and phrases – this is good for resume robots and will help you pass the selection.

▶ Write a good objective that will explain your career change

Typically, our consultants recommend using a resume summary. However, when you’re changing careers, you should use an objective to explain the career goals and tie them to your background in an old field. You need to connect the dots for a hiring manager, otherwise they will reject your resume as irrelevant.

A good objective for a resume is 2-4 sentences in length, it highlights your core competencies and should also explain how you’re planning on leveraging these competencies if hired. Sounds like a tough task, but it’s the only way to get your resume noticed. Vague objectives such as “To obtain a challenging role with a reputable organization to expand my skillset” are of zero interest to employers.

To get inspired for writing, take a look at some effective objective examples below.

Resume objectives for a career change

• Dependable customer service representative with 3+ years of experience in a high-energy call center environment. Seeking a social media manager position to contribute focus on customer satisfaction, fast-paced work ethics and problem-solving skills.

• Enthusiastic high-school teacher offering 5+ years of experience maintaining classroom discipline, increasing test scores and introducing technology to facilitate comprehension. Looking for an executive assistant position with a company seeking excellent time management, resourcefulness and organizational skills.

▶ Identify and list transferable skills

A job in a new field requires a whole different skill set. However, after a few years in your previous field you’ve gained something important – transferable skills. These are the skills that you can use across the wide range of jobs and industries, and once you’ve gained them, they can be used in different contexts and situations.

The term ‘transferable’ is often used for soft skills, such as customer service, communication, critical thinking, creativity, team leadership, and more. For instance, presentation, persuasion and conflict resolution skills you’ve gained working as a high school teacher can help you succeed as a project manager. The good thing is that soft skills for managers are more important than technical ones. Thus, you might switch to a managerial position in a new field without having to start from scratch.

▶ Adjust your language for a new industry

The names of the processes and software vary from industry to industry, let alone the fact that each field has its specific jargon. By using the slang and language from your previous work on a resume, you look like an outsider to your target field, which definitely won’t help you land an interview.

Study the job postings, industry magazines and social media to get a grasp of the language that people use, and update your resume accordingly. It helps communicate your skills and background more efficiently as the hiring person won’t be confused by unfamiliar slang. Moreover, this trick helps you look like an insider who knows the ins and outs of the field which will give you extra points.

▶ Choose the format which works best for you

There’s more than one resume format, and listing your job chronologically might not be the best option if you’re switching fields. Unfamiliar company names and irrelevant job duties will make you look pale comparing to the candidates who spent years in this industry and have the relevant background.

Revise your resume focusing on skills and accomplishments rather than a chronology of jobs. You might want to make a resume completely skill-based. However, it’s better to add the list of skills above work experience to catch the hiring person’s eye.  If your past achievements can be connected to a new field, put them above the fold as well.

▶ Gain the relevant experience

The biggest problem for career changers is the lack of relevant experience. Some companies might hire an inexperienced candidate, but you’ll have far more chances if you demonstrate at least minimal experience in a new field.

Take at least a couple of months to gain the experience which can be added to a resume. Work on a few freelance projects, seek the opportunities to volunteer or work as an intern. Shadow someone’s work. The pay factor doesn’t matter here – you need to demonstrate practical experience. In this case, the relevant experience should be placed closer to the top of your new resume.

Curious to know which benefits to negotiate during the interview? Check out our suggestions here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/15-most-popular-employee-benefits.

▶ Take the customization seriously

Tailoring the resume towards a specific job posting is the only practice that brings results in today’s world of work. For career changers, adjusting the resume and adding relevant keywords is even more important than for job-seekers who have relevant experience. The thing is, if you don’t add the required qualifications to a resume, robot scanning resumes won’t find similarities in your background from the different industry and is more likely to reject your application for not meeting the requirements.

Customize the resume for each job posting, focusing on the qualifications each particular employer demands. It’s time-consuming, but it’s more effective to send 10 targeted applications than 100 generic ones.

When writing a resume, you’ll inevitably face the fact that you don’t meet 100% of the required qualifications. Don’t let this fact discourage you. Companies are ready to hire a person who is 80-90% fit but is enthusiastic and willing to learn. Since you’re pursuing a career of your dreams, this sounds like you, doesn’t it?

How to write a cover letter for career change?

Although some hiring managers don’t read cover letters, including one still improves your chances of getting shortlisted. According to the statistic, 45% of recruiters will reject a resume for not including a letter. Here are the key pointers for writing one:

✓ Start strong. Your opening sentence is meant to capture the reader’s attention, so, the cliché openings is probably not the best idea. Mention your key skills right up front, start with a short story, or ask a question. However, remember that it’s still a professional letter so keep the tone friendly yet formal.

✓ Explain the connection between your background and a target job. Recruiters are often suspicious when it comes to career changers. So, you want to anticipate their questions and proactively explain what made you change an industry. Also, explain how the past experience makes you a stellar candidate and distinguishes you from other applicants. Some employers value versatile professional backgrounds, so your apparent irrelevance might be seen as an asset.

✓ Tell a story. The best way to impress the hiring person is to tell the story behind the career change. It’s perfectly okay to simply state that you find the new field professionally challenging and inspiring. However, it’s more effective to reveal that the side project, a childhood dream or a professional conference sparked the interest in switching industries.

✓ Show off transferrable skills. Above, we’ve suggested that you list transferrable skills in a separate section. A cover letter is the great place to expand on these skills further and give a couple of examples how you put them in practice. Be brief – the optimal cover letter length is between 300 and 400 words.

Are you yet to figure out which profession to choose? Use the professional tips on finding your genuine passion: http://resumeperk.com/blog/hate-your-job-heres-how-to-find-your-true-calling.

Interview tips for career change

Making it to the interview stage is only halfway to getting a job of your dream. To handle the interview with brilliance, take these tips into account:

✓ Highlight your adaptability, flexibility, and ability to work in a fast-paced environment. One of the key employers’ concerns about career changes is whether they can adapt to a new type of environment and start performing well soon. Give them the examples of managing changes well and adapting to new, unknown situations.

✓ Explain how you’ll close qualification gaps. Chances are, you don’t meet 100% of the requirements listed by them. Since this is something that a recruiter absolutely wants to know, bring up the subject and tell how you plan on obtaining the knowledge you lack in. Display the willingness to stay late to familiarize yourself with the company processes, take courses, etc.

✓ Capitalize on your transferrable skills. As well as in the resume, transferrable skills are your biggest asset during an interview. Show off how these skills helped you succeed in the previous industry and how you’re planning on using them in a new field. For instance, if you’ve worked as a receptionist, the organizational and people skills can be used as an asset in the IT customer support.

✓ Be positive about your professional past. Even if you didn’t quit on a good note or had toxic work environment, focus on the good things only when mentioning your previous employer or industry. The best message to give is that you don’t find the previous industry challenging and are looking to realize your potential in the new field.

How to maximize your chances for a successful career change?

When applying for jobs in a field you have no previous experience in, you have to compete with hundreds of experienced candidates. To maximize your chances for an interview, consider getting help with your application documents. A seasoned resume creator from Resumeperk.com can point out at the shortcomings of your resume and create a brand-new one that will position you well in a chosen field. Here’s exactly how we can assist in your job-search:

• Create a resume from scratch or edit the one you have to eliminate mistakes and flaws

• Help with a cover letter, thank-you letter and a LinkedIn profile

• Delivery within 24hr – apply for hot jobs on time

• Satisfaction guarantee – the writer works until you are fully satisfied.

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