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Changing Careers: How to Write a Resume

Human Resources

Changing Careers: How to Write a Resume image iStock 000022693501XSmall 300x199

A polished, updated resume is always important, but becomes especially valuable when you are getting ready to navigate a career change. In many instances, a strong resume will be a selling point when it comes to landing the job, even if other contenders may have more experience than you do in that exact role. As you go about crafting your resume in advance of a career change, here are some points to bear in mind:

Make sure your format is appropriate

If you were working in graphic design and are now hoping to transition into healthcare, you will probably need to make some major adjustments to your resume. While a creative, eye-catching format may be appropriate for an industry based in creative arts, you’ll want to make the document more straightforward when entering conservative fields. Part of the trick to ensuring that your resume works as you navigate a career change is ensuring that the format of your resume is appropriate for your new career.

Every industry has its own culture and standards. What works in one area may be frowned upon in another. In order to ensure that your resume helps instead of hurts, you will want to do some research to figure out what kinds of resumes people in your new field are relying upon. If you find out that other professionals in your industry use intricate designs and lots of personalization in their resumes, you will want to mimic this. If other people use documents that are straightforward and to the point, you should do the same.

Get some experience in your new field, even if it’s volunteer work

One of the major stumbling points for people who are looking to make a career change is often level of experience. It can be hard to break into a new field when you’re up against people who have worked in this industry for years on end. While you cannot make up for lost time, you can take a proactive approach to this issue. Remember that volunteer work and internships count, so even if you aren’t getting paid to work in that field (yet) you can still gain valuable experience. When you know you are ready to make a career change, start by getting involved in the industry in any way that you can. This becomes a powerful selling point on your resume, and can help reassure hiring managers that you have the experience necessary to thrive in their office, even if it came in a non-traditional way. It also shows that you’re motivated about the industry.

Don’t forget the numbers

Regardless of whether you are trying to make a career change or not, quantifying your achievements and skill sets is an essential part of a resume, and it’s something that many people forget to do. While it’s great to say that you worked in a collaborative environment or provided leadership, hiring managers want to know the nitty gritty details about what you’ve done. How many new team members did you personally bring on board? What percent of your quota did you hit this past month? How many new clients did you find last year? When you add quantifiable data into your resume, it makes it much stronger and more appealing to a hiring manager.

A little research and a proactive approach become essential when you are writing a resume to help you prep for a career change.

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  1. Dana Leavy-Detrick says:

    If you’re changing careers (which often translates to a lack of hands-on experience), your transferrable skills, or perhaps education/training, are going to likely be your biggest selling points. So your skill sets have to be played up extra strong on the resume to account for the lack of experience. Talk about them in a way that positions you as not only able to do the basic functions of the job, but as someone who will navigate the transition to a new industry fairly smoothly – that’s HR’s biggest concern.

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