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Career changes are challenging in today’s market where hiring managers expect to understand immediately how you are a perfect fit for the role at hand.

Strong documents alone, however, will not cut it when it comes to making a 180-degree career shift. Changing careers means going up against competition with experience in the new industry you are targeting.

Without relevant position or industry experience, your application will rank well below those who have worked in the field. This is in part because Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Software is programmed to search for industry- and job-specific keywords.

While daunting, a career change challenge is not insurmountable. Good old fashioned legwork on your part, together with a compelling resume and a persuasive cover letter, will help you get noticed and give your quest for a career change the momentum in needs.


You stand a stronger chance of convincing a person than a machine you are worth the risk and that your particular expertise is relevant to the role and industry you target.

This is where networking comes into play. If you want to successfully transition to a career or job, it is critical your network include decision makers that can hear your case and advocate from the inside on your behalf.


Every industry has its own acronyms and terminology. Being able to “talk the talk” shows decision makers you understand the industry and can hit the ground running with a minimal learning curve.

To get a handle on the correct lingo, you must speak with those who work in your target field, and launch a studious review of company websites, industry publications and job postings. This effort will also help you determine which transferrable skills are more prized than others.

Be sure to pepper your language with this lingo when stating your case, and remember to weave it throughout your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile.


Your career aspirations must be front and center in each and every single document you present.

This means your resume’s branding section (located just below your contact information), LinkedIn headline and summary, and cover letter’s opening lines must clearly indicate that your experience and highlighted qualifications are well aligned with the role.

This also means when considering your career achievements, you select those pertinent to your targeted industry and lead off with them below each job title when detailing your work experience.

When including career highlights in your LinkedIn Summary and cover letter, be sure to incorporate achievements that align well with the skills critical to success in your targeted role and industry.


Although admittedly tougher than a lateral or even next-level job search, a career change is achievable—provided you are willing to put in the hard work.

Taking the extra time to learn the industry, make connections with those with the power to advocate, and create powerful documents closely aligned with your career aspirations – are the ingredients for career change success.