One of the most common questions I get asked is, “I want to change career paths but I don’t know how to show that on a resume.” So taking into account the Resume Tailoring conversation, let’s walk through how to actually craft a Career Change Resume.
Your Career Change Resume
The most important thing to remember when going through a career change is that you are not starting from scratch (again). Regardless of what everyone around you is mumbling about! Your new mantra is:
You have gained skills in your previous roles, which are applicable and transferable to the position you are seeking.
1. Inventory your skills and make a road map to your new career.
Stick with me on this one, as it may sound a bit “old school.” But I promise, it works. In order to fully realize your skills that are transferable, you need to inventory the skills you have and connect them to the skills that are needed in your new career.
You’ll need a piece of letter-size paper and a pen. Fold the paper in half length-wise, and then proceed below.
- Step 1: Research job descriptions for your desired new role and start picking out the top 10 skills that are consistently requested. Write the 10 skills down on the right-hand side column. Be sure to leave room between each one.
- Step 2: On the left-hand side column, write down all of the skills that you have and utilize in your current (and previous) role(s). You should be able to come up with at least 10 – 15, but no more than 20.
- Step 3: Connect the dots. Starting with the skills you currently have, draw a line to the matching skill on the right-hand column that you need. Sometimes it will be the same skill-name, but most likely you will need to interpret it.
For example, if you were an HR Coordinator in the past, looking to become a Marketing Coordinator, your paper may look something like this:
You have to infer skills to correlate and then you can write some notes as to why they are similar below each one in the right-hand side column. In the example above, I’ve shown that Onboarding new hires is related to Building relationships with new vendors because both are focused on creating connection from new acquaintances and being helpful. Scheduling interviews is similar to coordinating social media efforts because they both require a strict attention to detail and awareness.
2. Objectives are passé. Instead, create a relevant Profile.
When career changing, you do need to indicate on your resume that you are seeking something new-to-you, but you don’t have to say it so blatantly. Replace your outdated Objective section with a Profile section that indicates to the recruiter/hiring manager, what type of position you are seeking and your skills and accomplishments.
Objective: I am seeking a new position in Marketing, leveraging the skills I gained in Human Resources to advance my career in an area I’m more interested in.
Profile: Marketing Coordinator with extensive experience in relationship building, cross-functional teams, and brand positioning.
- Key accomplishment 1 (related to marketing)
- Key accomplishment 2 (related to marketing)
- Key accomplishment 3 (related to marketing)
3. Position your bullets appropriately.
The content of your resume may not need to change as much as you think it does; instead, you need to highlight the same skills leveraging the “right-hand column” words. Once you do that, you will have new bullets for each role that represent the transferability of each skill – be sure to use the correct language of what you did (no lying, we’ve covered that), but boost the recruiter’s understanding by also providing how it relates to the new career path.
Then put the most applicable bullets to the top – simple as that. You want to entice the recruiter to keep reading your resume – so your top bullet for each section should be a “wow” so that they see the correlation and want to learn more. You can keep in specifics from your old role to show versatility and uniqueness, but those bullets should always be below the new path-relevant ones.
This is a quick overview, but should start you thinking about how you position yourself in your “new career path” market – and realize it’s easier than you think, to set-out to try something that may be a better fit for you in the long-run.