6 Secrets to Ignite Your Career Change Resume

By Joe Flanagan

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It can be overwhelming when you face the notion of changing careers. Though it can come with exhilaration and excitement, it can also be a lot to take in. You know that you want to move into something different and you want to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B. So how do you approach this and ensure that you write a career change resume that will truly get you to where you want to be?

The thing that you must consider is that there is a tendency to dismiss an individual who doesn’t have the necessary experience required for the job at hand. This is why your resume has to say all the right things to move forward in the process. You have to know what to focus on in terms of experience. You have to integrate the right keywords. You also have to be certain that your accomplishments help to highlight that you are a qualified candidate.


Use The Right Keywords For Applicant Tracking Systems

In addition to the tips above try to include important keywords in your resume that work within this new industry, career, or role that you are interested in. According to Capterra, 75% of recruiters and hiring managers use an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to sift though the endless amount of resumes that land in their email inbox for certain types of jobs. You want to stand out from the crowd so research the keywords that you need to via a mix of researching. This can be done by playing around with a resume builder, looking at existing resume examples and analyzing the job description of the job you are applying to. Know that including these keywords in your objective and wherever they apply in your experience will help to get you noticed. 


Focus On Your Accomplishments To Ignite This Transition

When considering how to write a career change resume you have to think about what makes you unique or what you could apply to this new field. There is likely something in your past that helps you to stand out that makes you worth taking a second look at. Though you may not have experience in this specific role or industry, you have certainly done something which can help you to be successful.

For example, a sales target award, certifications that have helped bolster your career such as Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or learning a new computer programming language. It's a hiring manager that needs to see this to give you that chance that you’ve been waiting for!

You have to approach this confidently and you have to know that you bring something applicable to the table. You have to focus on what you do have and not what you are lacking. It’s crucial to your success to focus on what makes you great, and if you include the following points you can make your career change with ease.


Focus On Your Relevant Achievements

There is something that you bring to the table which can translate well into a new career. You have accomplished something great that the hiring manager can be impressed with. You want to lead with this so that you can draw them in from the start. Your resume needs to somehow demonstrate these achievements so that they can see how you could be well suited to this new career path.

Think of some initiative that you have put into place, for example, mind mapping a new business strategy that helped build cohesiveness with a team of people. Consider a process that you created which helped others such as creating a training guide for new employees. Think of something that you did to improve your company or the way that they did things. If you were in sales, then think of a particularly successful time period that you had and how your soft and hard skills can be translated to your new career. This is your time to shine and therefore you absolutely must focus on your achievements.

Don’t think of this as bragging, but rather selling yourself into a new job. The aim is to highlight achievements that are overarching and all encompassing so they fit in with your new career.


Soft Skills Matter Too

When you write a career change resume, you have to focus on the experience that you have gained. Though it may be in a different role, in a different industry, or in an entirely different career there should be experience that you can use that does cross-over. Try to think of your job responsibilities from a higher level or big picture point of view and then it may help you to center in on what matters. There are many soft skills that translate from one career to another, for example, if you're currently an office manager seeking new employment in teaching then interpersonal, time management and problem-solving skills are great to possess.

For others, it may be managing people or managing projects, or it might just be certain tasks that you performed. A well thought out resume speaks to what your job was, how you performed it well and how this matches up with the current job description.


Be Very Clear About Your Objective and Goals

This is one of the most important things when it comes to writing a career change resume. You want to show what you are trying to do or what you are aiming to move into. The objective and your goals are what you can focus on to prove to them that you are serious about transitioning into a new career. This can be in the form of a professional profile that states two to three skills that relate to your new career plus any achievements.

A professional profile reaffirms your dedication to your new career. You recognize that you may not have worked in this role or capacity before, but you are willing to do what it takes. Be very specific about your career goals, write a profile that is full of detail, and then use this as your entry point in winning over a hiring manager that is willing to give you a chance. All it takes is one good interview, and a well written profile on your resume to get from where you are to where you want to be. It’s that simple and yet that important at the same time!


Focus On Non Job Related Experience

We all have a tendency to focus only on job related experience on a resume, but you can take it a step further than that. If you have any volunteer experience or things that you have done in your spare time, you can apply those to your achievements. If you're not sure how to best present this volunteer experience you can find more helpful advice here. Think of projects that you were involved in or run through your church, your child’s school, or your community. There may very well be some valuable experience there that you could highlight for a career transition.

Though you might think of this as applicable experience, there may be something that you have done which applies to a new job. Consider how you fill your days and think through what a hiring manager may care about. Even if it’s volunteer experience, there is bound to be something in there worth highlighting on your resume. Know that in the end all experience can be valuable if you present it in the right way. Experience that has helped to make you a more well rounded individual is ultimately what a hiring manager is going to be looking at in consideration to a new career path.


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