Writing a career change resume can be tricky. How can you effectively market yourself to employers in a different industry when you don't have nearly enough experience as the average candidate applying for the same job as you?
If you're looking to make a career change, optimizing your resume becomes even more important than it normally is. It's also critical to write a disruptive cover letter and make strategic networking and intentional branding the priority.
Follow these five tips for an effective career change resume so you can land your dream job in a new industry.
1. Create An Interview Bucket List
An interview bucket list is a list of 10-20 companies you'd love to work for. Before beginning your job search as a career changer, having an interview bucket list is a must.
How can you identify the right companies to add to your interview bucket list? Well, it's simpler than it sounds. Think about the companies you admire—for their mission, their product or service they provide, or both. Then, determine whether you could find an opportunity at these companies that aligns with your career change goals.
When creating your interview bucket list, you're ultimately looking for companies you connect with. Why are you passionate about working for them? Tell that connection story in your disruptive cover letter. Then, you'll be able to target your resume for specific job openings at these companies, customizing it for each position that you apply for. Which leads to our next tip for a career change resume...
2. Highlight Your Transferable Skills
Transferable skills are hard skills that are in-demand across many different roles and industries. As a career changer, highlighting your transferable skills on your resume is the key to looking as qualified as possible for the position you're applying for.
Never include soft skills on your resume. It doesn't matter whether you're changing careers or not. Soft skills cannot be quantified. Therefore, they do not belong on your resume.
For example, "detail-oriented" is a soft skill and "project management" is a transferable skill. You may not have experience managing the types of projects in the industry you're looking to get a job in, but if you have the skill, it's likely you'll be able to transition into a role that requires project management smoothly.
3. Focus On Your Accomplishments
In the "Work History" section of your resume, you'll want to focus on what you accomplished in previous roles, keeping your transferable skills in mind. For each role you list, you should have at least three bullet points detailing your quantifiable accomplishments.
Employers want to see what you accomplished in your previous roles and how those accomplishments could translate to success in their industry. They don't care about what your tasks or responsibilities were. That won't tell them the value you provide as a business-of-one.
What accomplishments are you most proud of in your career? Write those down. Hiring managers will probably be impressed by them, too.
4. Avoid Irrelevant Information
Any irrelevant information you include on your career change resume will hurt your chances of getting an interview. Hiring managers spend only seconds reviewing each resume that comes across their desk. If they can't easily identify relevant information, they'll assume you aren't qualified for the position and toss your resume.
Only including relevant information on your resume will be difficult if you're changing careers. But if you follow the tips above, you should be on the right track.
5. Use The "Additional Experience" Section To Your Advantage
The "Additional Experience" section of your resume is the perfect place to showcase more relevant work or volunteer experience for the industry you're looking to switch to.
Did you volunteer at an organization within the same industry? Have you worked on special projects that involved the industry in some way? This section is where you should include any remaining relevant information you believe makes you qualified for the job you're applying for.
These five tips will help you write an effective career change resume. Just remember the importance of strategic networking and intentional branding in your job search as well.
In order to get your resume in front of hiring managers, you'll likely need to go around the ATS and focus on networking your way into companies by connecting with current employees of these companies on LinkedIn. Customizing your resume, writing a disruptive cover letter, and having a solid networking strategy will help you successfully change careers.
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