Career change after you’ve worked in a career for a number of years requires you to draft a resume that will help you make the career change. In normal circumstances writing a strong resume is a difficult task but to write an effective resume to help accomplish a career switch is a task that requires some creativity to assure the new employer you can do the job.
Don’t make the mistake that other mid-career changers make by trying to put some lipstick on their old resume and think it will work. Never expect the employer to connect the dots, after reading your mind, and determine how you fit the needs of the open position.
To generate ideas to focus your resume you need to do in-depth research on the new career field. If possible talk to others working in the new career. They can provide you with a wealth of information. What are the basic qualifications required to get hired in this job? What skills are required? How well does your skills and qualification match what is required?
Look at postings for a dozen or more jobs in the career you plan on entering. Write out each skill and qualification required and score how many items appear in one or more job opening. If a certification is required what do you need to do? If a specific skill appears frequently, and you are lacking, how can you acquire the skill?
Often these gaps can be filled by completing a short course of study and receiving your certification. Other times an accelerated course of self-study will get the job done. If a more formal course of study is required, there is distance learning and classes after work and on weekends.
In writing your career change resume your focus should be on the needs and requirements of the prospective employer. If you look back over your career, including volunteer and community activities, you will be surprised at the breadth of your experience.
Write out the qualifications and skills required for the job. Now go down the list and match up your experience with the job requirements. Pay particular attention to transferable skills like team work, communication skills, budgeting, cost cutting, people management, customer service skills, program management, organizational skills and technology.
If you worked at something, for example, only 10% or less of you time, and it happens to be the number one job requirement, any accomplishments in this area will be highlighted by listing them first on your resume. It’s not lying to structure your resume this way and there is no need to say you spent 10% or less on this activity. If specifically asked about it in a job interview you will have prepared a well thought out answer.
It can’t be emphasized enough that your career change resume should focus on the needs of the employer. Anything that does not support this goal you should consider keeping it off the resume. All of your accomplishments listed in the career change resume should strongly support why you are a viable candidate for the job.
The reasons for your career change should only be articulated in your resume cover letter. Keep it brief but logical. You can show in the job interview how passionate you are about the new career and the steps you have taken to build your skills to match the job requirements.
Effective career change requires a well crafted career change resume. Anything less and you are at an extreme disadvantage in today’s competitive job market.