A Career Change Requires a Resume Redo
By Dawn Rossetti, CPRW & Melissa Brodeur, CPRW, RelaunchCareerAssociates.com
A career transition can be challenging. Your resume can help to bridge the gap between your current experiences and your desired career. But, how can you craft your resume so that it seamlessly transitions you from one industry to another? Take it one step at a time. Here are a few steps to help you get started.
1. Do Your Research
The first step is to research the field you are trying to break into so that you can gain an understanding of what hiring managers expect from their workers. Begin your research by browsing jobs postings and networking with people in your new field of interest. This allows you to educate yourself on the qualifications, skill sets and expectations that employers will have of you as you enter their industry.
2. Define Your Transferrable Skills
After you obtain the necessary requirements for your desired position, you can make a list of "transferrable" skills. These core skills carry from one job to another and can apply across industries. For example: if you were a sales representative at your last position, then perhaps you may possess such skills as: customer service, oral and written presentations, contract negotiations, budgeting and team leadership. Any of these may be applicable to your new position.
3. What Are Your Accomplishments?
Once you have discovered your transferrable skills, you need to identify your accomplishments. Today's resumes are "achievement-based." This means that they do not read like a job description, but instead outline major contributions. Rather than leading a bullet with the phrase "Responsible for...," start with an action verb that succinctly conveys how your actions affected the company. For example: "Increased efficiency by 30 percent by integrating new electronic filing system."
When you reflect on your duties, answer the following questions:
- What was the purpose of that responsibility?
- What was the bottom-line result of my actions?
Highlighting your achievements, versus itemizing responsibilities, allows a potential employer to identify the potential you have to make a positive impact on their organization. Remember, it is important to quantify wherever you can.
4. Select the Proper Resume Format
As you begin to write your new resume, choose a format that makes sense for your type of career change and skill set. The two most commonly used formats are chronological or functional.
A reverse chronological resume is a standard style and a great choice if you have had work related to your target position. Begin by creating a professional summary at the top of your resume that includes your new career objective. Proceed by listing your jobs in reverse chronological order (present job first) followed by detailed but concise bullets showcasing your achievements and contributions to each employer.
A functional resume style is suited for a career that is extremely different from your current position, as this format downplays your career history in favor of highlighting transferrable skills. This format can start with a powerful profile summary, followed by functional "headers." Examples of headers are: Customer Service, Contract Negotiations and Team Leadership. Under each header, you can summarize your related experience. Your job titles, location, dates, etc. are then listed at the bottom of the document without additional details beyond position title, employer, location and dates of employment.
Best of luck with your transition! Don't forget to post your new resume.
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Dawn Rossetti and Melissa Brodeur are certified resume writers and co-founders of Relaunch Career Associates. Melissa and Dawn previously traveled separate career paths but their shared vision and commitment to helping others realize their professional goals inspired them to form a partnership. To learn more about their services, please go to RelaunchCareerAssociates.com.