Writing a Career Change Resume
Congratulations! They have made the difficult but rewarding decision to change careers. The good news? You will experience an exciting adventure as you embark on a career path that you may have always wanted to explore. The bad news? First you have to get someone to hire you in this new area.
A traditional CV – probably the CV you have now – is not the best tool to maximize your talent and experience. If you move to a closely related area – for example, from a nurse to a private nurse – a combined resume format is an advantage. It’s like a chronological resume except that you start with a summary that outlines your qualifications and certifications and proves you’re a great candidate for this new role.
If you make a big career jump, a working CV is the right choice as it underlines your abilities while downplaying your work history (which undoubtedly has little or nothing to do with your new career). Since this is the most difficult transition, we focus on putting together a functional resume.
A few tips before you start your resume:
o Do your homework. When you have made a decision that changes your life, you can assume that you are familiar with the daily tasks. But that does not necessarily mean that you know what employers are looking for to prospective employees. You may think you are perfect for a marketing or PR position because you are a great author, but did you know what many employers are looking for marketing salespeople? You can get some information from the internet. A better solution is to meet with an employer in your desired industry to find out what he is actually looking for in a candidate.
o Think like an employer. If your resume does not have years of direct experience in this area, what would show an employer that you have what it takes to learn this new profession? Reflect on all your potential transferable skills. Has a volunteer project built in a related skill? Does your hobby use a transferable ability?
Creating a new resume from scratch can be daunting, especially if you are unfamiliar with a functional format. However, the following tips will guide you through the process of creating your new CV step by step.
o Step 1: Start with a clearly defined goal. This is important in most CVs, but essential in a transitional CV. You need to tell the human resource manager exactly what position you want, as she probably can not determine that you are applying for a graphic design job if she only sees teaching skills. Example: “Graphic design job where 10 years of proven creativity, adaptability and communication skills ensure that customers are fully satisfied with their design projects.”
o Step 2: Add a profile. Here, your knowledge of what an employer is looking for in this area starts to come in handy. In this section, you list who you are – of course, in relation to your intended position. Example: “Creative, self-motivated professional who can easily adapt to any situation, talent for conquering new technologies and software applications while maintaining creative flair, trained in intercultural communication and fluent in two foreign languages.”
o Step 3: Create skills overview. In this section, it’s easiest to list all your skill column formats. Include technology, languages and hard and soft skills. Show everything from “Project Management” to “Dreamweaver” to “French Fluent”.
o Step 4: Create functional categories. Depending on your experience and the job you are applying for, your functional categories might be Sales Experience, Organization Experience, and Customer Service. For example, under Organizational Experience, list all your organizational achievements throughout your career. Example: “Created a new system to monitor adherence to new federal regulations by a 68-employee company.” This is the most difficult aspect of a functional CV for many people, as it can be difficult to identify skills rather than just job descriptions. Sometimes an outside source – a spouse, friend or family member – can help you develop ideas for brainstorming.
o Step 5: Finish with a short employment history. You have already collected all the useful skills and experience from your work history and divided them into your functional category areas. All you need to list here is the company name, address, job title and date of employment. Do not go into your job descriptions.
It can be time-consuming, but writing an effective functional resume is the first step in the career you dreamed of.