When you start a search for a new job, that also means refreshing your current resume. And when you’re looking to change not only your job but your entire field, that resume will require an even bigger revamp. So how do you make sure it effectively demonstrates to potential employers why they should hire you, despite being new to the industry? Here are five tips for how to write a career change resume.
Use a combination resume format
Many people utilize a chronological format when writing their resumes, moving from education to work experience before noting skills and certifications. However, this can be a detriment if your previous jobs and degrees don’t line up with your new career. Instead, a combination resume — which brings together both the combination and functional formats — will allow you to first showcase your abilities over your past titles, while still detailing your career trajectory. This format includes:
- Contact information
- Resume objective (optional but recommended)
- Skills summary
- Applicable courses and certifications
- Work experience
Identify which of your skills are transferable
Before you start filling in each section, research the industry and read through job descriptions, cross referencing them with your most recent resume. This will enable you to find out which skills gained in your previous work will be transferable to your prospective career, and thus which ones you should highlight in your skills and work experience sections.
For example, perhaps multiple web developer job descriptions note that they’re looking for someone who can troubleshoot. You can emphasize that in your previous experience as a marketer, there was a campaign running that wasn’t effective, which you were able to troubleshoot to figure out what the issue was and solve it.
Open with a resume objective
A resume objective (or resume summary) is a short statement near the top of the page outlining your professional experience, accomplishments, skills, and goals. It’s generally considered optional, but it can be incredibly useful for someone switching careers. Here, you can take an opportunity to touch on your motivations and why you’re changing your career, as well as how your background will be a benefit to the company. Be sure to keep it to a brief few lines, however, as you’ll be able to go more in depth with your points later on.
Include a skills summary
On a resume with a combination format, the skills section is the most prominent, following the objective and preceding work history. List out relevant hard and soft skills — that either transfer from your previous jobs or that you’ve taken courses in order to learn — and add bullet points beneath each one to detail how you’ve gained and utilized them. As in your previous experience section, you should focus on the impact your skills have had as opposed to general descriptions, and be sure to include applicable keywords found in the job posting.
List relevant training and certifications
Getting a certification is a good way to show hiring managers that you’re serious about growing and succeeding in this new profession. If you’ve taken any bootcamps or career training programs in order to get certified, note them on your resume, and leave off anything that won’t be useful in this role (the person going through your application for a UX design position doesn’t need to know that you have an accounting certification).
Fortunately, there are myriad options out there when it comes to obtaining training, from free to paid, online to in-person, and more!