Your Career Change Resume

Writing a new resume is difficult enough, but writing a new resume when you are making a career change is more challenging. When faced with the idea or necessity of a career change many people make the mistake of thinking that all they need to do is to rewrite their current resume, or simply create a new resume. Making a career change is not as simple as just creating a new resume. In fact a new resume is the LAST thing you will need to create if you want to change your career.

You have lots of work to do in order to know WHAT you are going after . See my Step by Step Guide to Change Your Career to get started.

Even if you already know what you want, be sure that you've done enough research to know if your new career will be right for you and that you have your financial plan in place to make your career transition.

So let's say you've done all the work and you are ready to start your new career job search.

See my special section on mid life career change resumes too.

How to write your career change resume:

Should you write your own resume or hire someone to write it for you?

There is no right or wrong answer here. There are many great resume writing services out there who can help you. If you've had a good success rate in the past with resumes you have created yourself, then you can probably write a new one that will work. I've had mixed results with hiring professionals to write my resume for me over the years. It seems that the resume I create gets at least as many call backs as the resume I have had professionally written. If you need help with your resume check my resources page.

Remember: The ONLY purpose of a resume is to get a potential employer to call you for an interview.

If you are confident in your writing skills, do your own, but get feedback from others you respect. Ask them to read it as if they are a hiring manager and give you honest, constructive feedback. If you are not a confident writer, get help from friends or hire a resume writing service, but be sure they have the expertise to create the career transition resume that you need.

Transferrable skills in your career change resume

The big difference between a resume for someone seeking a job within their established career field and someone who is entering a new career field is that the new person will not have direct relevant experience. What you need to do when changing careers is highlight your " transferrable skills ".

Transferrable skills are those skills that are not specific to a particular job or industry but that carryover.

An example of a transferrable skill is someone who has been a manager. If you have managed a department or company then your people management skills will be beneficial wherever you go. The particular goals or tasks of the people you manage may be different in a new industry, but successful management is basically the same .

Use Keywords in your career change resume

Many companies use databases to manage incoming resumes. Your resume may never been seen by a human being so it is important that you write your resume so that it is searchable within the database. Recruiters will do keyword searches when looking for potential candidates, so be sure your resume has appropriate keywords throughout. Use many of the same keywords included in the job description as well as any jargon or buzzwords pertinent to the industry or job you seek.

Focus on Benefits in your career change resume

You need to show your potential new employer what skills and expertise you have that will benefit them , even though you may not have worked in that field before. Your resume should always highlight your achievements and successes , regardless of whether you are changing careers or not. So write your new resume from the perspective of showing what you have achieved in the past and how that will benefit your new employer. Don't focus on job titles or job tasks, which may be totally irrelevant if you are changing industries. Be sure that your resume does not contain jargon pertinent to your old industry. It may not be understood by a hiring manager in a different industry and your resume will be tossed out.

Do you volunteer? What are your hobbies?

Remember that volunteer work and internships count as experience so don't leave them off your resume. Do you help out at an animal shelter on the weekends? Have you raised money for a local charity? Are you a boy scout/girl scout troop leader? What are your hobbies? Do you build and race sports cars? Do you paint? Including non-paid activities that show your achievements/skills can add dimension and breadth to your resume as well. For example, I have always included my marathon coaching experience (as a volunteer, though I don't put that on the resume) on my professional resume even though the job I was applying for had nothing to do with running. Why? Because being a coach shows that I have good communication and leadership skills. Being able to complete a marathon shows that I am goal oriented and disciplined-qualities that an employer will probably value.

Plus, you never know when the person reading your resume may share the same hobby. That common factor alone could get you an interview! And it's a great way to make a personal connection right away.


If you have had a great experience with a resume writing service, let me know and I will post it on my resources page.