Making a career change? You will learn how to structure your resume to showcase your experience, what is relevant, if you can make a career change with no experience and how to start over in a new career. Recruiter and career strategist Stacey Gordon will help you position you position yourself as an expert in a new industry.
- If you are attempting to make a career change, then you've probably heard you don't have any industry experience, you'll have to start over from the bottom, you'll have to take a pay cut, it's not possible, it's too late, or any number of other extremely unhelpful comments. Making a career change is not easy, but there are ways to structure your resume to profile your experience in the best light. There is a widely circulated report by TheLadders which suggests that recruiters spend an average of six seconds looking at your resume.
Just six seconds. The first thing they look at is your name and your location. The second thing they review is your professional history with starting and ending dates. And then they look more closely at your work history to determine your stability. This matters to you if you're changing careers because you might not be able to demonstrate in your professional history that you have the experience or the stability they're seeking. Your next employer is more interested in what you've done than what you say you can do because results are measureable, reviewable, and proven.
When attempting a career transition, it is okay to remove extra information from your resume. You can omit portions of job responsibilities, and no, this is not lying, it's customizing. If your last job included both a sales and a finance function, but you're now applying for a job that is strictly finance related, you'll want to downplay the sales aspects and increase the responsibilities on the finance side. If you were the office manager for a small office where you handled everything from ordering supplies, to managing staff, to managing an office expansion, and now you are applying for an office manager position within a large office where your only function will be to manage the staff, again, you'll want to pare down on the other responsibilities of your job.
Where it gets tricky is in the reverse, and this usually applies if you're in the middle of a career change. If you had limited responsibility in one area, and you're applying for a position which is larger in scope, or somewhat different in scope, you have to go back to your past jobs and find the aspects of your experience that are translatable. Remember, the company wants to see what you have previously accomplished and how that helps them solve the problem they have now. So how do you make an impact and give your future employer what they want? In the argument for and against using an objective, using an objective wins in this instance.
An objective can help you to focus the reader and alert them to why your resume is in their hand for this particular position. Your summary of skills will also accomplish the same goal. But there is also a risk of being considered overqualified or underqualified. What you can do in this case is bring in experience you might have outside of your current job, highlight skills within your current job that are applicable to your desired career, and demonstrate that you have advanced knowledge of this new area.
Every section of your resume will be impacted. From your summary of skills, to your work history, your education, and your volunteer work, it will be necessary to find relevant keywords and provide evidence that you are the solution to their hiring need. Using our keyword generation process, identify the keywords, phrases, and must have skills for the required job. This includes making a list of the tasks that appear frequently throughout the job posting.
At some point in time an actual person wrote the description, therefore if something appears more than once, it's probably highly important to the function of the position. Additionally, look at the tasks that are labeled as required skills, or as preferred, but not required. The suggestion here is to not merely mimic the requirements of the job, but demonstrate where in your past experience you have already solved the types of problems your future employer may have.
This is the step many of us get wrong. Keywords are great, but they are not effective if they are not accompanied by results. An employer wants to see that you have the skill and can apply it. This is why accomplishments, achievements, and measurable results are so important for someone changing careers. If a career change is in your future, start reviewing your resume with the critical eye of your future employer.
Stacey explains what to include and exclude on a resume and how to showcase your talents and best qualities. Using practical examples, Stacey walks through choosing the right format, tailoring information to match job requirements, and writing alternative resumes that include industry-specific information. Last, Stacey shows you how to deal with some common sore spots—like job hopping, lack of experience, or unemployment gaps—while concentrating on your experience.
- Explain how to present your experience on a resume.
- Identify where spell check will not catch mistakes.
- Recognize the proper way to present your dates of employment in your professional experience section.
- Recall when you will need a traditional resume in the entertainment business.
- Explain what you could do to fill in the void on your resume when you have been unemployed for over six months.
- Name the benefits of sending a handwritten thank-you note following an interview.
- Identify some things you can do to help you identify and eliminate red flags before applying for a job.