If you’re just finishing up a new career course program or you find yourself in the middle of a corporate downsizing, or just want to try something different after several years in the same job, you’ll be putting together a career change resume designed to help you make a career change. Building a great resume is hard enough when you’re seeking a job in a field where you have a lot of experience – if you’re pursuing a new career direction; it's even more difficult to convince employers to give you a shot.
One mistake job seekers make is to use their same old resumes to apply for new jobs. A career change resume should be retooled to emphasize the qualities potential employers will be seeking. So first, you’ll want to research the career field that you hope to enter, and find what qualities hiring manager seek, so that you can play up those qualities on your own resume. A search of online career-builder websites where employers post job listings is a good start. It’s also a good idea to talk to people already working in your new field of choice – if you can, use networking opportunities to pick their brains about what HR people want to see on a resume.
Take a hard look on what skills you’ve learned in your current job and ask yourself why a new employer might choose you. There will probably be a lot of areas where you have no experience, but you might be surprised at the skills you have from things you do in your leisure time, volunteer activities and schooling that will translate to your new career. Get a pad of paper and jot down your related qualifications – these should be highlighted on your new career change resume.
Next, figure out what sort of career change resume style is best for your new career goal. The chronological resume is often ideal for those making a career change that have skills that apply to their new career. Lead off your chronological-style career change resume with a summary of your qualifications, emphasizing your new education or the skills most strongly applicable to the field you hope to enter. When writing your work history, focus on the tasks, and accomplishments that will be most attractive to potential employers.
An alternate option if you’re changing careers is to skip the resume entirely and send a cover letter instead. Stress how passionate you are about the field you hope to enter, and emphasize any special raining or experience you’ve had that could translate to your new job. Tell the hiring manager how your motivation and enthusiasm would make you an ideal candidate for their company. You’ll still need to have a standard career change resume to send them if they ask for it – but the letter will pique the interest of a potential employer, and could get you an interview.
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