Creating a resume is a daunting task for people on a linear career path. When people decide to change careers, developing a new resume that reflects their decision and still sells them as good candidates can seem impossible. In order to succeed in a career change, people need to avoid this sort of self-defeating attitude and start thinking about their experiences and history in a novel way. Instead of focusing on what experiences they don’t have, people changing careers should explore how their outside-of-the-box skill sets make them uniquely qualified for new career paths.
When reconfiguring their resumes for a career change, individuals need to completely reframe their work history. A clear objective that states the new career path can help recruiters to understand where career changers are coming from and where they want to go. However, more than a clear, concise objective is necessary to secure an interview. Different industries generally have distinct forms of jargon, and recruiters will look for keywords that relate to the new sector – not the old one. In other words, individuals need to revamp their resumes to include industry-specific language.
Perhaps the most difficult part of overhauling a resume is editing out extraneous information. Achievements that may have seemed quite significant before often do not carry as much weight. Including irrelevant information that recruiters do not understand will only make a candidate look unprepared for a career change. In general, candidates should avoid generating a laundry list of achievements and instead focus on the handful of accomplishments that create a story of success in the past and emphasize those skills that are transferable in the future. In addition, candidates’ contributions and accomplishments should be quantified as much as possible.
Sometimes, candidates may want to include their non-work activities to flesh out their resumes. For example, individuals who belong to the Toastmasters club may want to include this information as a testament to their communication skills. Volunteer experience can also be helpful information to add, especially if the work completed on behalf of an organization directly relates to the new career path.