You might be a little nervous about changing careers, and the process of recreating your resume can validate that hesitation. Creating a career change resume can be difficult for the obvious reason you may not have much industry experience.
But smart employers these days don’t pay as much attention to experience alone. They are looking for intelligent people who are motivated to work in a certain field. There’s no question you will find employers who won’t look in your direction without experience, but don’t get down about it. Plenty of employers are willing to help train someone with the right attitude and ability to perform.
If you are creating a resume for a career change, you might be tempted to spin some info and make it look like you have experiences you don’t. That’s a definite no-no, as most interviewers and HR specialist will be able to find inconsistencies. Not to mention you’ll almost certainly get tripped up during an in-depth interview with industry insiders.
It’s best to be completely honest and let them know you are changing careers and don’t have much direct experience. Especially if you are making the change because you are passionate about the new career. Many employers are going to work with you in that case.
Use the objective statement of your resume to bluntly state what you are doing, and why. Not only will potential employers see this as a good judge of your character, but it will also eliminate any confusion for employers who absolutely require experience. No need to waste yours, or their time.
Show your passion
As with most things we do for a living, it’s best if you have a true passion for your work. No question that people sometimes change careers to make more money, or for a better work-life balance, but try to find the passion points for you in the new career.
A smart employer will know that a highly motivated and passionate employee is going to be more productive in the long run. This is especially true for smaller employers who’s process for reviewing resumes is a little less structured. You may have some problems getting through initial screening processes at larger companies with no experience. Be prepared for that reality and realize that small companies often have superior work environments, and at a minimum are a way to build experience.
Highlight skills that will transfer
While you may not have direct experience, you should beef up your career change resume with skills that transfer from an old job. Research a particular industry to find out what skillsets are important. Use that list to come up with ideas that might carry over from your past experience.
Think about experiences like leading teams, managing projects, or managing people. All of these things are skills needed regardless of the industry and type of job.
Don’t just think about job experience either. You can use experiences that come from other facets of your life such as charity work you may have done. Think about the roles you play at home, at your children’s school, within your community. There are often many experiences that can be beneficial to roles in multiple industries.
Document Previous Successes
Success is something you need to make front and center in any resume, but especially for a career change. While you may not have the experience, having success in your past roles can be a big factor. It can go a long way in mitigating a hiring manager’s fear that you can be successful in a new career.
Document your previous successes much like you would transferable skills. Think about ways you’ve helped previous employers grow their business or cut costs. How much money was it worth to their bottom line? Maybe you helped create better processes at the company to streamline workflow. Try to quantify that success in numbers as this is the easiest way to envision how those changes would help the new company.
Whatever the success, make sure you identify it and think about ways that can carry over to your new career. You might not initially think there is any similarity, but if you put your mind to it, there are often good comparisons between industries.
If you have tried some of these tactics, and aren’t getting traction, it may be time to get back to school. The good news is that for many great careers, you don’t need a four-year college degree. Many careers these days only require one to two years of additional education. Look for trade and vocational schools in your area or look for jobs that have apprenticeship opportunities. In some cases, you may even be able to get paid while you learn on the job.
While you might be lacking experience, at least having some requisite schooling will show an employer your dedication. It might only buy you an entry-level position, but that’s likely where you’ll end up no matter what when changing careers.
Use a Resume Builder
One great way to find terminology and skillsets that map from your old job is to use a resume builder. Not only will this make it easier to create the resume itself, but the good resume builders have a library of bullet points to help fill out each section. You simply start typing in a relevant skill, and they will make recommendations tailored to that industry.
You can even look through some of the most commonly used skills to help in your brainstorming. They also can help you think through jobs that might be appropriate given your skillset. By uploading your resume, the best resume builders will be able to match your experiences against job posting.
The Bottom Line
Creating a resume for a career change can be challenging, but it can also be eye-opening. With any luck, you will find that many of your previous experiences are applicable across a broad range of jobs and industries.
As with so many things when it comes to careers, focus on passion, honesty, and credibility. That’s not going to do the trick with every potential employer, as some will require experience, but will open the door to many.
Do your research on the new industry, use the tools that are available, and do your best to tell them why this is a great industry for you.