Just recently I was contacted by a job seeker looking for some help with his resume. Rather than the typical resume, he was in need of a resume that would take him from his current role into a completely new industry. As if a resume wasn’t challenging enough, right? A resume targeting a new industry has certain expectations and challenges and there are a few things to keep in mind when creating a resume for a job transition.
Basically, there are two scenarios; the first is if you are seeking a position that is similar to your current position or falls within the same industry. The second scenario is if you are applying to a position that is in an entirely new field from your current one.
If the first scenario applies to you, you will face fewer challenges in putting together your resume. Perhaps you work in finance as a customer service representative and are interested in moving to a finance accounts manager role; because it is within the same field you have the background and knowledge of the industry so it will be important to highlight this expertise on your resume. And since this career move is not as drastic a standard resume may suit your needs. By standard, I mean a reverse chronological resume that you would use to apply for a position that builds upon your existing position.
If scenario two sounds more like your situation and you are considering transferring to a new field your standard resume won’t cut it. Rather, you must create a resume that will show not only what you’ve done but how those skills and accomplishments can be applied to a new industry. Additionally, if you are contemplating a brand new career it would be ideal if you have done some preparation by taking classes or completing the appropriate training. After all, you can’t expect to jump into an entirely different profession with zero knowledge or skills.
In the case of a complete career switch your best bet would be to use a functional resume that focuses on your talents and abilities rather than the specific positions you held. For your resume to be effective you must show prospective employers how you can apply your experience and what you have learned throughout your career into a new position in a way that will be beneficial to the employer. It is important to realize that you may not be able to step into a position that offers the same responsibilities, benefits, or compensation. It’s very possible that you will need to work your way up to the level that you are used to.
Before you begin writing a resume for a career transition think about the following questions:
- Is the job within the same industry or a similar one?
- Do you have the knowledge and skills necessary to make the shift to a new position or field?
- Are you comfortable rebuilding your career in a new industry?
- How can you best promote your qualifications?
Your answers to these questions will help guide you in the creation of your resume. Preparing for a career change can be both an exciting and intimidating time. Having a resume that meets your needs can reduce frustrations and assist in the transition.
by Megan Koehler