Having a decent resume is vital, especially when applying for a new job. Your contact information, skills, and experience are necessary elements to include in your CV.
But what happens when you’re trying to switch careers? In this case, you might not have that much experience to share for your desired position.
Moreover, switching careers means revolutionizing your resume to fit the requirements to the best of your abilities. Hence, many applicants resort to a job consultant, employment office, or resume booster service to advise them regarding their career change.
We prepared a short guide on writing a resume when switching careers.
If you switch your career, switch your focus
Indeed.com calls this method the “compound resume format” because it combines a chronological and functional one.
If you’re applying for a job you haven’t done before, you may have only education to show for it. This means that you have to focus on what matters for the position you desire.
For instance, if you worked for many years as a secretary but studied to be a nurse, you have to bring out the most relevant parts of your work experience. So, mention the part where you organized papers, helped clients and collaborated with other people. This lets your employer see that you’re not entirely new to the job, meaning you have experience with some tasks.
But what happens when your last jobs don’t have anything to do with your preferred position? In this case, focusing on studies is crucial. The employer might ask themselves, “What makes this applicant fit for the job?” Then, your CV should be able to answer it.
For example, say you were a cook trying to become an English teacher for a private school. Those two jobs have nothing in common. Therefore there are no relevant skills to bring out of your experience as a cook.
So, try to emphasize your interest in the position. Also, place your studies and projects for it at the top of your resume. Avoid presenting yourself as an ex-cook. A better alternative is to present yourself as a neo-teacher.
Use some functional data
Even if you’re trying to distract the employer from the little experience you have for the job, some elements are necessary:
- Contacts (phone, email, socials)
- Desired position and objective.
- Education (relevant for the position you’re applying for)
- Experiences (work and projects)
Contacts are crucial because they allow employers to call you back and check your virtual presence.
Nowadays, social media is the new business/calling card. So, make sure your socials are not inappropriate and “off-putting” for employers. They might carefully select who they want to associate themselves with, especially if they’re an image-oriented company.
So, clean your pictures and posts from crazy party pictures or risky tweets. Alternatively, you can create a business social media that you present only to employers.
Also, for the desired position, you can present yourself as if you’re already practicing your desired job.
For instance, say you’re a waiter applying for a graphic designer. When you write your section, present yourself as a graphic designer still working to improve their skills. This presentation is optimistic and honest at the same time.
Now, you can back up your aspirations with the education and projects you’ve completed.
Lastly, you can write a short chronological description of your past jobs.
Make yourself the main character
If you were a Marvel superhero, you’d probably be presented with what you can do, not what you’ve done. Don’t fall for the myth of “you are your past jobs.”
You are a fountain of resources, a person with a unique personality and a social presence. So, don’t let your past jobs define you.
Most employers look for a positive presence in the workplace that is qualified and great at working in a structured environment with colleagues, superintendents, and clients.
So, show your personality, values, and objective in life. Many reliable work-oriented blogs like Forbes advise you to share your favorite hobbies and your motto to give a good impression to the reader.
Lastly, if you do not have a face-to-face interview, your unique traits will help employers remember you. Sometimes they might relate to you or remember something eye-catching about your presentation, which boosts your chances.
Include Soft Skills
Sure, hard skills are requirements for the job, but the rest is also vital. After you’ve added your work and technological skills, it’s time for soft skills. These types of abilities are extremely underrated because they forget the part where they need to interact with people and the world.
Soft skills might be the most transferable part of your past job, so don’t hesitate to include them. Especially when you’re working in a team, being cooperative, driven, and kind is quintessential.
Moreover, seemingly insignificant skills like having excellent organizational abilities might help you appear more reliable and autonomous.
Show your face and style
People love to link a name to a face, so always have a profile picture ready. Your facial expression shouldn’t convey sadness or happiness. It should be simple, not blurry, symbolizing tranquillity.
Also, in most cases, employers will appreciate a break from the monotonous standard resume formatting of hundreds of applicants. So, don’t forget to customize your CV if you can.
Adding an aesthetic watermark or elegant borders says a lot about your professionalism, personality, and taste. Nowadays, resume sites offer customizable graphics with beautiful templates. Therefore, it shouldn’t be hard to find your style.
Write a cover letter
A cover letter is a short paragraph on a separate paper that usually comes before your CV. This is where you tell the employer, in your own words, how badly you wish to be part of their team.
You’re looking for an optimistic yet modest tone that goes with your sincere intentions.
Writing a cover letter might seem insignificant, but many people forget about it. They don’t know that many employers appreciate the effort and are likely to remember the candidates that go the extra mile.