Your Career Change On Paper

Over the last month, I have been an advisor in a Media Bistro Job Search Boot Camp. I have received some version of this question many times: “How do we present a terrific background for a profession we’re trying to get into, as opposed to a terrific background for a profession we’re trying to leave?”

Career changes are a process. They involve quite a lot of reflection, research, and a comprehensive assessment of what is important to you. When you come to a point when you’re ready to act upon a career change, the resumé is traditionally the tool you use to make your first impression. Representing your skills and experience on a resumé in a career change situation becomes an art as well as a science.

If you’ve devoted serious time to the first part of the process—reflection, assessment—then this part of the process should come more easily. If it doesn’t, take a few steps back and consider again the skills and experience you can take with you.

Many years ago, I learned from one of my mentors, Carol Anderson, three avenues to making a career change; I believe that this advice is directly applicable to the resumé as well.

1) If you want to continue working in the same functional role, but need or want to change industry, you will leverage your functional skills. A marketing person for a financial services company will perform similar tasks and have similar responsibilities to a marketing person in the nonprofit sector. Those skills should take center stage on your resumé.

2) If you are trying to change your functional role within the same industry, leverage your industry knowledge. Maybe you’ve been an editor for years, but secretly developing your design skills after hours. Now you’re ready to make the switch from words to art. Showcase your understanding of the big picture of publishing.

3) If you want to change careers altogether, and find a different function in a different industry, you will need to leverage your transferable skills and untapped talents. For example, if you have experience successfully managing a team of people and expect to do so in a different industry, highlight your management experience on your resumé.

When you work on your resumé, be sure you understand which avenue you are pursuing, and what skills you plan to utilize and experiences you will draw upon to move you toward those goals. You can start to paint the picture of that ideal future in your resumé.

If you have a career conundrum or job search question you need answered, please write to us at Info (at) careerfolk.com or post it on our facebook page and let me help you figure out your future.

One Comment on “Your Career Change On Paper

  1. Really enjoyed this article Donna. Leveraging your specific skills to that of the desired job is such a great piece of advice. This will definitely show an awareness of the market that you hope to enter and you won’t have to rewrite your whole CV. The only point I could add to this article is that the applicant must make sure that they promote their benefits and capabilities to an employer, not just their key skills. The employer wants to understand why should I employ you over candidates? If the applicant uses their skills and achievements to support their benefits on their CV, they will be well prepared for success when job hunting.

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