Changing jobs has to be one of the more difficult decisions a person can make; staying in the work environment we are used to can sometimes be easier than having to embrace uncertainty, and having to prove your professional qualifications and credibility in a new workplace. The decision for change becomes that much more difficult if the new job you want means changing your career. While you will face a challenge in trying to get the job that meets your new career objectives, writing your resume should not be one of them.
On the Internet alone, there are numerous resources for career changers. From helping you decide which career you are best suited for to providing helpful advice on how to succeed in your new job, you will find an overwhelming amount of resources to help you in your new journey. While most of the information you find will be helpful, be careful about the sources you utilize in order to put together the most persuasive resume for your new career choice.
There are really two basic elements to successfully creating a resume for a career changer: research and transferable skills. Most people put a lot of thought into changing careers. They consider their families, their living and financial situations, their competitive advantage in the new field, etc. After you convince yourself that changing careers is the right thing to do, you will have to convince your potential employers to give you the job you are seeking. To do so, you have to do your research. Demonstrate to your employer that you have an extensive knowledge of the industry, even if you don’t have the accompanying experience. Before you begin your new career, make sure that you understand what professional paths are available for you, and determine what your ultimate goal is. This will help you form the career objective for your resume. Additional, make sure to do your research on the company you are interested in, as well as their competition (if you are interested in non-profit organizations, make sure to brush up on other organizations with similar missions); if invited for an interview, you will want to appear very knowledgeable not only about their company, but about the industry as a whole. You will have to convince your potential employer that you the best person for the job, better than the candidates with experience and to do that, you have to showcase not only your enthusiasm for the opportunity, but your eagerness to learn and your knowledge about the field.
Transferable skills, those skills that can be utilized in numerous fields, are also a key to a successful career change. Consider your qualifications to date. What experience have you acquired that can be transferred across industries? Transferable skills include verbal and written communication, people management, customer relations, organization and project management, development of new processes, generation of new ideas or concepts, etc. Such skills can be adapted to all organizations, and you should utilize them to showcase your qualifications for the job you are seeking. For example, if you would like to ditch the 9-to-5 desk job for a hectic, unpredictable life of a high school teacher, let your potential employer know that your previous experience in leading by motivation makes you a perfect candidate for the job (even if that marketing project you managed has nothing to do with teaching English composition). Making a list of all your professional experiences and the qualifications needed for the job you are seeking will help you in determining which skills are transferable to your new career. Once you define your transferable skills, use a functional resume to assure most (if not all) of the qualifications needed for the new job are met in your resume.
In addition to your resume, use your cover letter or email to let your potential employer know why you are changing careers, and that your new interest is not a passing one. Make sure that your resume reflects your newfound interest in a genuine and professional manner, and you are sure to have a successful career change.