Is it time to chase a different dream? If you’ve decided to pursue a new career path, it can be challenging to stand out as a candidate. However, there are a few key elements of your resume that can be optimized to help your application shine. That’s why we’ve prepared this short guide on how to write a resume for a career change!
Your Objective Statement
Re-writing your objective statement will help employers understand who you are and what you can offer the company. This is also the perfect opportunity to tell your story and explain your career goals. A successful objective statement should:
- Make your value clear
- Highlight your most important skills
- Communicate why you want to work in this field
- Be only a few sentences long
Your objective statement will set the stage for the remainder of your resume.
Your Resume Format
Forbes reports that up to three-quarters of qualified applicants are rejected by an applicant tracking system (ATS) because the software couldn’t read their resumes. While it might tempting to create a colorful and beautifully designed resume … don’t. It’s a bad idea because:
- For the most part, ATSs do a very poor job of reading and interpreting resumes that have been designed.
- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some recruiters and hiring managers will like your design; however, some will not. Why take the risk?
- It distracts the reader from actually reading your resume and determining if you’re a qualified candidate.
Keep your resume simple and don’t forget the basics. Be sure to check spelling, grammar, punctuation, and clarity. And, don’t forget to have a trusted colleague, friend, or family member proofread your resume and cover letter before sending it out. You can also use this handy ATS Resume Preview tool to make ensure your bases are covered!
Your Transferable Skills
Changing careers means that your resume won’t tell the story of a linear career path. That’s okay! You’ve already developed several skills that are likely applicable to the position your applying for. Connect the dots by specifically explaining how you envision your current skills are likely to transfer to your new field.
You might even consider highlighting your transferable skills on your resume by mentioning them near the top in a clear and easy-to-read format. And, don’t forget about your soft skills! While certain hard skills may make it easier to secure a new job, studies show that your overall career success ends up being based 75% on soft skills and 25% on hard skills. For more information, be sure to read The 4 Transferable Skills You Need to Succeed.
Your Resume Keywords
Regardless of your resume’s format, including industry-specific and role-relevant keywords can go a long way in illustrating that you are fit for the role. Perform keyword research by scanning similar job postings and company websites in your new field. Look for answers to the following:
- What common words or phrases come up again and again?
- What job requirements do these positions have in common?
Incorporating keywords into your resume that are related to the position signals that you have an understanding of the tasks associated with the role. Just be careful that you don’t misrepresent your experience. For example, if your keyword is project management and you don’t have direct experience as a project manager, you could say:
“Delivered weekly status updates to our project management office (PMO) consisting of 12 internal stakeholders.”
This statement does a great job of incorporating the keyword (project management) while highlighting your current skill set. It also provides the reader with a sense that you understand the tasks associated with the role.
Lastly, remember to give yourself grace! Planning for a job search can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to put in the work to look for a new job, but you also need to create an action plan to ensure a smooth transition. Are you ready for your next job search? Be prepared with these FOUR tips!