The Fall is often a time when individuals want to update their resume for the busy Fall job search or an impending career reinvention. I am starting off this Fall with two blog posts on resume writing for career change. For those of you just updating your resume, many of the tips and techniques apply, so enjoy.
Tip One: Focus, Focus, Focus
Focus, focus, focus. That’s what you need to do when you’re undergoing a career change and want to redo your résumé. But, focus on what? Well, before you start writing your résumé, you need to focus on your new direction. You will need to determine what position you want, what industry is desirable, what location works for you, and most importantly, how you want to be perceived by a prospective employer.
Figuring out what positions and/or industries you’re targeting will give your career change résumé a focus. And, this focus will dictate what information you include, how, and where. Writing a career change résumé is all about producing an image of how you want to be perceived by a prospective employer.
For example, if you are an accountant who wants to transition to a publicity or marketing role for a nonprofit, your résumé will look different than if you were seeking another accounting role. You will need to include aspects of your current position (the marketing things you have done), volunteer experience, or professional training and translate those experiences.
More specifically, when reinventing your career, you must “reweight” the information you include on your résumé to be more relevant to your new objective. You have to translate what you have done in your past roles in such a way that a potential hiring manager immediately understands its relevancy to the position for which you are applying.
Tip 2: Do your Due Diligence
Before you write your résumé for your career reinvention, you must do your homework. That means you must do your research, online and offline, about the industry, the company, and even the potential hiring manager you might encounter.
That way, you can understand the skills and competencies your new industry or company is seeking. And, it will help you learn the language of your new field. One way of doing your homework is through informational meetings. During these sessions, you can ask about the key skills and competencies they consider to be the most important for your new role or industry.
Another method of doing your homework is to locate several job descriptions online for roles in your new industry or job function. Review them and make a list of what the companies and/or hiring managers are seeking.
You also should read professional publications and/or blogs to get a better feel for your new industry. You will then begin to understand industry jargon, and become more familiar with some of the challenges faced by the industry.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you’re ready to write your new résumé.
Tip Three: Use the Right Words
What are keywords, and why are they important when writing a career change résumé? A keyword is the foundation for how hiring managers search for and identify candidates in résumé databases.
When writing a résumé for a career reinvention, you want to be sure that your résumé is sprinkled with keywords that are relevant to your career goals and how you want to be perceived in the employment market.
Keywords should be included in the summary section at the top of the résumé. You also can include them in a bulleted format in a separate section about your competencies, strengths, capabilities, and professional qualifications.
So what exactly are some good keywords? How about : client relationship management, negotiation skills, relationship building, cross-functional collaboration, time management, or new product and service launch?
Some of these are applicable to many types of jobs, some aren’t. But, the point is you want to use the keywords that will work for your new industry … keywords that will catch a hiring manager’s eye and land you that new job.
Tip Four: Brag a Bit
Bragging a bit is a key ingredient of résumé writing, whether for a career reinvention or not. Your achievements tell the story of who you are, what motivates you, and how you have added value to previous employers.
Your résumé should be populated with strong achievements and success stories that demonstrate the various skills and attributes you would bring to a prospective employer for a new job or industry. If you are staying within your industry, your many achievements will be applicable.
It you’re looking to change your industry, or job function, you need to do more work. First, you must develop your career achievements or career success stories, but then translate them into a language that a hiring manager in a new field can understand.
When thinking about how to accomplish this, I suggest that you follow the Problem, Action, Result (PAR) format and construct your stories as follows: First come up with a problem your company faced, then describe the actions you took to solve the problem. And, finally describe the results of your efforts.
But, doing so in a more generic way shows your new company or industry you can adapt to their culture and help solve their problems.
Tip Five: Be Relevant
Don’t rule out older experiences, community service, or volunteer roles for your career change résumé. Review every possibility from your life and professional experience that could showcase the skills and experience you want a prospective employer to see.
One example is: Working on a board of a nonprofit and doing fundraising and development work can help show that you have good sales or client relationship and negotiation skills.
The same works for taking professional development or training classes or seminars. These will supplement your professional experience and show a hiring manager that you are sincerely interested in and committed to this new profession or industry.
And community service can work great to supplement your résumé. By engaging in community service work, you will show commitment, compassion, enthusiasm, and the ability to collaborate with a team to accomplish goals and objectives.
Altogether, if you have volunteer, professional development, and community service experience to add to your résumé, you will show a prospective employer that you will be a dedicated worker who strives to be the best.
To read the next five tips, click here.
To learn more, download our free ebook on career changes resumes. Click on the yellow button at the top of the page that says Sign Up Now.