How To Get a Jump on Your Job Search
First and foremost, you will need a new resume that is packed with qualifications proving you as a competitive candidate. Think of a layout including a summary, key skills/buzzwords, key contributions, experience section, education/certifications, and affiliation/volunteerism. Make sure that the experience section demonstrates your value in terms of bottom-line. Show the hiring manager you care about their company’s money. If you need to, use transferable skills!
What are transferable skills and how important are they when writing a career change resume? Think of these skills in terms of what you are currently doing at your job that can relate to what you would be doing in the new role. Key proficiencies that can help the hiring manager see your ability to slide into the role with minimal training. It’s important to have these skills displayed on your resume to demonstrate your fit into the new role, showcase your keywords so you are being discovered by the hiring team in their respective applicant tracking systems, and help win over the readers to receive that interview request you’re hoping for initially.
Should they candidate research their new career field/job before writing the resume? Absolutely you need to do your research. You need to get a feel for the way the industry and respective companies function in the world, the services they provide to others, and the types of jobs out there in that industry that could pose as a potential new career. I love using Google News, Google alerts, Salary.com, Glassdoor, Indeed and LinkedIn to uncover industry and job research. Using this research can be a good way to spot industry and job keywords (for the core competencies and summary sections), role responsibilities (for the experience section), and important transferable contributions (for the accomplishments section) for inclusion on your resume.
Is there anything the jobseekers need to look out for? I think you need to ensure that any buzzwords you leave on the resume best transfer over into the new field/role. Leave off non-transferable acronyms especially if they could potentially bog down the reader’s flow when reviewing your resume. You also need to look out for continuing education opportunities. Seek out academic programs that can help train and prepare you for your new role. Find some new career job openings and the minimal qualifications in each, identify the possible credentials you may need to better position yourself in this new role, and find online institutions that you can acquire these credentials, and list them onto your resume. Also, find membership groups and industry networking opportunities…this is a wonderful place to gather knowledge from industry pros who can help explain the nuances of your new role.
Is there a certain format that works well? I think it’s unique to each candidate’s background, but I do see a majority of career changers utilizing a combinational resume over the other two types. This is because it allows for the writer to position your skills, qualifications, credentials and PAR (problem-action-result) impact statements for the experience section a lot more competitively than a traditional resume format. It draws eyeballs to the important transferable items first. I stick to traditional format when the client has a solid work history. A shaky work history usually means a functional resume format to help offset some of the red flags.
What mistakes do jobseekers often make on their resumes? Leaving on irrelevant information, red flags like gaps in employment or lack of metrics, or not communicating his or her unique value proposition effectively to help improve his or her chances of being selected for an interview by a hiring manager.
What platforms should they focus on? I find that Indeed and LinkedIn are the two best platforms online these days. I would setup job alerts on Indeed so once a role is posted that you’re targeting, you will receive an email and ability to apply sooner than other candidates. It’s key to get in as early as possible before you fall to the bottom of the pile of resumes.
What strategy has worked for you? Networking online and utilizing free resources like local career coaches, recruiters and government-sponsored career resource centers. Get your name out there in your targeted area, because you never know who might pass your information along to someone hiring.
Any other tips? Boiling it down, think about your situation from the hiring manager’s point of view. He or she has to be pulled aside from their day-to-day at the end of the workday to review resumes and fill an open requisition. An open requisition that is either costing them money or not making them money by leaving it vacant. When they find an ideal candidate, sometimes it’s more of a cultural fit if they know they can train someone rather quickly. So trust that if it’s supposed to happen, it will. If not, keep looking for opportunities in this new space. Maybe volunteer with a group, offer a company to work for free so you can learn the ropes, or join an online forum and start engaging with individuals in that industry to gain more learning. It comes down to ‘will you make money for the new company or cost them money?’ Work hard to be the former, it will carry you farther. Prove you can do the job, and a good job at that.
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