𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗼 𝗪𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗮 𝗥𝗲𝘀𝘂𝗺𝗲 𝗥𝗲𝗰𝗿𝘂𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗛𝗶𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗠𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗴𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗔𝗽𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗲 + 𝗦𝗮𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲
✅ The resume needs to be logical first and foremost. If the reader is wrinkling their forehead, you’ve lost the initial battle.
✅ With this said, have a target in mind and build your messaging around this target. Have a vision of your dream job. Think of your job drivers. What’s important to you? Time, money, benefits, 401(k)s, location, product offerings, company image, culture, values, progressive versus traditional setting, remote versus on-location, passionate project opportunities, etc. Each is different for each person. What motivates you? What’s your passion? What can you do that will make you happy in 2 weeks, 3 months, or a year? The candidate should research his or her new career field/job target! 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. Read trade journals of major industry players to stay on top of insights in your space.
✅ Be realistic in what you can achieve. While taking chances and risks are a good thing, do not over-stretch yourself into a role you simply are not a fit for (yet). What industry do you want to live in, and in what role? Be specific in what you want, clarify it, write it down, consume knowledge of it, live it. Recruiters cannot help you if you nor they know what you want to do. Most people have skills and experience that can transfer nicely to another industry or job. The key is knowing how those skills reasonably transfer, and what sort of value they bring to the prospective employer. The challenge is that most are unsure of how their skills are exchangeable for other duties. If you’re an accomplished professional, it’s best to use actual methodologies, processes, skills, or technologies relating directly to the open job description and your experience. These are good ideas for those greener candidates. Also, opt for free experiential learning like internships. Work freelance projects for friends, neighbors, etc., and continuously build your portfolio, skills, and competencies.
✅ Back to the resume – next, make sure it has optimized keywords, quantifiable content (even if there are no metrics, but metrics are preferred), and a format/layout that adheres to applicant tracking system mandates. Think about quantifiable content and write it pragmatically. Also, stick to brevity while making those bottom-line accomplishments shine. Again, as long as you aren’t wrinkling the readers’ foreheads (I love this visual, LOL) when they’re reviewing your resume, you’ve done your job…now if you match the qualifications, it’s interview time!
✅ The key to standing out among the competition is to ensure you set the tone in the first top half of the resume with what you want and what you offer, any key buzzwords that speak to your abilities to transition into those new roles seamlessly, and any transferable skills and accomplishments that directly relate to this new role. Make sure to not write your experience as task-based, but rather quantifiable and bottom-line driven. This will make sure you are letting the employers know that you are concerned with what they are concerned with — either making them money or saving them money.
✅ My best advice for candidates dealing with career shifts is to identify their relevance in terms of value to a prospective employer, internalize what their passions are and some transferable skills and accomplishments to relay to hiring managers, a solid resume, and some email communication templates (or cover letter), and a lot of patience and willpower. A good rule of thumb for the early career job hunter seeking a new role in a new industry is to identify your transferable skills and portray those first on your LinkedIn profile and resume.
✅ Have a solid summary upfront mentioning your ability to transfer seamlessly into the new role based on your previous experience and education. Make sure to incorporate key buzzwords/skills that you offer and that the new role will mandate. Utilize some accomplishments after your skills and summary sections (maybe around 4-7 sentences) including any courses you’ve taken that transfer over to the new role. For instance, a teacher trying to transfer into corporate/marketing may be able to discuss training, performance reviews, and documentation handling. Maybe some sentences communicate his or her ability to handle branding and advertising from some tasks he or she completed in school. Try to keep it relevant though, without too much fluff, hiring manager and recruiters are sharp and can see through a lot of the fluff. If I am reading a resume, I am concerned about the candidate’s credentials, qualifications, and work history.
✅ Since the summary is the first section that a hiring manager sees, you want it to make the most positive impression possible. This is a major part of your messaging! WOW them! I have a few comments that will help you make yours even better. The Summary should be made up of 3-5 sentences (written in one paragraph) that capture the best of what you have to offer an employer. Consider it your “elevator pitch,” or what you would say if you had 30 seconds to sell yourself for a job. Here’s how I would break it down:
Sentence 1 (Who You Are): Overview statement including years of experience and career focus.
Sentence 2-3 (What You Can Achieve): Results you can accomplish for a company.
Sentence 4-5 (How You Can Achieve It): Your unique skill sets or areas of expertise.
✅ Make sure you follow the rules of a tightly written, well summarized, brevity is a key resume with quantifiers and strong action verbs. It’s important to stand out amongst the ocean of competition.
✅ Next, 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 the 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.
✅ I think the resume’s format is 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. PAR allows for a bottom-line-driven, quantifiable statement, even if it does not have a metric (saved time, reduced waste, drove profitability, streamlined efficiency, etc) It draws eyeballs to the important transferable items first. I stick to the 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.
✅ I stick to a professional format because it draws attention to the content, remains professional for hiring managers, it works, and most importantly, prevents you and your information from getting jumbled in an ATS, and deemed not readable.
✅ Also layout…here is the proper layout (in order) in case you want to shift things around some:
Contact information (name, email, phone, city/state)
Key skills/technical aptitude
✅ You may add a little color, without overdoing it, and this is used by use resume writers as a great technique (dark gray, gray, or dark blue are always acceptable). The reason for this suggestion is the use of color draws the readers’ eye to the color. Research shows reviewers typically only spend a few seconds looking at a resume, particularly at an initial glance. When I first look at the document, it draws my eyes to the margins, but there’s no content there. Instead, I’d rather the reader immediately be drawn to key content that you want to highlight.
✅ 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. Try to understand this when developing your resume – it must make it easy for the readers to understand your value so you aren’t lost after the initial 6-second eye test.
✅ The hiring process is selective for a reason — it’s time-consuming and costs a lot of money and resources from sourcing, recruiting, and interviewing to background checks, reference checks, drug tests, and finally training. A lot is involved so it’s crucial they get it right. That means, showing them you care about their time. And their money! Show them you offer this value that they can use in this open requisition. Why is it open? What pains do they have because it’s open? Once you can hone in on that, you can start to massage in key-value- and accomplishments-based content that makes your resume pop and motivates these decision-makers to invite you in for an interview.
Here is a sample resume as well:
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