Changing Industries, Then Changing Back

This IT pro left technology marketing to earn his fortune in real estate. Five years later, he needed a new resume to return.


Four years ago, Jan E. made what seemed like a good career move.

After 12 years working as a marketing and business development specialist at technology companies in California’s Silicon Valley, Jan, who asked that his full name not be used, decided to take advantage of the region’s rising property values and switch careers to real estate.

It was something of “a midlife crisis,” he said of the switch. “I was there in Silicon Valley sitting amongst this real-estate boom, and I decided to move my business-development skills into the real estate arena. I had a couple of really good years but also a couple of bad ones.”

As the real estate market tanked, Jan, of Cupertino, Calif., decided to return to technology marketing. He was worried the five-year absence would hurt his chances at a new job in IT, but he was able to craft a new resume that made it clear his marketing and business-development skills remained as strong as ever and that he never really left technology.

Fifteen years later

It had been nearly 15 years since Jan looked at his resume. “I rarely needed one,” he said. “I always got all of my jobs through networking and word of mouth. People knew people who knew other people, or people knew my work or my reputation.”

But this time was different: He was returning to an industry he had abandoned five years prior and at the height of a recession that pitted him against thousands of similar job seekers. He needed a resume that would get him past the front door and let his reputation earn the job.

Andrew Pearl, a certified professional resume writer who works with Ladders, helped write a resume that corrected the impression Jan had stepped away from technology.

Pearl started by making it clear that Jan never really left the field. He highlighted some high-tech work Jan had continued to do in an advisory role even while he was working in real estate.

“He took the role I’ve done over the last few years where I did some consulting in the high-tech world and applied that to my resume,” Jan said. “It blended in.”

Jan’s new resume focuses strongly on his high-tech experiences, ranging from stints with large brand name PC and device makers to consulting and advisory positions with software solution providers.

But in the end, Jan still believes in using old-fashioned shoe leather and phone calls to find a job.

“Having a great resume is great and necessary, but it doesn’t excuse the need to network and get out in front of people.”