Fine tune your resume for the job you want, not the job you have.
Making a complete career change is very difficult—perhaps, that’s the reason many choose to stick to what they know, instead of finding a career that is more fulfilling or financially stable. While it has its challenges, it is not impossible to switch careers. There are several reasons you might be considering changing careers after already establishing yourself in one industry. Perhaps your dream career was always in another field, and you finally decided to pursue it. Or your current industry is waning, and you want to find an income that is more reliable and stable. Maybe you simply decided that you don’t like your job and want to see what other options are out there. Whatever you chose to do, you will most likely need to revamp your resume. This can be hard when all of your previous experience is focused on another, different field. But once again, it is not impossible.
Break out the objective.
Typically, when you are applying for jobs within your own industry, an objective is no longer relative. But, when you’re changing career paths, this isn’t the case. This is your chance to briefly and efficiently explain why you are changing career paths and what you hope to gain. This is also a good opportunity to explain what you bring to the industry with your background that they won’t find from others. It is best to do this within a sentence or two.
Focus on the new career.
So you’re looking to get a job in landscaping, but all of your experience and training is in accounting. This isn’t hopeless, there is relevant information that can be added to your resume. You want to take the focus of all of your past experience, achievements, awards, etc., and explain how what you did will transfer over into this new career field. For example, if you are an accountant, you might be good at meeting deadlines. This can translate over into the landscaping business, where you are working with customers who want projects done in a timely manner.
Highlight Outside Achievements.
In a scenario like this, it is a good idea to talk about your abilities and achievements outside of work. Here you can talk about memberships, volunteer work, internships, certificates, classes taken, etc. Anything that is relevant to the job for which you are applying. If you are trying to get a business or sales position, then the company will want someone who is good at working with customers and communicating effectively. If you ever took a Toastmasters course, this is the time to mention it.
Keep it short.
You may want to try and build up your resume or pad it to make yourself seem like a more viable candidate. This would be a mistake. A hiring manager doesn’t want to see irrelevant information or accomplishments that have nothing to do with the current position. Keep your resume down to one page. Briefly talk about the positions held, and write short blurbs about your accomplishments. Make sure all of the information you present is meaningful.
What Sets You Apart?
You want to think long and hard about what quality or skill you have that you can showcase to a hiring manager. You want this to be a quality that most people in the field wouldn’t have, something only you have because of your career and educational background. Maybe your current/previous career had a very strong focus on deadlines, so much so that every task you did depended on how fast you could get it done. Now translate this over to your new career. Will this be helpful? Will you have more discipline with deadlines than the typical employee?
Don’t Forget The Cover Letter.
So now you have a few ideas about revamping your resume, but what about the cover letter —does that need to change, too? Absolutely! You want to address that you’re not the typical candidate. You don’t want to say that you don’t have the experience the company is looking for. That just gives the hiring manager an easy excuse to toss your resume. Instead, be open about the issue. Mention how you are switching career paths, and talk about the skills you currently have that will translate over into this new career. Be positive.