When it’s time for something new, you’ll need a new resume that will get you noticed by employers in your target industry.
You’ve decided to switch gears with your career and transition to a . Congratulations! Making the decision to tackle such a significant shift takes serious courage.
But as exciting as this time is, it also comes with a lot of questions and doubts: Will you be able to compete with industry veterans? Will potential employers discount you because of your lack of relevant experience? How can you position yourself as attractive and impressive to recruiters despite your background?
These are serious considerations. But chances are, you have good reasons for changing your career path. You likely have something to offer potential employers in the new field. You know your past experience ties into new potential jobs — you just have to help recruiters recognize that.
Your resume will be one of your most important tools when transitioning to a new industry. ( to tweet this quote.) With careful editing, you can highlight your greatest strengths and accomplishments that will impress potential employers in any field. Here are five tips to get started.
1. Start with some soul-searching
Think long and hard about why you’ve decided to . Are you drawn to do something more meaningful with your life? Do you feel your skills are being underutilized in your current field? Do you want to make more money? Or maybe you’re just bored?
You probably have a lot of reasons, but there’s just one that’s absolutely essential: You think you’ll be good at the new job. You feel you have something positive to bring to the table. If that factor isn’t coming into play, you’ll have a hard time positioning yourself as an attractive candidate to employers.
If it is, recognizing your strengths is the first step toward selling yourself in a new field.
2. Pinpoint key qualifications of the new position
As with any job you’re applying for, read the job description carefully and recognize the that seem most important. Proficiency with certain software, strong management skills, and an understanding of basic trade knowledge are just a few factors that might be non-negotiable. Do you have them? Great. Now you’ve got to communicate that to recruiters.
Are you lacking in some departments? Better to focus on what you do have and, in the meantime, take the initiative and do what you can to fill in your gaps.
3. Highlight your transferable skills
Maybe you’ve spent years working as a and you feel called to move into PR. Or you want to switch from working in sales to teaching elementary school. What have you learned in your former industry that you can apply to your new one? You may have to stretch to make a connection, but you may also find you can offer some skills or a perspective that industry veterans don’t commonly have.
For instance, a journalist can bring a useful perspective to a PR firm that puts a lot of effort into pitching ideas to the media. Figure out which of your skills will transfer to the new industry, and be sure to highlight them.
4. Be selective
A resume that was highly impressive to hiring managers in your former industry may not even inspire a second glance in a new field. Jobs and qualifications that were once considered swoon-worthy are now completely irrelevant.
Does that mean you should start from scratch? Not at all — but you do need to do some serious trimming and rearranging. If a particular job or detail of that job is irrelevant to the position you’re applying for — meaning you can’t even stretch to find a connection — consider taking it off of your resume. At the very least, downplay it and replace it with something more pertinent.
5. Show off your industry smarts
Even if you’re a newbie to the industry, you can still show you’re in the know. Read trade journals, industry blogs and follow influencers on social media to get a sense of the industry’s vocabulary. Then, make an effort to include key terms and phrases in your resume to show you speak the language.
Switching to a new career can be intimidating, but with a well-written resume in hand, you’ll not only be able to compete with other candidates, you’ll actually stand out from the crowd. Recruiters will recognize and appreciate when you have confidence in your talents, and, if all goes well, you’ll be lining up interviews in no time.
Michelle Kruse has over 10 years of hiring and recruiting experience and a background in coaching and leadership development. At , Michelle recruits and hires resume writers, provides training and ongoing support, manages strategic partnerships, and serves as a subject matter expert on the job search process.