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Your Resume for Career Change

It is estimated that the average person changes careers more than five times in their life.  The decision to take a different path is a courageous one and it can lead you to a more fulfilling and meaningful career.  However, if you're switching careers, you'll need to make BIG changes to your resume and this can be a little overwhelming.  Here are a few tips that will help you modify your resume so that it supports the new direction that you plan to take:    

Emphasize your education.  If your education is more closely related to your target job than your work experience, then go ahead and list it first.  By highlighting your education, you are helping the employer understand why you are making this transition and how you are qualified for the job.   

Use the language of your new industry.  Employers may not understand how the responsibilities and accomplishments from your previous position relate to your target job.  You need to translate your skills and experience using their terminology.  Familiarize yourself with the industry language by reading industry publications, attending industry events, joining relevant social media groups and by talking to people in your network.  Include industry specific language in your resume whenever possible.  

Include a summary of qualifications.  Although most employers prefer chronological resumes, it may not be your best option when you are making a career change.  You can have the best of both worlds by including a summary of qualifications where you can highlight your transferable skills.  This is where you are making your case that you are a perfect fit for the job.  Include six or seven of your most relevant skills, experiences, and accomplishments.  If you can, try to use the key words that were used in the job posting.   

Don't forget your cover letter.  When you are changing careers, it may not be obvious to the employer that you are a great fit for the job.  In your cover letter, you can clearly make the connection between your skills, experiences and the requirements of the position.  It is also a great opportunity for you to explain why you are changing careers as it may be something that employers will want to know. 

Remove the information that you don't need.   When you are making a career change, you will need to get rid of a lot of the details about your old career.  Any information that is not relevant to your target job is distracting and should be removed.  Remember, your resume is a marketing document, not an inventory of your experience.  

There is no magic formula for writing your resume for your career change.  The key is to determine what the employer needs and how your skills and experience make you the perfect candidate.  It's not easy to make a career change, but if you can show that your skills are transferable and you are a good fit for the organizational culture, you may find an employer that is willing to take a chance on you.   


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