A career change simply means you switch to a different career field. For example, you have worked as a graphic designer but recently looking to be a social media specialist.
According to Vista College, the reasons for career transition may include company downsizing, restructuring or closing, possible job relocation, issues with colleagues and/or managers, personal interests, etc.
Seeking new jobs for career shifters has never been an easy journey, especially competing with experienced applicants in the field.
Don't panic—let's start with writing a resume for a career change that emphasizes your relevant experience and transferable skills to convince the hiring manager.
Check out our resume tips for career changes to land the job you target.
5 steps to polish a resume for a job change
Step 1: Refer to online career change resume examples.
Reviewing resume examples recommended by HR experts not only gives you a comprehensive guide on resume writing but also helps you generate your own ideas.
Besides, career change resume examples can help you learn the differences between resumes for entry-level and senior professionals.
Step 2: Draft a well-branded resume headline.
A resume headline is a professional title that you label yourself, stated in a short line. The headline for your career transition resume should include your desired role and transferable skills and experience to seize the employer’s attention.
When clearly written, they can see whether your profession is relevant or suitable for the new position. For example, you might not have experience in marketing, but you have experience managing budgets, which is also relevant to a marketing role.
Examples of resume headlines for a career changer:
Dynamic Marketing Specialist with 5 years of experience managing big budgets.
Business Analyst adept at budgeting, financial forecasting, and modeling tools.
Experienced Professional with a solid background in software engineering and programming.
Step 3: Compile a professional resume summary for career changes.
It's incredibly important to draft a strong resume statement for a career change. With such a great kickstart, you can effectively introduce yourself to the employer, demonstrating your transferable skills, professional experience and achievements in the last jobs.
A professional summary statement can also set the tone for the rest of your career switch resume.
Career change resume summary examples:
Dedicated and goal-driven professional with 10 years of taking over multiple positions in the Sales and Marketing Department. Certified Digital Marketing Specialist with a Master of Business Administration degree. Familiar with multiple industries, including but not limited to fashion, tourism, technology, and education.
Certified Professional in Human Resources highly proficient in HR databases, hiring procedure, and employee termination. Proven success in developing team building programs, and compiling personnel manuals, corporate policies, and job descriptions. Excellent communication, interpersonal, and negotiation skills.
Sales Professionals with 5 years of working in the insurance industry. Comprehensive knowledge of insurance products and services. Exceptional communications, Sales, and Customer Service skills.
Step 4: Highlight transferable skills in the career changer resume.
For regular resumes, you will need to list technical skills (also known as hard skills) as based on that, the employer can evaluate your qualification for the opening job. However, as a career shifter, transferable skills matter the most! In your career change resume, you have to show them that you're a quick learner and possess relevant and same-but-different skills to thrive in the new position.
Examples of the skill section for a career changer's resume:
Respectful and friendly, contributing to a positive work environment.
Actively listen to feedback from customers, co-workers, and managers to improve work performance.
Be able to identify the underlying issues and define the obstacles.
Weigh up the risk to come up with appropriate solutions.
Work effectively in a group of 8 HR assistants and generalists.
Stay focused towards the ultimate goal, knowing how to assign work properly and delegating tasks to the right members.
To make sure that your career change resume is correctly written and flawless, go through every detail upon the text and formatting.
Numerous research has revealed that almost 60% of resumes have been submitted with poor spelling and grammar mistakes.
How to adopt the right resume format for a career changer?
For those writing a resume for a career change, the functional or combinational format is the ideal choice.
Functional resume format:
This format makes your career changer resume a skill-based resume, focusing on your skillset instead of work history.
You not only list your transferable skills but also demonstrate them in detail, even better if you endow them with specific job responsibilities and achievements.
💡 Tip: You can refer to many great examples of functional resumes for career changers online, or our career change resume sample at the end of this article.
Combinational resume format:
This format allows you to bring up a lot of information without taking up much space.
If you’re a career shifter with extensive work experience in the past, opt for this format to demonstrate both your skills and experience. Note that the skills section should be placed above the work experience section.
The layout of a combinational resume should include standard sections like:
How to create a resume template for a career changer?
Creating a well-organized resume template for a career change is an important step for a job-winning resume. There are two common tools that can assist you effectively: Microsoft Word and online resume builders such as CakeResume.
All you need to do is select the theme you like, then drop the text and re-organize the layout if necessary.
However, online resume builders are becoming favored by resume writers and recruiters for the following reasons:
There is a rich selection of built-in resume templates that are designed for all kinds of jobs/professions.
The format is ATS-compliant (avoid special symbols, tables, or graphs).
The resume can be saved and downloaded as a PDF.
CakeResume provides the best career changer resume templates & examples for talents to demonstrate their qualifications.
5 dos and 5 dont's for the best resume for a career change
Tailor your career switch resume to the specific job. This is all about drawing the shortest line between your qualifications and what's stated in the job description. While you have experiences that might look irrelevant from the opening, prioritize the most relevant ones and customize your career transition resume to prove that you can fit into the new job.
Put measurable achievements on your career change resume. As a career changer, what you have done in the past is different from what you want to become. Nevertheless, don't hesitate to add quantifiable accomplishments in your resume to demonstrate your competencies and success in previous roles.
Analytical skills: Gathered a database of 150 new clients on a monthly basis.
Optimize your career change resume for ATS. ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is a tool used by many companies for their hiring process. Two key elements to an ATS-friendly resume are including job-specific keywords and using a parsable format.
Add extra sections to beef up your career changer resume. It could be a plus for you to bring up more information in your career change resume, for example:
Send along with a career changer cover letter. A cover letter is crucial for career changers as it can explain your motives and convince the hiring manager to offer you the opportunity. Start your career changer cover letter with a brief self-introduction, the employer's name, and the position you're applying for. Explain why you want to transition and show why you're a perfect fit.
Mix up a resume with a CV. Many people mistake a resume with a CV. In fact, they are different in length, purpose, content, and layout. A resume for job change demonstrates relevant information for the specific position whereas a CV presents all details regarding professional and academic experience.
Use an outdated resume objective statement. As a career switcher, you might have to compete with a lot of professionals who have stayed in the field for a while. So, a strong objective statement can help you win the interview! When well-written, it states your career goals and shows your determination to step into a new industry.
Example of a resume objective for career changers:
Looking to utilize my great administration and customer service skills to deliver the best performance as a Hotel Receptionist at Vinpearl Hotel & Resort.
Disclose confidential information about previous employers. Taboo number 3: Never reveal confidential information related to the previous jobs, such as clients’ names, confidentiality agreements, business financial reports, etc. This not only violates NDA (Non-disclosure Agreement) but also means that you lack professionalism and credibility.
Include personal details concerning discrimination. In addition to confidential information, you're not supposed to include information that might lead to discrimination such as identifying information (weight, height), race, religion, political affiliation, age, sexual orientation, marital status, etc.
Send the resume as a Word doc. A career changer resume in Word file may cause readers a lot of issues regarding font, formatting, or presentation if they use an incompatible device. Hence, a career change resume pdf file is more recommended by most recruiters.
Career change resume sample
Customer Service Assistant with 3 years of experience dealing with customer inquiries, purchases, and complaints.
Active and goal-oriented Professional with experience in corporate office settings, offering excellent customer service, analytical, and communication skills. Able to work well either independently or in a team, quickly adapt to new work environments, and work on multiple tasks to achieve company goals.
Customer Service Assistant, Alliance Inc. | Denver, CO 1/2018 - 1/2021
Customer Service Employee of the Year 2020
Customer service skills
Attentive to the feedback from customers.
Remain patient and spend extra time with customers to understand their problems and needs.
Answer 30+ incoming calls to resolve issues with both customers and the Sales department.
Have a deep knowledge of how the company products work.
Input and analyze all customer data on a daily basis.
Research 10+ competitors to suggest relevant promotional events.
Keep the communications with customers clear and smooth.
Represent the needs and thoughts of customers to the company.
Carleton College - Owatonna, MN Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
With the intention of helping job seekers to fully display their value, CakeResume creates an accessible free resume/CV/biodata builder, for users to build highly-customized resumes. Having a compelling resume is just like a piece of cake!