Resumes for Changing Careers

Resumes for Changing Careers

“Cindy” from California writes: “I’m trying to make a career change into training and development, moving away from my technical job. I have barely any experience. How can I write this resume?”

If you’ve ever struggled with writing a resume to make a career switch, you know how frustrating it can be.

Because you have to prove you have the right stuff to succeed in a different field. And, like Cindy, you may not have much traditional experience.

Here’s how to make Resumes for Changing Careers!

1. First, consider a half-step toward a new career.

Say you’re an accountant … who wants to be a graphic designer. You can certainly try to move straight into graphic design, but it may be hard to prove your claims based on your experience.           

The “half-step approach” is to get an accounting job at a design firm. Then, network with designers and pick their brains. Come in on weekends — with permission — and learn the software. After you’ve had a chance to learn from those on staff, ask for an internal move to a design role. Voila — you’re a designer!

2. Avoid functional resumes.

A functional resume, which usually lists “skills” or “areas of expertise,” followed by a sparse career history, is the kiss of death. Why?

It’s used by job seekers to hide something, like irrelevant experience, which is a red flag for most hiring managers.                

So, what resume style works best?

3. Try a hybrid format.

Write a resume that mixes relevant skills, achievements and paid/unpaid experience. Put your most valuable points near the beginning.        

You could lead with a tailored objective, like this:


“Position in graphic design where software skills and a strong knowledge of design principles will add value.”     

Then, add a PROFILE section. Here, describe 2-4 skills or areas of expertise you offer. These can come from anywhere — a degree you completed last year or a hobby that makes you an expert. Just be sure to prove them.      

If room allows, include a SELECTED ACHIEVEMENTS section, with 2-4 bullet points describing good things you’ve done related your target job. Include achievements from paid or volunteer work, hobbies or education, for example.  

Then include your EDUCATION/TRAINING or EXPERIENCE section, depending on which is more relevant to your new career.

So, don’t despair! You *can* change careers and land the job you’ve always wanted. Just make sure your resume makes it clear that you have the skills and desire to do that job well.

The future is in your hands.

Photo by Brad Starkey on Unsplash


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