How to Transition Your Resume For Your New Career

Skylar Wooden and Katie Butler

September 24, 2017

Like college majors, careers aren’t a concrete decision. You may wake up one day, walk out the door to go to work, and realize that you want a new path. Great! Congrats on your exciting new career potential.

The realization that you are ready to move on to the next chapter in your life is a big one; not to mention that it’s a brave step. Now that we’ve celebrated your new journey, let’s talk about obstacles. Not to deter you, but to give you the tools you need to pass those obstacles without batting an eye.

We’re talking about one obstacle in particular: your resume.

How do you transition your resume to work for any potential career you may choose? Like always, we’re glad you asked…

Identify skills for your new career in past experiences

Think about what you do on a daily basis. Really think about it. You don’t want to miss any transferable skills. Just because you aren’t being paid to do something does not mean that those skills don’t matter.

For example, If you coordinate donations for a non-profit that you work with, that is a transferable skill. You are participating in development and client communication. Make sure to highlight that skill if the new position prompts for it.

Paid professional experience is not the only way to gain skills. Look at your experience as a whole.

Change the wording of your profile

What you say matters, how you say it matters more. How you distinguish your qualifications can shed new light on your abilities. Think of your profile as a small presentation of what you would say to a recruiter in three sentences.

To start, ask yourself the following:

  • What makes me stand out from another person with the same qualifications?
  • What is important for the recruiter to know about me?
  • What can I offer this company that will help them reach their goals?

The Balance website is a good resource when writing profiles and has great examples:

Update references who can speak to skills in your new career choice

References aren’t as straightforward as they may seem. The original thought is to choose three people who will speak highly of you. Contrary to that belief, you should choose people who can speak to your skills within that industry.

Think outside of professors and your supervisors. Good references can come from certain programs you did in college, organizations you’re part of, or volunteer programs you’ve participated in. Use the people who can speak to the skills you’ll be using in the job you’re applying for.

Pro tip: Always remember to ask the person first, before listing them on your resume as a reference.

Use the functional resume to your advantage

We constantly preach the functional resume. The reason for that is because you aren’t applying for jobs; you’re applying for a position. Not every company will be the same and not every position will be the same.

It is your job to identify what skills and abilities the position needs and to present yourself in the best way possible. Unless you’ve been in the same industry for 10+ years, your reverse-chronological work history won’t show you at your best.

See also: Why a Functional Resume Will Land You the Interview

Add relevant courses under education

How did you decide to change your career path? An online class maybe? Did you take a class back in college that sparked your interest? Now is the time to add it back to your resume.

This will help the recruiter see that although you don’t have specific experience, you have learned these skills in an educational setting.

Pro tip: Add specific courses and numbers so that the recruiter can see what level the course is and can see its official name.

Ask for help

We have guides, a template, and numerous articles about resumes as free resources for you on our website. We are also here to review your resume and talk you through how to present yourself for your next job search.

For $50, you get an hour of our time, a list of edits to make to your resume, and a final review. To take advantage of this service, hop over to our services page and choose a time you’d like to do your resume review. We use an online scheduler to make it easy for you to see when we’re available and how that will work with your schedule.

Your transition to your next career can be smooth. Your resume is the key to new beginnings.

Did you recently transition your resume to a new career? Tell us what you learned.

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