You know how they say change is the only constant?
Well they’re right, and I’m sure throngs of job seekers across the US are just loving that idea [cue the sarcasm]. Truth of the matter is, in my experience working with career changers, creatives and aspiring entrepreneurs, one thing that also remains constant is the desire and motivation to find a career that resonates with who we are personally, creatively and professionally. This is the story of Gen Y, and we refuse to settle for anything less than what we feel we’re capable of, and what the world of career possibilities potentially holds for us.
I truly wish passion, romanticism, and straight-up good work ethic made the road to career satisfaction that much easier, but unfortunately it doesn’t. It’s a game of strategy, positioning, confidence and ultimately defeating your opponent (though leave the nunchucks and superpowers at home).
Career change can especially be tricky water when it comes to building a resume that efficiently markets your best transferrable skills, often in an area where you lack hand-on experience. Here are a few tips to help you get started on preparing a stellar resume as a career changer:
1. Start your resume with one heck of a branding BANG! The first sections on your resume, aside from your name & contact, should include a well-written Career Summary Statement, and a Skills/Core Competencies section. In a situation like this where you may lack relevant experience, you want to start off with your strongest branding information that tells your audience what you’re qualified to do and what you can bring to the table.
2. Don’t list every position. While it’s best to avoid huge gaps in your resume, ideally you want to list the roles that demonstrate those skills which will be directly transferrable to the new type of role or career you’re going after. Employers want to know that hiring you will be an easy transition, and they more relevant skills you can show them, the more they’ll be convinced.
3. Education, internships and volunteer work will weigh much more heavily in this situation. If your professional experience isn’t really relative, but you’ve been volunteering, taking training or additional education to segue into another career, this should also be highlighted up top, along with your summary and skills. Remember: list the most relevant information first, from top to bottom.
4. Your cover letter will be more important than ever. Even if you have transferrable skills, you will be up against candidates with transferrable skills AND relevant work experience. While the resume tells them you can do the job based on the basic skill qualifications, your cover letter is where you now need to make the connection between your professional abilities & skills, and why you really want to work for THAT particular company or industry. Culture fit is important, so tell them why you really identify with and admire the work they’re doing.
Take a deep breath, my friends. Successful career transition can be tough to navigate (and I understand – I’ve done it several times myself!) With the right tools, a stellar strategy, a clear vision of what you want, and big heaping doses of motivation and determination, that dream career is yours for the taking.