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How to Write a Career Transition Resume that Sells
In the gig economy which characterizes the modern job market, with opportunities flying left and right, more power of choice to the employee, and companies becoming increasingly agile, people have never switched jobs as quickly as they are now. This dynamic movement can, in turn, be a key driver of career progression by providing the experiences required to remain relevant in ever-changing industries and complex organizational contexts. The silos in which professions were once isolated are falling down, and soft skills are more transferable than ever.
Like the growing number of professionals who have already decided to make an important change in their professional life, you may be contemplating the idea of a career transition. An enhanced work-life balance, a higher salary, better development opportunities, finding a new challenge, or doing something that you are passionate about: there are plenty of good reasons to consider it.
Change can be a scary thing, but as George Addair once said, “Everything you've ever wanted is sitting on the other side of fear.” A high-quality career transition resume, prepared with care and tailored to the dream job you are seeking, can be a powerful tool to give you the confidence to make the jump.
What is a good objective for a resume when changing careers?
The starting point of our reflection should lie in this simple fact: on average, recruiters take less than thirty seconds to determine whether they will contact an applicant for a first interview. Therefore, you should see your resume as an efficient marketing tool which can quickly convince the reader that you could be the person who they are looking for. You could be tempted of explaining – or even worse, justifying – your professional experiences and achievements, rather than proudly exposing them. Remember: organizations are primarily seeking high achievers who can adapt to the constant evolution of their internal structures and requirements.
How do you describe your career transition?
You don’t, or at least not in the resume. Again, your pitch should be clear and to the point, so rather than having a transition mindset when describing your career, you should adopt a progression point of view. This is what it is: you keep moving forward and this change is a mere deviation within the ensemble that will represent your whole career. With a powerful Professional Value Proposition (PVP) and a succinct summary, you will swiftly show direct alignment with the position you are targeting, while being coherent with the rest of your resume. That means being as specific as you can in terms of your expertise and experiences, without crossing into a territory where you might be considered to lack experience. For instance, suppose that you are applying for a first role in a sector in which you have no experience. Do not mention that you would be new to this industry or try to explain why you could succeed despite this or that, which could immediately raise a flag and send the reader onto the next resume. Instead, focus on elements that will help the employer understand how you will find success in your new role.
How do you write a career transition resume?
Sir Anthony Hopkins said that to succeed at anything, you need to ‘’believe, believe, believe’’.
If you want to convince the employer that you are fit for the role, you need to believe it – and to believe it, you need to know why. You already know the reason why you want to transition, but what makes you think that will you excel in this new role? This is the story you need to piece together and cohesively present throughout your resume, and later during the interview.
What common elements unite your past and future careers?
What is irrelevant and therefore should be removed?
What should be emphasized?
Like the sculptor sees the masterpiece from the start and reveals it by merely removing the stone, having a clear idea of the story you want to tell will help you determine what will appear inside your resume. Working with a professional resume writer can represent a tremendous help in this exercise, as they are experts who will guide you in exploring your background to find the hidden gems that will set you up for success, as well as make the difficult decision of removing what brings little to no value to your career transition. More concretely:
take the time to ponder and understand exactly why you want this new role and what you bring to the table;
find and exploit the alignments between your background and the target job;
quickly get the reader’s attention with a powerful – and most importantly relevant – PVP and summary;
highlight your most impactful achievements, even if they are not perfectly aligned with the position you are targeting (as we said earlier, high achievers find a way to succeed regardless of the domain or context);
confidently tell your story in a direct and decisive manner;
think outside the box – you might have attended courses, built partnerships with organizations, or participated in events that can help you bridge the gaps that the reader could perceive.
try to bend the truth to fit what you imagine the employer’s expectations are. If you are qualified for the job, then you are; if you are not, then you are not. It is only a matter of presenting your career in a manner that helps the reader see that you are fit for the role;
evoke anything which could represent a weakness – the interview is where you will have the time to explain how you intend to overcome challenges;
encumber your impactful experiences and achievements with less relevant elements in an attempt to patch up your potential skill gaps.
Creating a resume can seem like a burden, as talking about ourselves is difficult for most of us. Professional resume writers and career coaches can help you shed new light on the accomplishments and expertise which you might have become blind to, and make your candidacy shine brighter than you thought it could. The confidence boost that an exceptional resume can give you does not only increase your odds of landing an interview, it can also help you see your true value and negotiate better conditions than you would have otherwise.
Whether you create your new resume with a team of professionals or alone, do not doubt yourself. You started your career without any experience and have grown every step of the way to get where you are now. If you can picture the success that you will find in your new role, the employer will see it too.
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