How to Write a Resume When You’re Changing Careers
The global pandemic has wreaked havoc on several industries, notably retail and hospitality, while others are considering changing careers during this period of uncertainty and fear. The good news is that companies are hiring, but the bad news is that competition is considerably stiffer. And if you are changing careers – also known as a career pivot, that means that you don’t have much – if any – experience that will resonate with new employers.
Your resume has just become a problem. Let’s say that you are a teacher, and you want to leave the classroom. You see a post for a position as an account relationship manager for a software company. On the plus side, teachers use a lot of software, and having to balance the needs of students, parents and administrators means that you’re experienced in relationship management. However, your entire resume is devoted to class size, pedagogical theory, subjects taught and where you taught them. How does your resume help you snag an interview at the software company?
By crafting a compelling summary of your qualifications at the very top of your resume, you can explain what I’ve discussed above, emphasizing those software skills. And if the software company happens to develop EdTech products, you have a better than reasonable shot at being considered. When listing professional experience, don’t go into much detail about teaching; just include enough to demonstrate the scope of your experience. Towards the bottom of your resume (right above your educational credentials) include a section titled “Software,” and list every app you’re familiar with.
You can use this strategy when changing careers regardless of the career you want to leave and the career you want to pivot towards. The key is to think like the person who will be reading your resume and focus entirely on what that person will find relevant. This means that despite the many things you’ve done for which you are justifiably proud, you may need to leave some of them off the resume.
The emphasis, then, needs to be on the summary of qualifications. This is where you make the case for why you should be considered. In fact, it’s what you’d probably write in a cover letter, if cover letters were a document that actually got read.
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