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How To Write A Resume When Making A Career Change

Tip: Target Everything For The Role You Want

Career Change Resume | Career Change CV | How to make a stand out career change resume | + Example

This section is contributed by: Sarah Johnston Former Recruiter, Executive Resume Writer, and Job Search Coach at

When writing a resume for a career change, its important to target your resume for the role that you want. I recommend finding a few job descriptions that interest you and scanning for keywords and themes. Use the target job title or skill set in the header to frame the resume.

The Ladders did an eye tracking study that found that recruiters and hiring managers only spend 7.4 seconds scanning a resume before deciding to pass or read more. The heat map showed that better performing resumes have keywords at the top to immediately draw the eye.

Attached is the top of a career changer sample resume. This hypothetical job seeker is wanting to transition from an account manager role to being an executive assistant. The resume plays up her transferable skills and includes a header that references the job that she wants.

As a former corporate recruiter, I am not a fan of functional resumes. Recruiters are taught to scan resumes chronologically. When you take the experience out of context or order, it often gives the recruiter the impression you are trying to hide or fudge experience.

Heres An Example Used For A Network Engineers Resume:

But dont you think it can be used for a career change resume in sales or business development, too?

PRO TIP: Prove your competence in these skills by adding quantifiable achievements.

Communication, organization, and time-management skills are just a few of the soft-skills you can quantify by asking the question How many? when thinking about your tasks.

Visit our library for more visually appealing resume templates with a skills section.

Examples of quantified skills for a career change resume:

  • Organization: Organize and follow-up with 15 leads that contacted us through our website for a quote
  • Time management: Completed sales presentation for major client 1 week ahead of schedule

Show The Benefits Of The Career Transition

Consider illustrating how your previous experience can benefit your coveted role, even though it’s in a different industry. You can show the hiring manager you can bring a unique perspective to the team. For instance, if you’re pursuing a position as an academic adviser, you might explain how your 10 years of experience in mental health counseling can help you better address students’ needs. Positioning different employment or education background as beneficial can also distinguish you from other candidates, making your resume more memorable.

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Career Change Resume: Examples And Tips From Experts

If you want to change careers, youre going to need a great resume to show employers why they should take a chance on you.

You need to convince them that youll succeed in their role, even if youve done different work in the past.

And while you can do some of this convincing in the job interview, you arent going to get interviews if your resume or CV isnt great, too, so it all starts here!

Dont worry if this sounds intimidating this article has everything you need to write an effective resume for career change

I spoke to multiple professional resume writers, coaches, and other experts and put together this list of resume tips for career changers, as well as real-life examples of resumes that got interviews.

Heres what you need to know

Create A List Of Your Career Goals

Resume Career Summary Or Objective

When changing careers, your resume objective demonstrates how your previous experiences align with your current goals. For example, your goals might be to leverage specific skills or pursue a passion of yours. Doing this provides context about your professional development to the hiring manager that they might not get from your work history on its own. To prepare to write your objective, you should first draft a list of goals for your career change. Identify the goals that are most relevant to the position you are applying toyou will use those in your resume objective.

Also Check: How Many References Should You Include In Your Resume

Choosing The Best Career Change Resume Format

A big part of creating an effective resume is choosing the right resume format to tell your story with.

You need to structure your resume in a way that best shows your transferable skills and experience.

And when it comes to switching careers, the combination resume format does that best.

Heres why:

This format places equal emphasis on skills and important work experience.

This way, you can show you have the right industry transferable skills, even if you havent had the actual job title.

The format is ideal for people:

  • Making a career change with transferable skills or work experience.
  • With some employment gaps.
  • With a diverse range of skills and experience.
  • Applying to both creative and traditional roles.

And heres what you include within this format:

  • Contact information
  • Certification
  • Projects

Now, were going to go over each of those sections and explain how to write them step-by-step.

Heres what you need to know:

Write An Objective Statement

An objective statement on your functional resume can help you showcase the skills you have that align with a new position. In two or three sentences, briefly explain the new position you’re seeking and describe any relevant experience or skills you have.

Aim to include at least three transferrable skills you can bring to the new position, such as technical proficiency or communication skills. Explain how your past experience has prepared you to work in a new field. Including this statement on your functional resume can encourage the employer to continue reviewing it, even if you have limited related experience.

Read more:How To Write a Career Change Resume Objective

Also Check: Word 2016 Resume Templates

Summarize Yourself As A Go

You might want to describe yourself with adjectives like well-rounded or versatile. And it doesn’t hurt to mention that you’re changing careers, especially if you have some pretty stellar transferable skills and training/certifications that give you a boost as a viable candidate. Here’s an example of a summary you might use at the top of your resume if you’re switching to a job in IT security:

Highlight Your Unique Qualities


Stand out by showcasing your strongest personal qualities. These qualities should be relevant to the job and demonstrate why you are a good employee and coworker. You may be able to gather inspiration on which qualities to include through the job description. Consider highlighting these qualities by using them when introducing yourself. For example, “Self-motivated software engineer seeking…”

Some other examples of common positive attributes are:

  • Dedicated

Related:Character Traits: Definition and Examples

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Use A Hybrid Format For Your Career Change Resume

Most resumes use the reverse-chronological format. Your contact information is at the top, followed by a summary and your employment history.

Starting with your current or most recent position and walking backward through time, this format plainly shows recruiters exactly where youve been.

Unfortunately, not everyone can afford or are lucky enough to stay in the same company for 10, 15, or even 20 years.

For these candidates, a linear trip down their professional memory lane isnt the best way to explain their career trajectory.

A combination or hybrid format is your ally in this situation because it shows your transferable skills first followed by relevant work experience.

Check out Enhancvs resume builder to see how you can create a hybrid resume that will highlight your skills.

Well discuss how to write relevant work experience for a career change resume in a bit.

Tip 7 Dont Fear The Qualification Gaps

For candidates from unrelated professional backgrounds, there will be qualification gaps. However, keep in mind that few job candidates meet 100% of every single desired qualification. Many employers would rather hire someone whos an 80-90% fit, but has great enthusiasm and willingness to learn.

So dont be intimidated at the thought of being less than 100% qualified. Focus on showing your strengths and abilities in the most compelling way possible. Your enthusiasm and bravery in switching fields will come through in your cover and resume, and lead you straight to the interview.

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The Resume Format Is Consistent

There are an endless number of formats people choose for their resumes. The key is to be consistent with details like capitalization, numbers, dates, and abbreviations. For example, if you spell out a state in one job role, don’t abbreviate it in another. When it comes to making a first impression with your resume, it’s all about the details. A resume that has consistent formatting and is free of grammatical errors will look more polished and professional.

Highlight Your Transferable Job Skills

How to Write the Perfect Resume to Make a Career Change ...

Remember that as a career changer, your main objective is to convince a hiring manager that you’d be a good fit for a position, even if you don’t have much actual full-time job experience in a particular field. By highlighting your transferable and relevant skills at the beginning of your resume, you’ll focus hiring managers’ attention away from the fact that you’re a newbie in the field and toward the fact that you do have skills that will prove useful in the position.

For instance, here’s how you might present some of your transferable skills if you’re applying for an IT support role when you’ve worked in marketing for the past several years:

Professional Skills

  • Communication Successfully managed and communicated key objectives to two teams of offsite workers while maintaining a 95% employee retention rate
  • Problem Solving Identified technical issues with email marketing campaigns and suggested solutions that increased email open rates by 20%
  • Resourcefulness Cut direct mail marketing costs by 40% after locating and switching to a new, in-state vendor
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    Here’s The First Template:

    Ex- transitioning into an role after and . Diverse experience , and . Over 5 years of experience managing global teams of 5-20 people and working with C-Suite executives. .

    This template quickly summarizes the achievements you most want to highlight while remaining concise. Here are a couple of examples of what that template can look like in action.

    How To Add Your Contact Information The Right Way

    Your contact information is arguably the most important part of your resume.

    Even if youre the most qualified person in the world, its not going to matter much if you misspell your email and the HR manager cant contact you.

    So, heres what you should include in this section:

    • First name, last name
    • Phone number – Make sure to include your country code if youre applying outside your country.
    • Email address – Something professional like .
    • Location – The company needs to know if youre located in the region or if they may have to sponsor your relocation.
    • Title – Either your current professional title or your new desired one. Wed recommend including the job title youre applying for word-for-word.

    Once youre done, wed recommend that you double-check, even triple-check everything. You wouldnt want to miss your chances of landing the job because of a typo, would you?

    Pro Tip

    • Got an online portfolio? You can also mention the links here. For example, if youre a developer, you can include a link to your GitHub profile. If youre a writer, a Medium link, and so on…

    All clear? Good!

    Now, lets cover how to write a successful career change resume objective or summary.

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    Career Change Cv Template

    And now for something completely different

    If youve been in an industry for a long time and youre looking for a fresher direction, trying something new could be the perfect move. But what happens if youre unsure how to communicate that desire for change on your CV?

    To help prove that your previous positions neednt be a hindrance, weve put together our career change CV template.

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    Career Change Resume Objective And Summary Statements

    How to write the best resume for career change | Sample of Resume | Career Change

    Resume objective statements are rarely used in the modern job search as they tend to focus on the job seekers goals rather than tangible accomplishments. In their place, summary statements are typically used. However, a strong resume objective/summary statement hybrid can still be useful for a job seeker changing careers.

    When writing your resume objective, turn your focus to the skills that youve picked up throughout your current career and explain how you plan to use them in this new industry. For example:

    Accounting professional with over 10 years experience looking to transfer my skills to the finance industry. My proven mathematical and money management skills make me an ideal fit for the Finance Assistant position.

    A resume objective or summary section is a great way to tie in past experience with present goals.Kerianne Burke, Tech Recruiter at Segment in San Francisco told us, First, the job seeker needs to give insights into how they have gained knowledge about this new category. Have they taken classes? Completed extensive independent research? Be very specific here! Second, they need to apply these learnings to something to show that they would be able to make an impact in the role they are applying for.

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    Showing Career Certifications On A Resume

    When youre switching careers, certifications are an amazing way to show youre serious about your craft.

    This shows youre willing to put in the work and that youve already taken the first steps.

    When listing certifications though, make sure theyre relevant to your field.

    For a role, heres what that might look like:


    • HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certified, 2019.
    • Google Analytics Individual Qualification, 2018.
    • SEMrush Content Marketing Toolkit Course, 2018.

    And heres an example done wrong:


    • TechCamp Python Bootcamp, 2019.
    • Udemy JavaScript 101 Course.

    For a marketing role, those certificates are completely irrelevant and arent even in the same field.

    While they might be impressive on their own, that doesnt mean they make you a better

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    Making the decision to change careers is a huge undertaking. Not only do you have to be willing to acquire new skills and step outside your comfort zone, but you also have to be able to sell your past experience to recruiters and hiring managers.

    While the majority of this selling happens in person during interviews, a well-crafted resume is a key to getting yourself actually called in for one. Though tried-and-true resume rules still apply to career changers, there are definitely some special guidelines to consider, according to resume-writing pros.

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    This Is How To Test Your Objective

    Just like you wouldn’t jump into a career change without thinking about what you want to do differently, you shouldn’t rush through your resume without scrutinizing the details. Could you use some help checking to see that your resume is ready for a job search? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster’s Resume Writing Service. You’ll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume’s appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter’s first impression. A job in a new industry can breathe fresh air into your career, so let Monster’s experts help you start off on the right foot.

    Keep Your Writing Concise

    Teacher Career Change Resume Example Beautiful Career ...

    It’s a common practice to limit your entire resume to one page. Writing a resume summary can leave room for you to include sections, such as work experience, education and skills. Prioritize details that apply the most to the position you’re after, and remember to discuss your professional background in no more than three sentences.

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    Improving And Polishing Your Career Shift Resume

    Your resume is like your own personal vote for me sign posted in a potential employers yard before election day. You really want to make sure that you look good!In the case of a career shift resume, one of the ways to make yourself stand out is by maximizing your capabilities.

    Heres some specific advice to help you rewrite and highlight specific sections of your resume to help nab you the job offer:

    Do You Need a Resume Summary Statement?

    The summary statement is like a mini-me to the rest of the resume, offering a short summary of what the reader can expect. Its a 2-5 sentence that appears toward the top of your resume, below your name and contact info.

    Its not necessary to address the career shift in your summary statement youll do that in your cover letter. Rather, use the summary statement to highlight skills and experiences that illustrate your fitness for the role being offered. Use specific keywords from the job posting to show your qualifications for the job role in question.

    Whats the Best Way to Include Education?

    The education section can be used to your advantage on a career shift resume, helping to show that youve spent time and effort preparing for the world of employment.

    Focus on two specific areas in the education section to maximize its impact: placement and wording.

    Wording: In the education section, generally list the following information:

    Education Information Example
    North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC May 2018

    • Summa Cum Laude

    Achievements Are Quantified Where Possible

    Numbers help paint a better picture for potential employers. Vague language like managed budgets and cut costs aren’t nearly as impressive as specifying that the budget was $1 million or that you cut costs by 20 percent. Direct numbers highlight your contributions and accomplishments in a way that is easy for recruiters and employers to assess.

    The assumption is that you have met your job role expectations, but what have you done beyond the basic job description? Potential employers want to see a candidate that stands out, not one who only does the minimum. Numbers are a quantifiable way to showcase excellence in your previous role.

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