A well-meaning jobseeker contacted me recently to get assistance with her career change - she wants to transition into a new field and is seeking help with the resume. Always happy to assist, I guided her to a worksheet to get more information on her current job, tasks and responsibilities.
So you can imagine my surprise when I got back the worksheet and she simply had one sentence to describe her current job.
Bless her heart, I mean, I am flattered, but I would need more than one sentence to create a career changer resume - after all, I am a master resume writer, not a magician resume writer:)
It got me to thinking about career changes and how frustrating it must be for professionals who want to make a move, but don't know where to begin. For starters, transitioning into a new career takes a lot more than a new resume, it takes planning, strategy, and yes, a lot of patience.
But where do you begin?
1) Identify your new career interest or passion
Just wanting to do something different is not a clear answer - think about activities, tasks, projects or assignments that really peaked your interest and kept you motivated and energized.
Consider taking a career assessment or career planning test and over at QuintCareers, they have a very comprehensive list of recommendations.
2) Talk to people already in the field/industry
There is nothing like getting the insider perspective from people who are working in the role - schedule informational interviews and get real facts like pros and cons, learn what it takes to advance in careers, ask if any special education, training or certifications will give you an edge.
3) Market yourself differently
If you are looking to move from a financial analyst to marketing assistant, understand that you will need to "walk" and "talk" differently and present your skills and capabilities in a whole new light.
-- Learn new jargon, keywords and terminology
-- Evaluate your current and past experience to see if you may have ANY experience that is related or relevant to your new field
-- Start where you are and explore lateral assignments or internal company projects that can help you with your career change
-- Don't overlook volunteering - I had a client successfully move from a job in financial services to senior marketing roles after spending five years in volunteer opportunities.
4) Create a new picture on paper
I think by now you realize that in order to be attractive to employers in a new field, you will have to revise, edit or completely revamp your existing resume.
-- Only highlight experience, talents, skills and training that are relevant to your new career - don't be swayed by emotions to determine what goes on your resume
-- Emphasize any continuing education, volunteer assignments, special projects or even one-time workshops you participated in as long as they improve your candidacy for positions in new field
-- Try at all costs to avoid a functional resume as it only screams "I don't have experience and looking to change careers"
If you are ready to get started on your resume, check out this article series, "Is Your Resume Ready For A Career Change" I wrote that can get you moving in the right direction
PS: My anxious career changer client had to chuckle when I pointed out that I needed more than a sentence to get started, so she is working on giving me more content. Remember, don't start a career change by short changing yourself.