A new resume for a new job!
Getting a new job is one thing. Getting a whole new career? Well, that’s just plain crazy, right?
Actually, not so much…
Some of us have always known what we wanted to do when we grew up, right from a young age. Some of us still have no clue to this very day. And do you know what? That’s OK. Accepting a job in one industry isn’t a life sentence; you’re not stuck there forever. In fact, plenty of people choose to change careers at one point or another, and according to the job listing website Indeed, there're lots of reasons why.
Maybe you chose a Master’s program in fashion, but later realized you’d feel happier working in finance. Or travel. Or anything else. You won’t always know what path you’ll want to take at such a young age. And believe it or not, it’s not just youngsters switching things up.
People make career changes from entry, mid-level, and senior positions. It happens across practically every industry. Did you know that Harrison Ford was a professional carpenter before swinging into action as Indiana Jones? Or that John Grisham became a writer because of his experiences as an attorney? Even fictional characters do it - Chandler from Friends moved from statistical analysis and data reconfiguration (and his ‘WENUS’) to marketing!
But how do you write a CV when you’re making a career change?
Understand Exactly What You are Writing
First thing’s first: make sure you’re actually writing a CV, rather than a resume.
There is a more informative post about this here, but to sum it up, a CV outlines all of your professional skills and achievements, while a resume is normally a condensed TL:DR version and tailored to a specific position.
If you lack direct on-the-job experience in your new field, a resume will look pretty bare! That’s why, when making a career change, it’s best to stick to a CV which details your entire academic and professional career; much more beneficial if you’re trying to show how your existing experience can be transferred to a new field. Here’s what CVs and resumes might look like:
However, knowing to write a CV rather than a resume isn’t enough. Regardless of your past experiences, when you’re coming into one field from another, you’ve got to create an awesome CV; one that really highlights your relevant skills and makes you stand out amongst others… even those who may have been working in this industry their entire lives. Checking out some CV writing tips can help.
Here are 3 top tips for writing a CV when applying for a job in a new industry:
Start from Scratch
Starting from scratch is probably the last thing you want to hear… and you’re probably wondering why you need to do that with a CV. After all, the resume is the one that’s tailored to specific roles, while the CV is more of a broad ‘your life’s work’ kinda thing.
But even so, if you read over the CV that you wrote while in your former field, you’ll probably notice that it’s still somewhat biased towards that field. Perhaps you’ve highlighted some specific skills relevant to the area, overlooking other talents that would be more relevant to employers in your new industry. Or maybe you’ve used jargon relevant to one industry, but which would leave other employers with a bit of a headache!
Don’t try and mold your existing CV into something it’s not. Use your career change as an opportunity to reassess your skills and experiences, identify natural crossovers, and start afresh.
Identify Transferable Skills
If you don’t have direct experience in the field you’re applying to, you’ll want to make sure you’re giving employers a reason to read on. Write your CV so that it captures interest right from the very beginning.
Changing careers can be exciting. But let’s be honest here. There are also going to be a few challenges along the way. And one of the biggest challenges will be showing how your previous experience in another industry is relevant. Especially if you’re making a massive shift.
Before writing your new CV, be sure to research the industry. Hopefully, you will have done this already! The idea is to be really confident about what’s valuable here; about what matters.
In some cases, it can be useful to go with the functional, skills-based CV format that features an in-depth, detailed skills section, with a smaller and more compressed experience section. This grabs employers at the start, wowing them with your transferable skills before listing previous roles.
Spell It Out
A career change may be something you’ve been thinking about for a long time, and you already know how your previous experiences could translate excellently to a new area.
But employers don’t always see it the same way. So try to look at it from the employer’s perspective.
Imagine you’re moving from IT to food, which are two industries that most people would say there was very little connection between. Yet you know that working in IT gave you the skills you needed to oversee and manage an entire technological infrastructure… just as you’d need to oversee a kitchen. You’re accustomed to fixing bugs to tight deadlines, so you know how to prioritize crucial food timings.
These transferable skills may all be obvious to you, but they may not be obvious to others. Don’t be afraid to go into detail. Spell it out. Be clear and transparent about your skills and experiences.
Taking the Leap
Making a career change can be nerve-wracking. But it could also be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself. If you need a supportive push in the right direction, we’ve built a comprehensive guide to changing careers that you may find useful. Be sure to check it out!
Does your CV have what it takes to get you noticed in a new field? If not, we're sharing top tips for writing a powerful CV to kickstart your career change
With years of experience as a content strategist and creator, Anita has a 'super-power' of being a clear human voice for brands when talking to their audience. One of the projects she currently enjoys the most is being a content associate to EU Business School, where she's writing about business education, student life and online learning.