Resume Tips for Changing Careers in 2018

Making a career jump can be scary, and for good reason—it’s unknown territory to you. Fortunately, you aren’t the first person to think about pursuing a new specialty.

Begin your career move with this strategy to make a stable transition in 2018.

Stay in the Same Industry if Possible

The good news is that you don’t need to sail into entirely uncharted waters. You already have a experience in a career area. That doesn’t need to go to waste.

In fact, you shouldn’t abandon your first career path entirely. You can change two basic elements of your job at any given point:

  • Your role
  • Your industry

If you like providing legal counsel but can’t stand the culture of your current workplace, then find another legal counsel position in a different setting, or perhaps in a specialized industry.

On the other hand, you might want to get out of legal counsel entirely. If that’s the case, then stay in your current industry (or transition to a company with a similar cultural and operation style). Leverage each opportunity possible.

The trick to changing careers successfully is to do it one step at a time. Switching from an accountant in the software-as-a-service industry to an account manager in the same space would be a smoother transition than switching to a graphic designer in a fast-food corporate office.

Leverage the skills and experience you have now to take a stable step forward toward the change you want in three years from now.

Frame Your Results in Terms of the New Career Path

Switching careers means that you need to pay extra attention to your resume.

In all likelihood, you have a solid resume that will impress hiring managers familiar with your current position or industry… but could you explain how those achievements matter for another job altogether?

First, make sure you understand how to quantify your achievements, projects, and contributions for your current role. That’s a critical part of job hunting in any industry. Save a copy of it for the job you currently hold, both for future reference and as a safety net.

You’re going to keep most (if not all) of those points on your resume, but they’ll need to be rewritten to demonstrate that you can achieve positive results for the new job that you want.

For example, you may have saved a client tens of thousands of dollars during your time in the legal counsel space. Quantify that skill in dollars saved, then reframe it as an interpersonal skill that you can leverage as an account manager to keep clients happy (and paying their invoices).

Add Industry Certifications and Events

Switching to a new career means that you need to play a game of catch-up with the most experienced professionals in this unexplored industry.

Make up the difference by adding industry certifications, conferences, and workshops to your resume.

Many people learn their skills informally during working hours, which gives you an advantage to outshine them on paper—the very first place that hiring managers “meet” you, incidentally.

These certifications might even be free in your desired industry, if you’re lucky. Break down the time investment and costs necessary to earn these credentials at a steady pace.

Turn Your Previous Experience into an Unfair Advantage

Don’t just try to make up for your lack of experience in the new role you want. If you quantify your achievements and work toward relevant certifications, then hiring managers will see you’re well on your way to making a successful career switch.

This is your opportunity to adopt a unique angle that no one else can copy: a broader experience base. Everyone else applying for the jobs you want probably pursued professional degrees, worked up from an internship, and into a linear career path. That’s all they know.

Position yourself against that linear, cookie-cutter progression. Highlight the fact that you can accomplish different objectives in different roles and industries to make yourself appear valuable no matter your setting.

As long as you demonstrate competence for the role you want, you can present your first career path as a source of insight and high-level soft skills that others in your industry don’t have.

Changing careers isn’t easy, but it can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll do in your life. Talk to our team at the Career Path Group to put your new life on track.

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