So you’re making a career switch but not sure how to convey that to employers? These resume tips will help you to stand out. I’m a Fortune 500 Recruiting Director and I’ve been reviewing resumes for 12+ years. That’s a lot of resumes over the years. I can tell you that recruiters and hiring managers spend seconds scanning your resume before deciding whether or not they want to chat with you. That’s why it’s super important to be very intentional about what you highlight and share.
When you are pivoting your career, you likely aren’t checking every box on the job qualifications list so it’s even more important to have a thoughtful, strategic resume. It doesn’t have to be complicated. These simple tips will help you to highlight your direction and skills, and increase your chances of being noticed. Having an optimized resume will also give you the confidence to go after what you want.
Career Change Resume Tips
Have a Resume Objective
It’s not always a requirement to have a resume objective. If you’re someone who has been on the same path for a decade and not looking to change it up, then it’s pretty clear what you want to do. This is beneficial if are looking to pivot your career in a new direction, have a lot of related but different experience and want to highlight the path you want to continue with, or are just starting out and have limited experience to work with. In these scenarios, the objective clearly defines the direction you want to go. Keep it simple and to the point.
Highlight Related Skills
Next, take a look at the requirements for this new path and think about the transferable skills you can write about. This is the most important part so spend extra time here. Review day-to-day responsibilities but also think about relevant clients you’ve worked with, certifications you may have, freelance work you’ve done, etc.
Now rewrite the bullets on your resume with this new path in mind. Highlight your most relevant skills in the first few bullets of every employer. Aim to have at least 3 well-written bullets for each position listed on your resume. If you can, make the most relevant roles the longest experiences on your resume and minimize the less relevant.
Remove Experience That Doesn’t Add Value
It’s okay to remove experience. If your resume is too long (more than 1-2 pages) or if there are a lot of different roles on there that don’t add value to your new direction, consider removing them. It ends up diluting your experience and you’re better off without it. Things like unrelated part-time jobs, short-lived work that doesn’t align with your new path, internships that are irrelevant, etc. If it’s short-lived but important to your new path, then keep it! If it doesn’t contribute to your overall direction in anyway, then take it out.
Don’t worry about having small gaps in your resume. That is an old-school way of thinking. From my experience, employers care more about skills and less about gaps. You can always explain that during that time you were employed in an unrelated role.
These simple resume updates will help you to clearly express your direction and skills to anyone who reads it!