Subscribe Here to Get My Daily Wellness Planner Printable!
How to Write a Career Pivot Resume

How to Write a Career Pivot Resume

Need to write a career pivot resume but not sure where to start? It’s easy to get stuck in the resume editing phase when you’re trying to make a career switch. You’re probably contemplating whether or not you need to go back to school to get another degree to be legitimate. While that may help, it’s not always necessary. As a Fortune 500 recruitment director and career coach, I’d suggest getting some experience in something new before committing to a hefty tuition bill. 

You likely don’t check all of the requirement boxes for your new path so it could take a few strategic resume changes to make your experience stand out and help you to start landing transitional jobs. Transitional jobs are those that might not be the ultimate dream job but can help you develop the skills needed for your end goal. 

Recruiters, hiring managers, and prospective freelance clients spend seconds reading your resume. It’s important to be very intentional about what you share and how you highlight your skills. These career shift resume tips will increase your chances of being noticed, and give you the confidence to go after when you want. 

Let’s get started! 

How to Write a Career Pivot Resume

Write an Objective

Objectives are not necessary for every resume but I would recommend having one if it’s not clear what direction you are trying to go. This includes career pivots, if you’ve worn many hats and want to clarify your direction, or are just starting and have limited experience on your resume.  

When potential employers read your resume, they assume you want to go in the same direction as your most recent experience. It’s important to let them know that you want to change directions. An objective is a great way to highlight this at the top of your resume so they know what to evaluate your background for as they continue reading. 

Tips for Writing an Objective: 

Be clear, concise, and highlight transferable skills when possible: Here are a few examples: 

  1. PR to Marketing: Experienced PR professional seeking an opportunity in Marketing where I can use my strategy planning and communication skills to grow brands.
  2. Financial Services Recruiter to Media/Entertainment: Passionate recruiter seeking an opportunity to apply my talent acquisition skills in the media/entertainment industry.  
  3. Teacher to Writer: Experienced high school English Teacher seeking an opportunity as a writer in the health/wellness industry.

Avoid vague statements or identifying multiple unrelated directions like these: 

  1. Seeking an opportunity where I can add value. 
  2. Looking for an opportunity in a large company where I can grow my skills. 
  3. Open to project management, research, or social media roles. 

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. This can include any related responsibilities from your employers, projects, freelance work, internships, volunteer work, or side businesses. You can also include certifications or related degrees. 

You should expand upon any of your most related jobs and minimize the less applicable ones. If our PR executive had a job where she partnered closely with a marketing team then I would expand on that interaction as much as possible highlighting the work they did together. 

Now rewrite the bullets on your resume with these requirements in mind. We want to be truthful but we also want to ensure we are emphasizing any transferable skills. Aim to have at least 3-5 well-written bullets for each position. 

You want relevant information to be as close to the top of your resume as possible. If you have a related certification, but lack experience then shift that certification to the top of your resume so that it’s front and center.

Remove Experience That Doesn’t Add Value

It’s okay to remove some of the experiences that don’t add value, especially if they were short-lived. It’s better to have some gaps than to have a resume that seems to lack direction. On the rare occasion, someone questioned a gap, you could simply say it was an unrelated role. 

It’s easy to delete experiences from the early stages of your career without anyone noticing. When I first started my job search after college, it was in 2008 and the opportunities were limited. I ended up trying a few things out. First, I had a job in ad sales which left me completely burned out after 8 months. From there, I took an Executive Assistant job to buy some time to figure out my next move before finally landing in Talent Acquisition. As I continued to build my career in Talent Acquisition, I was able to delete those first two jobs entirely. I had stronger experience to highlight, and those jobs were diluting my experience. 

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 any way, then take it out.

Lastly, remove any filler content like headers with a bunch of random skills listed at the top or large summaries. This content may fill the page up but it’s not useful. If you have experience with helpful technologies or have expertise in something you want to highlight then do that. Avoid writing content to take up space. 

By refining the content on your resume you are emphasizing your new direction. Think of it as a way of decluttering. 

Link to Portfolio

If applicable, you could link to your portfolio of work on your resume. If you’ve dabbled in some freelance work related to what you want to do then this would be a great way to show your stuff. Make sure that it’s high-quality and current as this is just as important as a resume.

Final Thoughts: On How to Write a Career Pivot Resume

Making a career pivot can take time but it’s not impossible. It becomes much easier when you have a clear direction and communicate it on your resume. Career shifts are rarely linear but with a little time and determination you can start to land roles that are more aligned with your interests. Keep an open mind! The more related jobs you land, the more applicable experience you can highlight on your resume!