When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a marine biologist. As a teenager, I wanted to represent children and their families in their medical malpractice claims. For a short while, in my early twenties, I wanted to be a chef despite having no discernible skills or interest in the culinary industry. Before settling down as a professional writer, I had a thriving career in HR, and had my passion for writing not been reignited, it’s an industry I probably would have ended up with.
While you might be wondering what was the point of my little story, I wanted to share it because it shines a light on how often people change their minds about what they want to do with their careers. In fact, since starting college, 29% of workers change their career paths completely. Many women share their questions about undertaking a career change in the Fairygodboss Community. In fact, recently, one Fairygodboss member posted to ask how to make skills from a past experience in another industry look valuable to a new employer.
Transitioning into a new career isn’t always easy. Fortunately, there are a few tips you can use to demonstrate the value of your transferable skills and to make this transition easier:
When I worked as a recruiter, I would receive several hundred resumes per day. As you can imagine, this can be overwhelming to sift through, especially when you consider that recruiters spend, on average, only about 7 seconds scanning a resume before determining whether or not it’s a fit.
A combination resume puts your skills and accomplishments front and center, so a recruiter can easily determine parallels between what you offer and how they’ll benefit their vacancy. What’s great about combination resumes is that it combines the best of a functional and chronological resume, highlighting both your experience and soft skills. Per John O'Connor, president of CareerPro Inc., "You need to build an argument that you have the capability, desire, core skills, and impetus to make the move into a new field.”
A cover letter isn’t always required, but if you’re transitioning careers, it’s a good idea to include one. Cover letters allow you to expand upon your experience and your career goals, making it the perfect opportunity to showcase how your skills will benefit your new career path.
Think of your cover letter as a story. Before writing it, reflect on the reasons why you want to make the career change and include it in the cover letter. Identifying your “why” will make it easier for you to reflect on your past accomplishments so you can see how they will help further you in your new career. For example, if you spearheaded a client project that generated X in revenue, how can those leadership skills transfer to your new desired position?
Hiring a professional resume writer is another avenue you can take. If you ask someone what they do for a living, they’d have no problem answering but ask them to jot that down and suddenly the task seems impossible. People don’t always feel comfortable talking about themselves. Combine that with endless resume style and format options, and the process of applying for a job becomes daunting.
If you want to make a career change, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a professional for a little help. A professional resume writer will discuss your experience with you and take the time to highlight your experiences and transferable goals. As long as you’re being honest about your experience, I don’t see anything wrong with using a professional resume service. These pros know what buzzwords recruiters look for and they'll be sure to use them on your resume. A resume writer can help you stand out from the crowd, and when you already have the odds stacked against you, this is a helpful advantage.
If you’re transferring to a new career, your resume and cover letter should be able to adequately explain how the skills you developed in your previous job can benefit the company you’re applying to. Hopefully these tips can help get you started!
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