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How to Write a Resume When You Change Careers

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When making a career change, your greatest resume challenge is that your work history doesn't adequately reveal your talents for the new career. Therefore, it's more important to showcase your relevant skills ahead of your chronological work experience. This strategy makes a functional resume a better option than a conventional chronological resume.

Include a Summary Statement

A summary statement is an optional element of a resume. However, it is definitely something to include with a career change because it allows you to sell your skills for the new career. This statement is the opening to the body of your resume, and it includes a few sentences that wrap up your core qualifications. Someone looking to move from an office-based position to a sales position uses the summary to identify any relevant selling abilities. For example, you might say, "Spend significant time each day contacting company customers and working with them to resolve concerns and identify new opportunities. Experienced and comfortable using database software programs to store and review customer accounts."

Include Skills List

Another optional element that you may want to include in a career change resume is a list of skills. This is often placed directly below the summary statement. Only include this if you have 10 to 15 clear, relevant skills that apply to the new job you wish to pursue. A visually effective format is to have two to three lines with skills listed as bullet points across the page. For the change to a sales job, your list might include: Customer Service, CRM, Time Management, Account Management, Organization, Teamwork and Communication.

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Showcase Work Experience

In a typical chronological resume, education is shown at the end of the document, after work experience. With a functional resume, the order depends on which item applies more to the new career. Without recent education, include your experience first. Tailor the content to highlight abilities and accomplishments related to the new career, and that matter to the hiring manager. For a transition from social work to a bilingual translator job, for example, you would identify activities and accomplishments working with diverse, bilingual clients.

Highlight Related Education

In some cases, people take classes and earn new degrees to transition careers. In this case, you may want to show your education before your work experience. Someone working in marketing may earn a certificate in digital marketing or digital publishing, for instance. Putting these certificates first makes sense when applying for a digital position that doesn't relate to your work history. You may even identify specific courses related to the job requirements.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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