Searching for a new job is challenging enough if you’re staying in the same field. For career changers, there’s an additional bar to clear in persuading a manager or recruiter that you’re their best option. Your challenge is to tell a compelling story that easily links your past experiences with the needs of employers in your new field.
Telling that story starts with crafting a great résumé. We spoke with Anne Nowak, a certified job and career transition coach with the The Career Center of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, to get tips for making your résumé stand out when trying to switch careers.
Nowak stresses the importance of learning everything you can about your new career. That can start with online resources and news stories, but you really need to talk to people in your intended field, because they can tell you what they job is really like, she says. This kind of networking has the added benefit of connecting you to people in your new career path, and possibly to job openings.
As you learn more about your new field, identify the skills and job qualifications needed to perform the job. Make sure these are clearly highlighted on your résumé.
Even though the career choice may be new, you’ll likely find that not all of the required skills are. Sit down and make a list of all of the skills you used regularly in your previous or current job. Compare them to the skills listed in the jobs you’re most interested in. (The Louisiana Job Connection algorithm performs this analysis for you automatically, based on work experience and skills that you cite when creating a profile on the site.)
Then, make sure that you highlight those transferrable skills on your résumé. For example, Nowak says, if you have been a teacher for 10 years but are switching to office management, your résumé needs to de-emphasize classroom-specific aspects and emphasize any transferrable skills you gained from teaching — for example, organizing, filing, supervising others, etc.
The traditional resume that emphasizes work history in reverse chronological order doesn’t always serve career-changers well. However, entirely functional résumés can be seen as hiding things like long gaps in employment or a lack of skills match from recruiters and HR managers, and employers are increasingly wary of them, Nowak says.,
Instead, she suggests a combination of the two styles. This will allow you to emphasize your transferable skills without making it seem like you are burying unfavorable information about your work history.
Louisiana Job Connection can also help make these connections clear for you. Its tool allows you to upload your existing resume as a Word document or create one manually; it will then format it for you, in the ideal layout.
Louisiana Job Connection is a full-service employment hub. Complete your profile today and let Louisiana Job Connection match you with a job that’s tailored for your skills and experience.