Embarking on a new career will usually involve extra training and education, which can be expensive and time-consuming. Furthermore, applying for roles can be daunting initially-especially if you think you’re up against candidates with more experience than you.However, you’re not alone -making a major career change is become more popular than ever, and the average person can expect to change careers at least once in their working life.
People change careers for many reasons, from discovering a vocation that they’re passionate about, such as charity work or teaching, to lifestyle changes motivating them to pursue a career with more opportunities for progression, and the promise of a higher salary. Many candidates also change careers if their current profession is not challenging enough, and they want more from their job.
So, what’s your best weapon when it comes to making a career change? A polished and tailored CV that’s going to get you noticed. A career change CV will differ from your average resume, so here’s some tips to help you impress potential employers and get an interview.
Choose the right CV format
There are several different CV formats available, but the one you will most commonly see is a “chronological CV”. This is your standard CV which lists experience in reverse-chronological format and is useful when you have a clear working history in that particular industry.
The second type is “functional” or “skills-based CV”. Here, the emphasis is based on your skills and experience, rather than the details of your work history.Although you will still include some of your employment history, the bulk of your resume will list your skills in order of relevance.
A chronological CV is ideal for those changing jobs within one industry, as it allows you to present yourself in terms of your career development and upward mobility. However, for someone looking to change careers, it can highlight gaps in your experience and ‘pigeon-hole’you into a particular role.For this purpose, a functional CV may work better-or even a ‘combination’CV.As its name suggests, this is a combination between a chronological and skills-based CV. It includes a summary of your work history along with your skill-set, to capture a potential employer’ attention, illustrating how all your experience to date can assist in the new role. For more tips on the right format to use, read our CV tips article here.
Tailor your CV to the job–and highlight transferrable skills
This should be a given for any job applicant, but candidates looking to change careers should place extra emphasis on tailoring the CV to the role they’re going for.
When writing or updating your CV, you should already have identified the most relevant skills and experience from your current profession which can be transferred to your new career. Even if you don’t have a long list of directly related experience and qualifications for your chosen career, you might have a host of transferrable skills which make you highly employable in any industry. ‘Soft skills’such as leadership, teamwork and communication skills are valuable in almost every sector, along with technical skills such as project management and research.
Rather than listing the job description and duties of your previous roles, highlight projects and instances that demonstrate these transferrable skills.
Make sure you’re speaking the same language
Depending on your industry, people might use jargon and terms that you’re not familiar with. For example, to someone working in digital, a CMS will refer to their content management system. However, if you work in publishing, it’s the Chicago Manual of Style!
Depending on how you use jargon, it can alienate you from potential hirers, although many candidates assume it will give the impression that you are well-versed in the field. If you can describe your previous accomplishments and skills in ways that will resonate with the hiring manager, this lessens any worry that may accompany the thought of hiring someone from a different profession. But as a rule,it’s a good idea to avoid too much technical terminology and jargon, as the first person screening your CV might be within the HR or recruitment team and therefore be less familiar with specific industry terms. Include what you know, but don’t be overly fussy in your language –and it should be okay to refer to industry-specific terms if they are used within the job description.