Advice For Writing a CV If You're Changing Career

Making the decision to change careers can be a big undertaking, so here’s how to make sure you get the job you want.

Advice For Writing a CV If You're Changing Career

Advice For Writing a CV If You're Changing Career
Advice For Writing a CV If You're Changing Career
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The average person will change careers 5-7 times during their working life according to career change statistics.

Making the decision to change careers is a big decision. Not only do you have to be willing to acquire new skills and step outside your comfort zone, but you also have to be able to sell your past experience to recruiters and hiring managers.

While the majority of this "selling" happens in person during interviews, a well-crafted CV is key to getting yourself actually called in for one. Though tried-and-true CV rules still apply to career changers, there are definitely some special guidelines to consider, according to the pros. The tips below should help you navigate the waters of creating or revamping your CV, but if you're struggling, remember you can always seek out the help of professional CV writing services!

Here are our 7 top tips for writing your CV if you're changing careers:

#1.Do your research

It's critical to talk to those who are in the careers you want to go into to find out what they would want to see in a CV. What are the hot terms in the field right now? The most in-demand skills and relevant knowledge? These are things you need to find out, then incorporate into your CV where you can.

Remember a new industry may require a new layout, a new tone of voice, and maybe even completely new sections you've never thought about including. If in doubt, find a template online which is industry specific, or get some help from the experts.

Highlight transferable skills

When you're changing careers, it's assumed that your recent work experience will not perfectly align with the role you're now targeting. To ensure your CV isn't immediately trashed by the 'bots' or a recruiter, you need demonstrate that you possess the skills necessary to do the job well, even if this new job isn't a natural next step after your previous role.

That's where transferable skills come in. Some transferable skills are universal, regardless of the field: leadership, communication, analytical skills, and many others. But to find industry-specific ones, you'll want to conduct informational interviews and review the job descriptions you're targeting. Look for commonalities between the postings, and you should get a good idea of what skills hiring managers are looking for.

If you need help, create a word cloud out of the job descriptions using a site like Wordle to identify which skills are emphasized the most across multiple job postings.

Show instead of tell

This is good advice for any CV, but it's especially important for career changers. Why? Well, you'll be able to not only highlight transferable skills, but also prove that you're excellent at them.

Use statistics and numbers to show concrete information about the value you bring. Instead of just saying 'developed and implemented innovative process improvements,' say 'increased operational efficiency and annual revenues by 13% by developing and implementing innovative process improvements.' Show the value you bring, don't just claim to bring it with nothing to back it up.

Learn the lingo

Each industry has its own jargon–terminology, acronyms, and initialisms that only make sense to people who are familiar with the field. It's your job to figure out how to translate your experience and past successes into terms that will resonate with your new target audience.

Subscribe to industry-specific publications and follow their social media accounts, set up Google alerts for some of the major players in the space, and attend trade shows and other events that are relevant to your target field to gain this insight. Then update your CV accordingly.

Use your space wisely

You don't have unlimited space. You get one to two pages to fill with your most impressive accomplishments and qualifications. Especially if you have a long job history in a previous career, this can be difficult to enforce.

Many people will turn into a sort of hoarder when writing their CV. You can't fit 18 bullet points of details for a job you had in 2006. It's barely relevant, and a busy hiring manager won't read it. If they want extreme details on the things you've done, your CV has already done its job, and you'll be getting a call for an interview. Keep it clear, concise, and as relevant to your new industry as possible.

Put education in the right place

Most CV advice tells you that once you're a few years out of school, you should move your education down to the bottom of your resume. This is true for the most part, but there's an important exception career changers may want to consider.

If you recently earned a degree relevant to your new field, place your education section before your experience section. Make sure they see that new degree. If it came with a designation, put that with your name at the top of the page, i.e. 'John Smith, MBA.'

Remember that you're more than your CV

Having a great CV is no doubt important, but when you're a career changer, there are things that matter more. Especially when you are making a career shift, connecting with people in the field through authentic relationship building can give you a leg up, so that someone is willing to take a chance on you–no matter what is on your CV.

Follow these tips and you'll be on your way to success in your new chosen career!

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