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How to Reflect a Career Change in Your Resume
Switching to a different field, industry, or profession might be daunting for some people since they think that they need a lot of catching up or adjustment to do. The task to conform to the required skills and expected competencies for a new job seems monumental, and the shift from the old field to the new may be one of the biggest mental hurdles that a professional must conquer. However, professionals tend to underestimate just how transferable their skills are. Skills and competencies from a specific industry may also be relevant in other industries, and it will all depend on how you package yourself and how your resume will present your strengths and capabilities.
Despite the general notion that you should follow a singular career path throughout your adult life, circumstances arise and interests change. For some, better opportunities or more room for growth may be the driving forces for their decision to change their career paths, and that is entirely possible. Pivoting to another field may seem like a huge leap, and individuals often find it difficult to even phrase their strengths so as to make them suitable when applying to a new job. How you tell your history and your experience in a way that will compel hiring managers is half the battle, and you must be able to articulate and express your values, skills, competencies, and qualifications in a way that will make you stand out from other applicants.
Here are some of the important things that you must remember when reflecting a career change in your resume.
- Read the job description
This first step is crucial, because the moment you read a job description, you automatically picture how your strengths and previous experiences will qualify you for this job. Going through a bullet list of required competencies and qualifications will be like ticking off boxes in your mental checklist, and you will often ask yourself “Do I have this skill? Am I equipped with this training, certification or qualification?”Certain jobs are asking for specific histories and experience, and by going through the job profile thoroughly, you will get a sense of the adjustments that you will need to make in order to be a good fit for the job.
- Focus on your education and training
When you are done self-screening and applying the qualification and criteria items to yourself, you should advance with a clear focus on your previous education and training. Note that even if you did not study or engage in a training course that might be directly related to the job that you are applying for, certain subject areas often have overarching thoughts and concepts that will help you regardless of the industry that you are in.
Certain concepts and thought systems such as management, organisational development, group dynamics, and sales can be applied across various disciplines. These skills and training opportunities will present you with various tools and capabilities that you can certainly tailor around your perspective role. Elaborate on the learnings that you can bring from your previous experiences, and be aware of how you can use these to your advantage.
- Find common ground
As mentioned earlier, there will always be certain skills that you should be able to bring from your old role to the next. For example, a Chef who wants to venture out of the kitchen may find that their executive leadership skills and staff management will be a perfect fit for any store management or team leadership task. Supervisors or managers may find themselves comfortable with a Human Resource-focussed job since they are exposed to hiring and staffing issues on a daily basis. Cruise ship workers may also find common ground between their duties and that of a flight crew or cabin crew member, as they are both in the travel and hospitality sector. No two jobs or disciplines are too disparate to bridge so long as you can justify and articulate how you can translate and apply developed skills to bring value to your new workplace.
- Do not forget the day-to-day competencies
Professionals who desire a career shift tend to focus only on the role title itself. However, the day-to-day conduct of work projects and tasks often entail the same set of skills and responsibilities. The rote conduct of daily professional routines include the same set of tools such as communication and interpersonal skills, management acumen, multitasking, teamwork and team dynamics, and the ability to delegate and follow orders.
Highly impactful tasks may be at the helm of your old career, but in the daily conduct of work duties, the same behaviours and capabilities are at play, including negotiation skills, documentation, records keeping, administrative duties, and other ad hoc tasks. Focus on these attributes and outline important examples where you can demonstrate how you conform to these criteria.
When you have made up your mind on how you can bridge your skills so that you can transition to a new field or industry, be sure to write an effective and compelling resume that focusses on your highly transferable and resilient skills. Both your resume and your cover letter should centre on your new goals and objectives moving forward in your career, and it is best to conceptualise your career change documents in a way that will highlight how you can successfully translate your well developed skills to help you contribute positively to your new workplace.
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