If you’re ready to make the transition to a new job or a new industry, a resume or CV revamp is imperative, and a vital document in your career marketing toolkit to pursue your new role.
However, beware, the most difficult resumes to write are those of career changers. Transitioning to a new career requires personal assessment and reinvention to create a clear, compelling marketing proposition for your target audience.
As an executive, you know companies seek talent that will increase their bottom line. As you know, a resume is not a simple listing of job roles; it’s a marketing document that must showcase the significant value you will bring to the employer. Regardless of what position you are pursuing, your resume should succinctly tell stories about solving business problems that occur in every industry; strategies you incorporated to build profits, improve efficiency, gain market share, and propel innovation.
There are several steps to take to ensure you successfully transition to a new position or industry.
1) Do your research: First, you must figure out how to translate your experience and past successes into terms and achievements that resonate with your new target audience. Every field has its own acronyms and terminology. Get familiar with them to speak the same language.
You can utilize several different research approaches. Subscribe to industry-specific publications, conduct informational interviews, and start attending events that are relevant to your target field so you can network with people and gain insight into which qualifications should be emphasized in your resume.
You can also research employees at the company online and through social media to identify what skills and achievements they highlight in their profiles. Finally, you can gather valuable information from job postings, particularly the requirements section of job postings.
If you’ve already targeted a company, visit the employer’s website often and follow the organization on LinkedIn. What types of accomplishments do they showcase? What do they emphasize in their messaging? And how do they describe their culture?
2) Define your transferrable skills: At this point, you need to get creative in describing what sets you apart. Brainstorm everything you have done that demonstrates that you’re the right fit for the job and the prospective employer.
Consider key executive contribution such as project management, collaboration, innovative problem-solving, and process improvement. For example, if you’d like to make the transition to the non-profit sector in which you would oversee fundraising, you can showcase your successes in presenting a compelling value proposition to raise venture capital funding for a start-up.
3) Incorporate non-work related skills and activities: Your contributions outside of work may take on greater meaning in your new job search. Showcase memberships to professional associations, board roles, volunteer leadership contributions, teaching experience or any experience in which you leveraged relevant skills or were exposed to your target role or industry.
4) Repackage your experience: Remember your resume will be viewed quickly, rather than read thoroughly. You have only seconds (6.5 or so at first glance) to persuade a prospective employer to read further so take what you’ve learned through your research and apply it to your new resume.
Capture your reader’s attention immediately, the top half of the first page of your resume will either make or break your chances of getting an interview. Educate a recruiter or hiring manager by making your new job goal clear in the professional title and summary of your resume and exclude any irrelevant information from your resume. Remember that resumes are viewed on smartphones. Make every word count at the top.
5) Functional vs Chronological Resume Approach: If you are changing your career, a hybrid/functional resume approach can be helpful. The functional resume highlights your major skills and accomplishments at the very beginning of the resume. It helps the reader quickly identify what you can do for them and your related skills rather than requiring the reader to review the job descriptions to uncover your related skills.
In a chronological resume, the more traditional structure, the experience section is the focus of the resume featuring your role and accomplishments. As an executive with a rich career history, a combined approach offers the most flexibility. Ideally the chronology of job descriptions will be more concise and preceded by a list of notable and related achievements for each role. The summary section at the top of the resume will include your targeted role, a branding statement, a skills list or a list of qualifications and related career-defining achievements, if applicable.
Finally, once you’ve revamped your resume to align with your new job target, a cover letter will be a beneficial addition to describe your interest in the new role or industry and concisely reiterate your career achievements that align with this new role and your interest/reason for the transition.