Career change resumes are among the most challenging resumes to write, even for professional resume writers. Can a resume template make it easier to write a career change resume? For most of us, the answer is yes, and here are three ways how.
Leave No Question in the Employer’s Mind About Your Focus
The recipient of your resume should be able to immediately discern the focus of your resume. They need to know that you ARE the candidate they are looking for to fill a particular job opening. Good career change resume templates help you with this, prompting you to include a clear headline that focuses your resume.
Note that this does NOT mean the template includes a resume objective. Resume objectives are an old-fashioned technique for focusing resumes that are now out of favor. Modern resumes use a focus headline usually followed by some sort of summary of qualifications.
Why? It’s simple. Your resume should be focused on the employers’ needs, not your needs. A resume objective tells the reader what you want from them. A headline followed by a summary of qualifications tells the employer what you offer them. This is an important distinction!
Our New Horizons career change resume template is a good example of this principle in practice.
Let’s say you are targeting a sales executive role in the SaaS industry. All of your experience thus far has been as a marketing assistant in the telecom industry. This is a career change of both your job function and your industry. As your focus headline, you could include the words “TARGET: SaaS Industry Sales Executive.” Even though you have never held this job, phrasing the headline in this way tells the reader that this is your current focus.
Underneath, use the subheading to focus it further. Using the same example, perhaps you would write “10 Years of Success Providing Marketing Support That Grew Sales More Than 150%.” This statement is completely true and reframes your experience to show how it had a positive impact on sales.
Emphasize Your Transferable Skills
To be effective, a career change resume must emphasize the ways in which your past experience will be relevant in your new career. In other words, you need to identify and communicate your transferable skills. The best career change resume templates will provide ample space for you to really call out and showcase your transferable skills right at the beginning of the resume, in what is called the “top of the fold” section of your resume.
The resume templates shown below from our Career Change Collection, illustrate this. The “top of the fold” section of each resume with space to emphasize transferable skills is circled in red. The images, left to right are from our New Horizon, Pivot, and Changescape collections.
Provide a Creative Resume Format Designed Especially for Career Changers
Another area in which many people struggle when writing a career change resume is with the formatting of the employment section. Traditional resumes are usually formatted in what is called a reverse-chronological format. This type of format is excellent for individuals whose career has followed a traditional trajectory. The format of a resume created in a reverse chronological style will naturally emphasize your career progression.
But for a career changer, a reverse chronological format isn’t usually the best. Now, you may have heard that people changing careers should always write their resume in a functional format. This is partly true, but there are also serious cons to a functionally formatted resume that you should think carefully about. The better solution is usually a unique blend between a chronological format and a functional format. The career change resume templates in our collection of career change resumes use this strategy which is often referred to as a “combination” format resume.
The example shown here is a good illustration of a combination format resume. From our Modern Transformations Collection, this resume includes a Key Strengths section that allows you to call out the most important parts of your experience regardless of where they fall in your career chronology. But unlike a pure functional format resume, a combination format includes an experience section that is chronologically ordered. The difference is the emphasis. As you can see in this example the Key Strengths section dominates the resume.
DIY job hunters will obviously benefit from using a resume template designed specifically for career changers. But, for even the most experienced professional resume writer, beginning with a career change resume template will help you think in new ways about your clients’ experience and will provide a proven format to create powerful career change resume templates that will give your career-changing clients a competitive edge. Even better, with our Distinctive Resume Templates Insiders program, you will regularly receive fresh resume designs and formats that you can use with all your clients, no matter the challenges they come to you with.