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How to Write a Resume as a Career Changer


Are you on the verge of changing your job from sales associate to kitten groomer?

No? Okay, perhaps you are not going into the kitten grooming business, but you may be looking to change your career.

The sad fact about being a career changer is that it can be difficult to tailor your resume to make it look relevant even if you have everything it takes to do the job.

That kitten groomer recruiter could take one look at your resume and toss it because how could you possibly know how to brush baby Persian cats as a sales associate?

So, how do you make a resume that will show recruiters that you are a relevant candidate with the skills they want?

1. Here’s How to Start Your Resume With a Bang

You’ll want to make it clear from the beginning that your resume is in the right place.

One of the best ways to prove your relevance is to start your resume with a career summary or objective.

Both are introductions to your resume that comprise two to three lines explaining what value you will bring to the company.

For career changers, the main goal of your resume summary or objective is to explain how your experience is going to translate to your future role. You will also want to think about:

  • What job you want to pursue.
  • What skills you have that translate.
  • How these skills will benefit the company.

Here is an example:

Detail-oriented Registered Nurse with 4+ years of experience in Pediatrics. Seeking to leverage my background working with children and a BA in Early Childhood Education to take on the role of Kindergarten Teacher at your school. I am autonomous, caring, and needs-focused in the work I do with children.

Strong Trait (Detail-oriented) + Past Work (RN) + Number of Years (4+) + Specific Industry (Pediatrics) + Translation of Background, Skills, and Education (BA in Early Childhood Education) to New Position (Kindergarten Teacher) + Added Value (Autonomous, Caring, and Needs-focused).

You could also add a reference to your education either at the beginning or end of the statement.

2. Tailor Your Experience Section to Focus on Skills

Once you hit your experience section, there are a few tricks you can use to illustrate how your work skills translate to your new job.

Even if the work is completely different, certain skills will translate from one job to another. These are known as transferable skills. To place more of an emphasis on these skills, use them as subheadings to categorize your past roles and responsibilities.

For example:

Marketing Manager at Dog House Heaven Inc.

Management Skills
Managed a marketing team of up to 15+ people.
Coordinated internal marketing efforts to promote company-wide training programs.
Headed up all Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts, resulting in a 20% increase in overall employee participation through the implementation of a CSR Awards initiative.

The subheadings will draw attention to the skills you wish to display in a more general, translatable way. Adding a transferable skill as a subheading says here is a list of transferable management skills, not a laundry list of random responsibilities.

Also, notice how our Marketing Manager, let’s call her Lisa, has used numbers and figures.

Lisa’s use of numbers causes particular skills to pop out from the page. It also gives a hiring manager a tangible, quantifiable sense of what Lisa is capable of and how she might achieve the same results in her new position.

Speaking of achievements:

Notice Lisa’s last line. She achieved a 20% increase in employee participation in Corporate Social Responsibility efforts. That’s an achievement.

Lisa could have said that she was “responsible for Corporate Social Responsibility,” but instead, she added an achievement to add credibility to her skillfulness at executing the role.

When adding achievements, use the X, Y, Z approach:

In situation x I did y which led to z.

Lisa’s example fits the formula:

“As the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, I implemented an awards initiative that led to an increase in employee participation by 20%.”

By showing off her achievements, Lisa is showing that not only does she have the skills it takes, she’s also good at using them.

3. No One Adds a Hobby Section, But it Could Work to Your Advantage

To show that you have valuable skills that your work history may not reflect, add a hobbies section.

While this may sound a bit controversial, there has been a shift in the business world toward work culture. Companies are looking for employees who will fit in with their particular work culture.

The shift is great news for career changers because it means that there is a greater emphasis placed on personality than on past work history and experience.

Adding a hobbies section to your resume can show recruiters that you have the personality and skills that it takes to fit in with the company.

Do a little bit of research on the company to find out if they have a particular work culture. Add the hobbies you enjoy that would suggest you’re compatible with such an environment.

You could also add hobbies that would compliment the type of work you’re applying to do.

For example, if you are applying for a job as a kindergarten teacher like Lisa, you could add hobbies that show your interest and skill in helping children learn.

Your skills section can be tailored to accomplish the same goals. Add skills that you’ve gained from other things you’ve done like freelance work or volunteer work.

Be sure to add the key skills that you find in the job description, but don’t be afraid to add other skills that you think recruiters would find valuable.

Key Takeaway

The key to writing a strong career changing resume is to tailor your experience and skills to show that they will still be relevant in your new role.

Just because you got your skills doing something completely different, doesn’t mean that they won’t translate to a new job.

All you have to do is make sure you show the recruiter right away that you’re in the right place, and you’ve got what they want to see.


Natalie Severt is a writer at Zety. Her love for creating successful resumes for others has led her to a career in sharing that knowledge with her readers. She spends her free time eating tacos, reading complicated novels, and binge-watching TV series.

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