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5 Career Change Resume Tips to
Get You an Interview

Eric Ciechanowski
By Eric Ciechanowski
Last Updated: September 03, 2020
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If your career was put on hold by the recent government shutdown, there’s a good chance your old resume will soon need revamping. An update to your employment timeline is a must, and odds are you’ll need to recontextualize your experience to break into a new field (or the private sector counterpart of your old one).

Even if you have the skills it takes to, say, sell drapes, your specialized experience as a federal worker may initially look out of place to a recruiter. It’s essential to prove that you are in the right place and that you have the skills desired.

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1. Begin With an Attention-Grabbing Summary

The first thing a recruiter should see is a two-or-three sentence resume summary telling how you plan to transition into your new career, and what you’ll bring to the company. Focus on skills that will translate:

Team Lead with 15+ years of experience. Seeking to leverage my management and people skills to work as a Sales Representative at Drapes Inc. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and meet all deadlines and targets with which I’m tasked.

2. Tailor Your Experience Section to Focus on Relevant Skills

Demonstrate how these skills are transferrable in your experience section. Mention skills called for directly in the job description and use them as subheadings:

Team Lead at Federal Agency (2009 – present)

  • Manage a team of 25+ employees.
  • Responsible for meeting deadlines. Raised team’s efficiency by 10% after altering work processes in my first four months as manager.
  • Resolve and prevent conflict between team members.

3. Illuminate Your Accomplishments with the XYZ Approach

Here’s an example: “Raised team’s efficiency by 10% after altering work processes in my first four months as manager.” That’s an accomplishment, and the description follows a formula. called the X, Y, Z Approach.

In situation X, I did Y, which led to Z.

4. Take Advantage of a Hobbies Section

Adding a section listing your interests and hobbies is another way to show you’re a good fit for a company.

Some employers are placing an increased emphasis on personality and work culture. Hobbies can highlight things in common even if you come from a different background. Hobbies sections are places to list valuable skills that work history doesn’t reflect.

5. Key Takeaway

The secret to crafting a career change resume is to tailor your tailor your listed qualifications to fit your desired new job. You know you’re right for the position; the only challenge is proving it.