5 Career Change Resume Tips to Get You an Interview

After fifteen years in the business, packaging hot dogs just isn’t for you anymore. It’s time to move on to a glorious, new career: drapery. But before your career change, you’ve got to revamp your resume. Tailoring a resume to a new career is difficult for job seekers whose old job is entirely different from the one they want now.

Even if you have the skills it takes to sell drapes, your hot dog packaging background might throw off the hiring manager. So, how do you make a resume show hiring managers that you’re in the right place and that you have the skills they want?


1. Start Your Resume With a Bang

When a hiring manager scans your resume, the very first thing they should see is a statement that shows how you plan to transition into your new career. That’s because a hiring manager will spend an average of only six seconds scanning a resume, focusing mostly on the top third of the document. If you’re information isn’t there, they won’t waste time looking for it. That statement is called a resume summary. It comprises two or three sentences that show where you are and where you want to go. It also states what value you can bring to the company.

Focus on what skills you have that will translate, and how the hiring manager will benefit from them.

Here is an example:

Factory Floor Manager with 15+ years of experience working with people. Seeking to leverage my management and people skills to work as a Sales Representative at Draperies Incorporated. I have an Associates degree in Communication and am proficient at meeting targets and quotas.

You can loosely follow this formula:

Past Work (Factory Floor Manager) + Number of Years (15+) + Translation of Background and Skills (Management and People Skills) + Education (Associates in Communication) + New Position (Sales Representative) + Added Value (Meet Targets and Quotas).


2. Follow With a Tailored Experience Section Focusing on Skills

Once you’ve explained what skills translate, demonstrate how in your experience section. Try pulling skills from the job description to use as subheadings. As you list the responsibilities, group them under the various subheadings you’ve selected.

For example:

Factory Floor Manager at Hot Dog Heaven (2000 – present)

People Skills

  • Manage a team of 20+ people.
  • Responsible for meeting targets and quotas. Increased the team’s overall efficiency by 10% after altering work processes in my first six months as manager.
  • Mitigate conflict between employees.

By adding the subheading, you’re telling the hiring manager, “Here is a list of people skills that I learned as a Floor Manager that directly translate to a position in Sales.” That’s much better than presenting them with a laundry list of responsibilities.

Also, notice the use of numbers and figures. She led a team of 20 people and increased efficiency by 10%. Numbers pop out from the page. Numbers also give a hiring manager a tangible sense of what you can accomplish with your skills. You’ve gone from a person who meets targets to an individual who meets them with a 10% increase in efficiency over time. That’s direct value.


3. Use the XYZ Approach to Describe Achievements

Look at this line: “Increased the team’s overall efficiency by 10% after altering work processes in my first six months as manager.” That’s an achievement, and it follows a unique formula.

The formula is called the X, Y, Z Approach:

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

In my first six months as manager (X), I altered the work processes (Y), which resulted in a 10% increase in efficiency (Z).

Achievements show that using your skills directly correlates to positive results.


4. Consider Adding a Hobbies Section

Another way to show that you’re a good fit for the company is to add a hobbies and interests section at the end of your resume. When considering how to make a resume, adding a hobbies section seems a little bit unconventional, but it works.

Companies are beginning to place emphasis on work culture and personality. Your hobbies can show that you have things in common even if you come from a different industry or career background.

A hobbies section is also a place where you can show that you have valuable skills that your work history may not reflect. Do a little digging to find out if your new company has a particular work culture. Add hobbies that suggest you’re a compatible choice. Also, add hobbies that complement the work you will do. If you’re selling drapes, expressing an interest in cloth and interior design is a good idea. Do keep in mind that hiring managers may draw from your list of hobbies during an interview. Only add things that genuinely interest you. Otherwise, things could get awkward.


5. Key Takeaway

While it’s hard to figure out how to make a resume attractive to a hiring manager when you’re a career changer, it’s not impossible. You’ve just got to show them that you’re in the right place, and you’ve got the right skills. The key to writing a strong career changing resume is to tailor your experience and skills to your new role. You know you’re a perfect fit. You’ve just got to work a little harder to prove it.

This article was contributed by Natalie Severt of Uptowork.