So, you’re getting ready for a career change? That’s always nice to hear! Nowadays, there are many job opportunities and career paths a person could choose. It would be a darn shame if you were to find yourself stuck doing a job you don’t find appealing. Whether you plan to work from home or drive to the office every day – there’s something both options have in common.

For a successful career switch, one will need a solid resume. Let’s take a wild guess and say that’s exactly why you’re reading this. So much for the wildness… Anyway, aside from not laughing at our jokes, you’ll have a good time reading the article below!

Firstly, find yourself a combined resume style template (or make your own). Don’t forget to attach a sharp cover letter to the resume. Also, both the letter and the resume should be nothing but short and sweet. Include references, if possible. Lastly, list all your transferable job skills and add niche-related keywords to your resume.

Of course, there’s more to it! Here are the 8 ideas on how to write a resume when switching careers. Also, we’ll include some additional tips you’ll find pretty useful.

#1 Choose the appropriate style

There are three ways you can structure your resume. When people write CVs they either choose:

  • A chronological resume. These ones list all your past job titles, with little bullet points of your past duties. The focus is on your work experience.
  • A functional resume. Your skills, abilities, and current career goals are put upfront. Your past job experience isn’t highlighted.
  • Or a combination of the two. These start with a list of qualifications and skills. Your previous experience is listed next.

So, now you’re wondering which one of these styles suits a career-changing resume? It’s not hard to assume that the third option might be the best choice. It shows both the skills you’ve learned over time and your previous job experience. Potential employers will know who they’re dealing with.

Additionally, you might want to structure your resume like this (from top to bottom):

  • Personal information (contact information).
  • Resume summary/objectives.
  • The skills you possess.
  • Courses related to the job you’re applying for.
  • Previous work experience.
  • Education.

Wait, that’s a resume objective or summary?

A resume objective is basically a summary of your skills and experience. It also needs to be in tune with the job you’re applying for. Also, it doesn’t need to be longer than a few sentences. Make it sharp and on point!

#2 Find a neatly designed template

A well-designed resume is always a plus! As if we have to amplify that statement! Anyway, you’ll find a lot of cool resumes templated on the web. To download some of them, you’ll have to cough up a few bucks. Don’t worry, you’ll also find a lot of freebie templates out there!

Just type: combination resume template into your search bar and you’ll be all set!

You can go your own way (DIY)

If you know some Photoshop or Illustrator basics, you might even make your own template. Browse the web for some inspiration, and make yourself a uniquely designed resume! For all we know, you could be leaning towards a career in graphic design? The way your template looks will tell a bit about your taste, too.

Additional tip: If you find Photoshop or Illustrator a bit too complex, try Canva! It’s a very intuitive, user-friendly app you’ll use to create a resume that stands out!

A resume (CV) on a laptop keyboard. When switching careers, it's important you introduce yourself with a well-designed resume.

#3 Write an outstanding cover letter

Some job propositions require you to attach a cover letter to your resume. Whether or not the proposal demands you write it – you should definitely write it! That sounds kinda messy, but you get the point. Anyway, a good cover letter never hurt anyone, so…

Alright, one might find it hard to explain a sudden change of interest. We’re gonna help you with that.

How to explain a career change in a cover letter?

You can do this by using each paragraph as a chance to talk about “separate” subject matter. Here’s how you’ll distribute the sections:

  • Introduce yourself in the first paragraph. Dear Hiring Manager X, my name is… You know how it goes. Make sure you highlight why you want the job and why are you perfect for the position. Also, don’t forget to mention your biggest professional achievements.
  • Express your excitement in the second paragraph. Even though it’s an entry-level position, I’m willing to learn… Just don’t copy/paste the last sentence. You want it to sound truthful and original.
  • Outline your skills and achievements in the third paragraph. Because of my commitment as a… Demonstrate what’s it like working with you!
  • Highlight what kind of skills you can transfer to the new workplace. My background as a (your previous job title) will help… Find a link between your past and future experience!

Additional cover letter tips

These will also come in handy:

  • You might want to explain the reasons behind the sudden career change. 
  • Customize the header in accordance with the application format. 
  • Avoid overly-used references to your skills and abilities. 

#4 Your resume should be nothing but short and sweet

We’ll try to be short here. The same thing you should do with your resume.

We all know excess information can be a bit off-putting. That’s why your resume should be nothing but short and sweet. Stick to the gold standard of the “industry”: a single-page resume (CV). Imagine if recruiters had the goodwill to read god-knows-how-many lengthy resumes. Yup, that’s right, quite unimaginable…

All in all: stick to the standard and avoid mentioning every little job you’ve had. You don’t want to bore your soon-to-be new colleagues.

#5 What are your transferable job skills?

We mentioned this briefly while talking about the cover letter. So, what are your transferable job skills? You’ll need to highlight them in your career-changing resume. The thing is: you need to persuade your employer that you’re the right person for the job. Regardless of the line of work you’ve worked in before, there are skills every employer will value.

Let’s say your past position was somehow related to internal communication. The position you’re applying for does involve communicating with other folks. Maybe you’ve chosen IT support as your new niche. Anyway, you can mention this in your resume. Name the skill and explain why you think it will be beneficial for your new role.

The more you go into details (don’t overdo it, of course), the better are your chances. You can always name a clear example of when a particular skill you’ve listed helped you solve a problem.

#6 Make sure you include references

Many folks would rather skip putting references inside their resumes. While that might be a thing for some people, you should avoid it. Include references from your past employers. Recruiters will know how to appreciate it! The fact you have a good relationship with your past colleagues tells a certain tale.

If you’re asking for references at your current job, well… Just make sure they know about your career-changing plans.

#7 Don’t forget to add keywords

As you might know, every niche has its own set of keywords. Browse the web for keywords in the niche you’re planning to infiltrate. Or, you can visit this page and find just about everything you need to know about this topic.

Here’s a quick tip. There are even resume-scanning programs recruiters use to filter out future employees. By missing to add the necessary keywords, your CV mightn’t get a chance to be read by a human.

#8 Introduce yourself as a goal-getter

We already talked about the resume objective or summary. While working on that section, don’t forget to classify yourself as a goal-getter. Of course, you’ll need to back that up. You can even mention you’re kinda used to exceeding the employer’s expectations. Introduce yourself as someone who accepts any kind of challenge laid before them.

Bonus tip: Learn new skills with online courses

Don’t worry. We won’t keep you much longer. Here’s a farewell tip: never stop learning and nurturing your knowledge. There are many interesting topics you can learn with online courses. Make sure you don’t miss out on the offer!

How to write a resume when switching careers?

Let’s do a quick recap of what we’ve learned today about killer career-changing resumes:

  • Write using a combination of chronological and functional resume styles. Present both your skills and your past experience.
  • A well-designed resume template will greatly influence the way recruiters see you. Especially, if graphic design is the new niche you’re trying to conquer.
  • Form a cover letter that sticks out from the crowd. Even if the job proposition doesn’t require you to do it – do it!
  • Your career-changing resume shouldn’t be anything but short and sweet. One page will be just enough.
  • Highlight your so-called transferable job skills. Build a bridge between your old and new profession.
  • Include references, if possible. Recruiters will want to know you’ve kept a good relationship with your past workplace.
  • Add keywords that will make your future employers actually want to read the resume.
  • When writing the resume summary, present yourself as a goal-getter. Any other synonym will do it, too.

That’s about it for today, folks. Now you know how to write a resume when switching careers. For more tips on resume writing, click here.