Writing a CV can be difficult at the best of times. When you’re changing career, it can be even more challenging.
Most of us will go through a career change at some point in our lives. This may be the result of long-held aspirations or the discovery of a new dream. Or it may be for financial or logistical reasons.
Whatever your reasons for changing career, you’re going to need a killer CV. These nine tips will show you how to write a good CV, helping you impress potential employers and score your dream job.
You’re starting a whole new career, so start a whole new CV.
Usually, job candidates make a few quick changes to their standard CV before applying for a new role.
A career change calls for a complete overhaul. Use it as an opportunity to reanalyse your skills and experience and make a fresh start.
Make a great first impression
Spend some time writing an engaging, compelling cover letter to accompany your CV. Your cover letter is your first chance to impress recruiters, so sell yourself.
It may be obvious to you why your past experience makes you a great fit for the new position, but don’t assume recruiters will make the same connections.
You’ll be competing with candidates from more relevant backgrounds, so spell out exactly why the skills and experience you’ve gained from your previous career make you perfect for this new one.
Write an opening paragraph using the new job description
It’s important to include an opening summary on a career change CV. Use it to highlight connections between the job description and your past achievements.
Include keywords from the job description and link them to relevant skills or experience from previous roles.
Choose a mixed format
If your new career is very different from your old one, a traditional chronological CV may not be the best option.
Instead, use the first page of your CV to highlight career goals and qualifications, then create categories that demonstrate relevant skills and experience.
Use the second page to list your chronological work history.
Know what to leave out
Whilst it’s important to convey skills and accomplishments, there’s no need to include every minor achievement in your career to date.
Focus on only those which demonstrate that you’re a great fit for the new role, and make the most of them.
When listing your work chronology, include job descriptions only for roles which required similar skills to the new one. Don’t include descriptions for completely irrelevant roles.
Highlight valuable non-work related experience
Since your professional experience may be unrelated to your new career, any extracurricular activities on your CV will carry more weight.
Include any relevant volunteering, education, training or internships you’ve undertaken.
Not only will this demonstrate your transferrable skills, it will also show you’re passionate, dedicated and enthusiastic about your new career.
Show your value with numbers
When listing your accomplishments in previous roles, include bullet points that show your contribution to the bottom line.
Numbers are a clear indicator of your contributions and achievements, no matter what field you work in.
Numbers are particularly important on career change CVs as they enable recruiters to quickly relate to an unfamiliar work history, and envisage what the candidate can do for them.
Find natural crossovers
Certain skills and accomplishments are similar across different industries and management structures.
Find aspects of your previous roles that would have significance to the recruiter for the new role.
Things like project management, social media marketing and securing sponsorship are similar regardless of what sort of company or organisation you work for, so play these up on your CV.
Don’t worry about gaps in your qualifications
As a career changer, you’re bound to have qualification gaps if you come from an unrelated professional background.
Don’t be disheartened by this. Remember that very few candidates will have every single desired qualification.
Most employers would prefer to hire someone who meets 80% of the criteria, but has fantastic enthusiasm and drive.
Concentrate on selling your skills and abilities, and don’t forget that your desire to change career shows confidence, passion and motivation in itself.
If you'd like any more tips for writing a career change CV or want advice from a professional CV writer don't hesitate to get in touch.
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