If you are following this blog, you already know how to create a resume from scratch. But what if you already have a resume that doesn’t fit the new career path you want to pursue?
Even though changing jobs is not an easy thing to do, you can handle it excellently. It is even possible to make your resume look the part as well.
Do you know how to transform your current resume to fit the job you want? If you don’t, this article is meant for you. Here are 6 ultimate tips on how to make your current resume work for a future job.
An Impressive Cover Letter
If you think no one is reading cover letters, you better think again. Some HR professionals ignore them but your goal is to get to those that do. If they care enough to read it, your resume reviewer may include it in their impression of you.
One HR professional read over 300 cover letters and gave excellent advice on how to write them to get noticed.
You have to reject every bit of formal bureaucratic language you thought was appropriate. Starting your cover letter with “To whom it may concern” will probably send it straight to the trash bin.
The thing is it just signals to the person reading this you probably copied the first template you found on Google and transformed it a bit. Would you hire such a lazy person? They wouldn’t either.
When you’re writing the body of the letter, focus on showing the passion you have for the job. Underline the skills you have that would make you a better hire than someone who’s already been in a similar line of work. This can be an outsider’s perspective, unique experience, or projects you’re proud to brag about.
Transform Experience Into Skills
Even if you have a decade of experience in one field of education, it may not mean anything to your potential employer. Teaching in kindergarten for ten years doesn’t make you eligible for professor’s work. To be fair, a professor would probably not qualify for kindergarten either.
But both of these theoretical applicants have some skills that allows them to shine in the other position. Working in education fosters a key set of skills that all educators share. While some skills are specific to a certain position, the ability to gain trust and influence students will probably be relevant in most positions.
This is why you should not focus on experience as much. Instead, think of the skills your experience gave you. Sure, you have to mention your work history in any case, but try shifting the focus to your skills.
For instance, if you’ve successfully helped children to settle a longstanding feud, you can write in conflict resolution. Did you convince parents to let their kid stay at your school when they wanted to withdraw? That’s great negotiations skills right there!
Compile a list of the skills you’ve gained during your work that would be helpful in your new career, and you’re one step closer to getting a position.
Emphasize Side Projects
No employer wants to hire someone without any experience whatsoever. You can surely understand that. You wouldn’t let someone who was a delivery man yesterday fix your pipes, so why would you let someone who was previously a teacher become a dean?
Well, what if that wanna-be plumber does have some experience? He helped out his friend with installing a complex pipe system at his home and saved his neighbors a couple of times when their pipes broke. This shows they’re not completely inexperienced. All they need is an opportunity.
The same goes for you. If you’ve had a side project or done non-profit activities in the line of work you want to enter, you should mention it.
Did you help to prepare curriculum? Did you mentor younger teachers? Did you run a non-profit event as the main organizer? If you did, that’s a great addition to your portfolio that shows you have what it takes to be in a leadership position.
Bring Up Education
You should definitely mention the formal education you’ve received since most positions in education require you to have a degree. But you should not stop there.
If you’re changing jobs, you need as much advantage over other applicants as you can get. To compete with people who’ve been in the industry for years, you have to show you have been there too.
Since you don’t have any hands-on experience except the bits and pieces that we’ve talked about above, you’ll have to go for education. If you have completed courses, trainings, gotten qualifications, or have been to a camp or conference where you learned from thought leaders, you have to mention this.
If you haven’t, you should consider it! Taking up a course might be the step you lack to get your resume noticed.
Delete The Irrelevant
Do you have a detail in your resume that you’re really proud of, but that doesn’t quite fit with the job you’re applying for? Sadly, it has to go.
HR professionals are super busy, and they have to review dozens of resumes a day. They would hardly be interested in reading every little detail about you. The person who reads your resume will skip it at best, and go to the next candidate in the worst case scenario.
Some of the things that you may find irrelevant at first can be useful in the resume. For instance, you can rewrite them to show off a valuable skill. But if it doesn’t fit, you have to discard it.
Choose The Right Format
Start off with making sure you comply with all the rules that the employer you’re writing to sets. It would be really awkward to make a great resume, and it gets thrown to the trash just because you didn’t name the file properly.
In the resume itself, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. The main one is focus.
Some experts say there are three types of resumes, chronological, functional, and hybrid. Without too much detail, the chronological type focuses on your previous experience, and the functional type focuses on skills.
As a career changer, you have to go for the combination of both. Start with mentioning your main skills and experiences, and then show your work history. Focus on your key functions in each position and try to relate it to what you’re applying for.
The decision to add your picture or not is a tough one. From one hand, you’re most likely going to work with people, so showing a face that conveys emotion matters. From the other, educational facilities are often hit with discrimination lawsuits and may discard all resumes with photos. Don’t add a photo if the employer doesn’t ask you to just to be on the safe side.
You Can Do It!
There are so many people who spend their days in misery because they don’t like their work. You don’t have to be one of them. Take this advice, gain some qualifications and skills for a new job, and you can make your dream come true.
About the Author
Connie Benton is a passionate freelance writer and regular contributor for HR Software. She writes about work, millennial culture, and creativity.