Because everyone should dig their job

You're Ready For a Career Change... Is Your Resume?

By Heather Eagar

You finally did it. You made the decision to leave a career that makes you dread every Monday morning and pursue one that you feel is your true calling. Congratulations! Making the decision was the hard part, right? Unfortunately, no. You've convinced yourself that this is the right move…how do you convince everyone else? It's time to work on your resume.

Resume writing for this situation can be challenging, to say the least. Why? Think about it for a moment – how do you go from a retail manager to a purchasing agent in a corporate environment? Or from an accountant to a salesperson? Not all career changes are that drastic, but you get the picture. Once you look at it from this point of view though, it makes you wonder how in the world you'll get a job in a new field.  

There are a number of things your resume has to portray to the reader:

  • The skills that you learned and honed in your past jobs transfer to the one for which you are applying.
  • Your strengths and accomplishments compliment the field and position (or type) of position you want.
  • You can do something other than what you are currently doing.

So how exactly do you do this? How do you convince a potential employer that you have what it takes to meet and exceed the expectations for the job – no matter what previous jobs you've held in the past? One way is by writing a functional resume. 

A functional resume is one that you don't see nearly as often as the tradition chronological and combination ones. That's because they are used when the situation for the job seeker is not ideal. Other instances may be returning to the workforce after a long period of time or job hopping. A functional resume is used when it wouldn't be as effective as if you had a solid work history, no gaps in employment and are looking for a job similar to the one you are currently in, if not a step-up.

Your resume may start out with an executive profile or summary of what you have done in the past and what you are looking to do in the future. This is the time to really "talk yourself up". You do not want to modest. 

An example might be:

Accomplished and experienced professional with a 10-year proven record of developing accurate sales plans based on intensive analysis and communication with integral departments. Combines astute strategic and business skills with an impeccable work ethic and drive for success. Self-starter that is enthusiastic, forward-thinking and recognized as a peak performer.

How do you begin to write the body of your resume? Take all your achievements, strengths, education and/or training and write them down. Which ones can you group together under one heading? Headings could include:

  • Leadership
  • Financial Management
  • Account Management
  • Goal Setting & Achievement

Of course, these headings are just examples to get your own wheels turning. They will differ depending on your own experience and achievements.

As you are compiling your lists, keep in mind that you are writing for you new career, not your present or past ones. Present this valuable information in a compelling manner that shows how you can be a benefit to a company in your desired career. Use strong adjectives, verbs and keywords to really get your point across. 

Now that you have the difficult part done, the next steps are easy. Include your work history, education and any other special training and/or skills that you deem important at the end of your resume. Even though the focus is on the main body of your resume, the other information needs to be on there for reference sake.

And that's it! You're done writing your resume. Hard work – yes, but well worth it when you consider what you are now able to tackle – a new job, a new career…a new life.