Making the decision to completely change your career is daunting. You’ll need a strong CV to really sell your skills alongside other candidates who might have more relevant experience.
But there’s no need to panic. Chances are you’ve decided to change your career because you have the necessary skills or enthusiasm to thrive in another industry – it’s just about getting that across on paper.
Have a look at these simple questions that will help you along the way to filling out a CV that could help you make the transition.
1. Are any of your qualifications relevant?
Just because you’ve spent years working in one particular field, it doesn’t mean that the qualifications you’ve picked up over the years won’t be relevant to another one. Perhaps your degree, or elements of your degree, matches more closely the area you want to work in – highlight these on your CV, especially if you excelled in the area.
It’s OK to go back further, such as A Levels as it could show your next employer that at least you have a basic grounding in the field you want to move into.
2. Are any of your hobbies relevant?
So perhaps you don’t have any qualifications that are wholly relevant, but perhaps there’s something you actively take a keen interest in outside of education and work. If so, make this a key part of your CV, rather than sticking it at the bottom under “any interests.” If you make this more prominent, it’s more likely to stand out to the employer and they’ll want to ask you questions about it should you get an interview.
3. Are you a member of any clubs/groups/organisations outside of work that are relevant?
Joining a club or organisation, or perhaps taking part in some voluntary work, which is linked to the career you’d like to have is a great way to build up experience while you’re still in your current job. Make sure to include details of such memberships, and again try to make it a fairly prominent part of your CV.
Include information about the length of time you’ve been involved with the group, what kind of activities you take part in, and the skills you’ve learned from it.
4. What are specific skills in your job that could be transferable to another industry?
Just because you want to change your career, doesn’t mean there won’t be something in your current job that will be relatively similar in a different industry. Make a list of the skills that you need to complete your current job, and take a look at those which could be transferred to those in the new one you want.
Don’t be afraid to be creative in your descriptions, but don’t stretch it too far. For instance, perhaps you’ve had a career in admin, but dream of a job in marketing – helping to organise a budget is a useful transferable skill.
5. Does your current industry have a lot of “jargon” associated with it?
Bear in mind the language of your current industry when writing your CV – it can be easy to forget that if you’ve been around the same kind of people for years. Ask someone unconnected to take a look at your CV, if there’s anything on there that they don’t understand, you’ll need to rewrite it in plain English, and, where possible, generalising your skills to another industry.
6. Is there anyone from your current job/industry who can give you a good character reference?
You’ll need to think about who will act as a reference should you progress with starting a new career. It could be that the person you first think of would be perfectly suited to helping you get another job within the same industry, but may struggle to provide a reference which details your transferable skills.
Speak to the person you would like to be your reference and explain that they should avoid any specific lingo or specific skills that only really apply to your current industry.
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