How should my CV look if I'm changing career?

Mon, 17/09/2012 - 13:01 -- nick

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Career change CVs are completely different animals. Your current CV played an effective part in getting you the job you have now, but it might not work again in another industry. For this reason, you will almost certainly have to work through it and tailor it to the needs of the sector you're hoping to break into.

As ever, communication is vital. Get out there and network with people in your target industry. Check job sites for the kind of roles that are available, and see what skills, qualifications or other attributes are being asked for. Work through all your experience and transferable skills, and begin to create a portrait of yourself that potential employers will be able to relate to.

Ask yourself “Why would someone take a chance on me?” and use your answer as the main structure to build your CV around.

Making things clear
Based on your research into your prospective employer's industry, write down a list of the qualifications and skills you have that are most likely to appeal to your potential employer.

Because your previous jobs may not have any direct relevance to your new career, it's worth switching your CV around so the skills section is the first thing a reader sees. Make it clear that you're aware of the differences between your old industry and your target one, and these skills are the reason why your switch will be a success.

You don't need to give an in depth reason for why you're looking to change career – this is a discussion that should be saved for the interview.

Use your imagination and common sense and exploit every positive you can find to build up a picture that will appeal to your future employer. Your lack of experience in their industry will be irrelevant if the rest of the CV proves your value.

Be aware that the person reading your CV may not understand technical jargon from your past roles, so be prepared to dumb-down some areas so it has a broader appeal.

The job of a career change CV is to make your switch seem like the logical next step, enabling future employers to see why they should give you a shot at succeeding in a new field.

Getting your name out there
Networking is of great value here, so see if you can get into a relevant business group or club. It also pays to ask around amongst friends and colleagues to see whether they have any contacts that may be of help.

As every industry has its own way of doing things, these contacts will be invaluable when it comes to giving you pointers on perfecting your document. They will quickly notice anything missing that is vital in their sector.

Making prospective applications and posting your CV on Monster will put it in front of employers who are on the look out for new talent. Making the switch to a new company is always easier if they come to you rather than you chasing after them!