SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 07 January 2020How to Get Experience When You Have No Experience
If you want to make a career change, you’ll have to start with completely revamping your resume. Your new resume will need to showcase your skills in a way that applies them to the industry in which you hope to find your new job. When you craft your career-change resume, you’ll most likely want to choose a format that highlights your skills, because your education and experience may be more applicable to a different industry.
You should still include your academic and professional history on your resume, but package it in a way that hiring managers in your new industry will understand. Because you’ll have less professional experience and education than others who have been working in your new industry for a while, you may also want to incorporate non-work-related experience into your resume.
While it’s natural to feel overwhelmed by a daunting task like writing a new resume, you may be surprised to learn that many of the skills you’ve developed in your career so far are transferable to other positions. You’ll just need to get creative in how you present them. Here are some ways you that will help:
Highlight Your Transferrable Skills
The first step toward creating an effective career-change resume is discovering your own transferable skills. Find out what skills are needed in the new career you want, and then think about what skills you may have already developed that are transferable to that industry. Some high-demand transferable skills include:
Writing and communication
Teaching or training
Adaptability and resourcefulness
General computer literacy, as well as programming or coding skills
Active listening and learning
No matter what your current industry, chances are you have a number of solid transferable skills.
Let’s say you’ve spent some time teaching, for example. You probably have strong oral and written communication skills. You’d be good at giving presentations, explaining difficult concepts in simple terms, putting together visual aids, writing instructional materials, mentoring younger professionals, and managing projects. All of these skills could come in handy in a wide range of industries; the skills you developed leading students in the classroom could help you land a gig as a project manager, a technical writer, or a public information specialist.
If you have advanced degrees in your field of expertise, your transferable skills could even help you score a mid-level position in that field.
Don’t forget to mine your non-professional activities for transferable skills and experience for your career change resume! You may have transferable skills you’ve developed via volunteer work or even via hobbies. For example, writing your own blog teaches you writing, social media, and online community building skills, which you could use in a position as a content manager or an SEO marketing specialist.
Are you pretty good at using Social Media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, or others? Using these platforms, even on a casual basis, imparts skills that you could use as a Social Media Editor or Strategist.
Are you a board member for your HOA? This could teach leadership and decision-making skills that could help you land a role in management. Do you organize PTA bake sales or charity fundraisers? You could parlay some of the skills you’ve learned into a position as an event organizer. Get creative when thinking about your current position or experience and the position you’d like to move into – what do those two positions have in common?
Use a Skills-Based or Functional Format for Your Resume
If you were staying in your current industry, you’d probably just stick with that old standby, the chronological resume. That option isn’t the best one for career changers. Instead, you’ll want to explore using a skills-based or functional resume format. If you need some ideas to get you started, check out Resume Templates made on Canva.
This format highlights your skills, rather than your experience and education, which is important for a career change because your education and experience may relate to a different industry entirely. It’s important to begin your career change resume with a career objective or professional profile that sums up your skills and qualifications and educates readers on the position you’re currently seeking. That way, it’ll be clear to recruiters and hiring managers that you’re looking to make a change.
In a functional resume, you’ll focus on your skills and key strengths first, before moving into your employment history and education. This is why it’s so important to brainstorm your transferable skills before you begin drafting your career change resume. You’ll organize your resume by themes, using keywords from the job description in your titles, subheadings, or bullet points. Include any relevant projects you worked on, and quantify your success as much as possible. Your employment history should go at the bottom of the resume.
Spin Your Experience for the New Industry
Before you can send your resume draft off for free resume review, you’ll need to put on the finishing touches by describing your previous professional experience. In order to do that, you’ll need to use terms that hiring managers in your new industry will understand. Learn as much as you can about your new industry, the skills you’ll need to enter it, and the jargon used within it. This can help you package your experience in a way that looks appealing to hiring managers.
Avoid including past positions that can’t be made somehow relevant to the position you’re applying for, but feel free to include volunteer work or personal projects if they’re relevant. This is especially true if the volunteer work has given you experience in the industry in which you hope to obtain full-time employment. Finally, include your academic credentials, and don’t forget any certifications or recent degrees that qualify you to work in the new industry.
Changing careers begins with writing an effective resume that emphasizes your transferable skills and spins your professional experience to make you an appealing candidate to hiring managers. Once you have a new resume in your arsenal, you’re on your way to a whole new career.
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