Resume Strategies for Those Transitioning Careers

The U.S. Labor Department recently said that the average person changes careers (that’s careers, not jobs) 3-5 times during their lifetime. Whether you’re a mother re-entering the workforce after a leave of absence or you’re transitioning from the military to civilian life, preparation is key to ensuring a smooth career transition.

Revise Your Resume Format – If you are looking for a total career change, a functional resume will most likely be the best representation of your work history. Unlike traditional resume formats, functional resumes highlight your skills while downplaying your past jobs.

Clearly Define Your Objective – Do you have a definition about your ideal job? If not, visit Job Boards and look at job postings that mirror the career path you’d like to take.

The Terminology You Use Should Mirror the Job You Want For instance, if you’re in the military and are applying for a civilian job, your resume should list your accomplishments rather than your military titles. Without using military terminology, you’ll need to translate your military experience into civilian terms that employers will understand.

Create Functional Categories Once you’ve cleared up confusing terminology, you’ll need to create groups of generic, functional categories. Examples of these are managerial experience, sales experience, finance and accounting skills, etc. .

Find Common Ground For other people transitioning careers who are having trouble finding commonalities in their former jobs and their desired jobs, try taking a step back and examine generalities that can translate into other positions. For example, if you were a manager, list what kinds of projects you managed and how many groups you were in charge of.

Back to School Any additional education or certifications you’ve received that applies to your new ideal job should be listed on your resume, along with recommendations from previous bosses or higher-ups to confirm that you are up for the challenge and have the support and confidence of others.

For more information about your career, visit our Career Services Center. With a bit of prep work and research, you can build the knowledge that will help determine your new right career path.

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