Five resumé strategies for career changers

Changing careers can be one of the most rewarding moves you ever make. But if you’re unsure how to market yourself in unfamiliar territory, the transition can be extremely problematic. For many career changers the trouble starts with their resumé.

“When writing your resumé, your goal is to paint a picture of the ‘new’ you and not simply reiterate what you have done in the past. You can’t expect a prospective employer to figure out on their own why you’re capable of doing new things,” advise Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark, two of the career industry’s most acclaimed leaders.

In their new book, Expert Resumés for Career Changers, Second Edition, Enelow and Kursmark share several resumé strategies to help career changers communicate their goals and abilities more clearly and effectively.

Below are five of these strategies:

Strategy #1: Who Are You and How Do You Want to Be Perceived?

You cannot write an effective resumé without knowing what type of position you are seeking. Without this underlying knowledge, you will not know what to highlight in your resumé. As a result, the document becomes a historical overview of your career and not the sales document it should be.

Strategy #2: Sell It to Me … Don’t Tell It to Me.

Remember, you are the product and you must create a document that powerfully communicates the value of that product. If you “tell it,” you are simply stating facts. If you “sell it,” you promote it, advertise it and draw attention to it.

Strategy #3: Use the “Big” and Save the “Little.”

Focus on the “big” things — new products and technologies, system enhancements, major projects and customers, new applications, sales increases, profit improvements and more. Then save the “little” stuff — the details — for the interview.

Strategy #4: Make Your Resumé “Interviewable.”

Make sure your resumé leads the reader where you want to go in the interview and presents the right organization, content and appearance to stimulate a productive discussion. Be sure your greatest selling points are featured prominently and don’t devote lots of space or attention to information that is irrelevant to the job you’re seeking.

Strategy #5: Eliminate Confusion with Structure and Content.

The average reader will skim your resumé quickly and expect to pick up important facts in just a few seconds. Be consistent and make information easy to find.

Also, define the context in which you worked — for example, the organization, your department and the challenges you faced — before you start describing your activities and accomplishments.