About to do a complete 180 on your career? If you’re after a change of direction, explaining the rationale behind it to potential employers can be tricky. Not all recruiters look too kindly on those making a career change, perhaps thinking it shows a lack of commitment or a short attention span.
If you’re trying to craft the perfect career change CV, here’s some simple advice to get you on your way…
• Mind the gap – Depending on how spur of the moment this career change is, you might find yourself out of work for a period. If there’s going to be a gap in your employment history, think about ways you can fill it. If you’re changing industry altogether, you could either take a short course which will build your skillset in that field or find some relevant voluntary work. Whatever you do, make sure it is something you can use to support your change of direction.
• Try to see it from their point of view – You might not be doing anything as dramatic as going from financial services to opening a bakery, but try to make your career change seem logical. Look at your CV from an employer’s perspective. There are ways you can phrase things which will make the change seem like the next logical step.
• Sell yourself – We’ve all got our own unique set of talents, so really upsell yours on your CV. You will, of course, have a lack of experience in this new field, and there will be other candidates who have a head start on you. Know where your skills lie and make the employer see they can’t do without you. To find out the real value of your skills to a potential employer, run your CV through the ValueMyCV tool – this will tell you which of your talents you should shout about and which you might need to brush up on before your next interview.
• Play with the layout – The trick is not to draw attention to the sections which don’t seem particularly relevant. Play around with the layout of your CV so that the first thing their eyes are drawn to will make you stand out. You might want to shift the section dealing with your skillset to the top, thus bumping the employment history which might be less helpful to your cause further down the page.
• Play on the similarities – Make it clear you understand the differences between the industry you’re leaving and the one you want to enter, then turn things upside down. Look for those transferable or soft skills you’ve already acquired in your previous jobs and show that they can overlap with the skills you need in this new role.
However drastic the jump you’re making, there are neat ways of styling things out so that it will make as much sense to potential employers as it clearly does to you. Find out how much you’re worth and make sure they know it too, then they might just overlook your lack of experience as you make your big career change.