How to spin your CV for a career in a new industry
Nearly 90% of the Filipino respondents for Monster’s #IMadeTheSwitch survey expressed a desire to get out of their comfort zones and explore alternative careers. There’s a variety of reasons motivating people to go out there and try their hand at something unfamiliar: 54% cited financial reasons, while 24% said their current jobs did not live up to their expectations.
As daunting as switching industries may seem at first, there are people who have flourished after entering a different line of work. But before you send your résumé to prospective employers in an exciting new field, you must give it a fresh lease of life. Here’s how to go about it:
Switch up the format: The industry you’re switching over to may follow a specific résumé format that requires you to arrange your information in a certain way. Given that you’re a newcomer pitted against several other qualified candidates with previous experience in the field you wish to relocate to, it’s best to follow the rules of that industry. Display to the hiring managers that you’re familiar with how things work in your dream industry, and that you’re willing to learn from scratch. If there is no industry format, either seek advice from friends already in the industry on how to go about it, or use a functional résumé style that highlights your skills, rather than experience.
Call attention to your transferable skills: Often, the job description of the new position you’re applying to may call for some skills you do not possess – at least, not yet. But fret not, as there is a list of abilities which professionals hailing from any given industry are expected to possess. Indeed, 87% Filipino respondents were confident their current capabilities are more than enough to help them navigate an unfamiliar career route, while 66% wished to try something different solely because they wanted to boost their existing skill set. When composing your résumé for a field you have minimal experience in, it all boils down to highlighting your relevant transferable skills. Impress upon the hiring manager your versatility and how your previous work experience has equipped you with tools that are useful in any industry.
Give the content a facelift: Edit the content of your résumé to fit the needs of your new industry. Read through several job descriptions, pick out recurring keywords and use them to tweak your text accordingly. For instance, if you’re moving from a managerial role to a creative one, use words such as “designed”, “curated” and “communicated” when describing your previous work experience. Also, be sure to remove all jargon related to your former workplace or industry from your revamped résumé.
Include a cover letter: As you would for other job positions, include a cover letter. However, this cover letter should be a little different from the others you’ve penned in your life in terms of content – you need to make it clear to the hiring managers and headhunters that you’ve switched industries and are looking to forge a career path in a new field. Provide adequate explanations regarding what caused you to jump ship, accentuate how your current skill set would be applicable in your new career, and the diverse perspectives you would bring to the table as a result of your alternative background. If you’ve been taking additional courses to supplement your knowledge, let them know.
By tailoring your résumé to your new industry’s expectations and leveraging the cover letter to make your case, you’ll be able to convince recruiters and hiring managers to give you a shot.