Imagine you’re a Construction Worker. You have spent the past 20 years working on construction sites in a variety of roles and want a change. You spend several months thinking about your strengths, what you want out of your next role and finally, having taken these and your financial obligations into consideration, have decided to become an Aged Carer. You complete the Certificate III in Aged Care and are ready to start applying for jobs in your new field. You quickly add your qualification to your current resume and are ready to go.
Or are you?
The answer is emphatically no – your resume needs far more of an update than just that. It may sound harsh but in the world of recruitment you are a product and your resume is the marketing tool by which you will need to convince employers to “buy” you. It needs to show employers that you are not only a perfect fit, but the only fit for their needs.
Before updating your resume you need to have a clear picture of what your “brand” is, what image you are trying to present to prospective employers. This image needs to not only be in line with the requirements of the role you are applying for but also be consistent throughout all of your application documentation.
But how do you do this?
- Attitude adjustment
The first thing to do is adjust your thinking about who you are and what you have to offer an employer. In the above example the Construction Worker will most likely view themselves as just that, and their focus will be on their skills and experience that are relevant to the Construction industry rather than the Aged Care industry.
- Skills, skills, skills
Given you are unlikely to have much practical experience in your new career you need to highlight the transferable skills you can bring to the role – i.e. those skills you have developed in one aspect of your life that are relevant to your new industry. Some examples of highly sought after transferable skills are communication, reporting, organisation, team work, accountability and attention to detail.
Be flexible in the order your present the information in your resume. You don’t have to list your employment history first, instead you should list whichever section is most relevant to your new career first. This may be volunteer work you have been undertaking or a qualification you have recently commenced/completed.
- Treat your education with respect
Speaking of qualifications, if you have undertaken training to move into a new career you can, and should, treat it the same as previous positions you have held. How? As you would list your responsibilities for that position, list the skills developed/practical experience gained during the training:
- Context is your friend
When listing your employment history highlight the related duties/achievements that are most relevant to your new career. Then put them in the context of those transferable skills we discussed earlier. Identify the terminology used in your new industry and use it to replace any jargon from your old industry (e.g. if you previously worked in retail and are moving into community services you use “clients” rather than “customers”).
Remember, everything in your resume should be presented as it relates to your new industry and not your old industry.
- Keep it relevant
Sometimes it’s more about what you leave out of your resume than what you include. Going back to our Construction Worker, among his training he will have obtained a White Card and several licences. These have no relevance to an Aged Carer position and thus should be left off his resume.
What should be included, however, is the First Aid Certificate he completed as this is something that would of benefit to an Aged Carer.
The moral of the story? Make sure you are only including information that is relevant to the role you are applying for.
Written by our resume queen, Christina. If you are making a career change and need help with how to tailor your resume, make an appointment to see Christina or any of our helpful advisors.