If you’ve decided that you want to make a career change, either to a new sector or a whole new industry, then you’ll need to start working on your CV as soon as you make this choice. Your CV is what usually helps you get your foot in the door and your first point of communication with employers. This is going to be a bit harder now, considering you are making a career change, but definitely not impossible! Your experience, skills and education are still very much valid so make sure you are looking at your current CV for inspiration. Keep reading for our tips and ideas on how to re-purpose your CV and get employers interested in you as a candidate.
If you’ve already decided on working in a different sector, then you probably have your reasoning. However, take some time and write down why you want to work in this sector and why your current job isn’t for you. Not only will this help you write your personal statement, but it will remind you of why you are doing this if things start to get a little difficult. We all have our own reasons for doing something and sometimes we might need a little reminder as a bit of encouragement.
‘Why are you looking for a career change?’ is also a very popular question with employers for these types of candidates. So, if you think long and hard about it now, you won’t feel flustered and put on the spot if they ask you this in an interview.
Start from scratch
I find, that when you are writing a CV for a new sector or industry, it’s best to simply start from scratch. Don’t completely throw your current CV away, have it next to you for guidance. But it may be easier to start a whole new document.
Your personal statement is going to be different. You’re not going to have any or a limited amount of experience in this new sector, so you won’t be able to talk about your strengths, but you’ll have to focus on your goals and why you are passionate about it. Your passion is what will drive your CV and make it interesting for the employer to read.
It may feel like you are writing a beginner’s CV again, like you did before you were offered your first job. However, this doesn’t mean that you are back to that stage mentally. You have skills, knowledge and experience that has got you to where you are today. So, don’t ignore it. Your working life so far is still important and just because you want to change sector, doesn’t mean it’s a write off. Think about the positives and work those experiences into your new CV.
As stated above, the skills you have learnt over the years and the experiences you have had are completely relevant. Before writing your CV, take a look at your current one and analyse what skills will be useful to the sector you want to move into. You can figure out if there is any crossover of skills from your CV to the employer’s job spec. These shared ‘keywords’ are very important for a CV submitted online and you want to try and include as many as possible.
Transferable skills can also include highly sought-after skills like leadership, time management, good problem-solving and many more like this. Employers are looking for someone that would make a good employee, but ultimately, they also want someone that will fit in with the team. Be a valued employee for the company and work hard. These may seem like general skills to you, but they are valid, sought after and will look great on your CV! To read more about transferable skills and how to include them on your CV – Click here.
Read the job spec thoroughly!
A job description can help you determine what will be important on your CV and what will not. It can help you figure out what language to use, what keywords to add in and will also give you details about the company you are applying for. It’s important that you read these and let them guide you when tailoring your CV.
Tailoring your CV will be very important in the early stages of a career change and a lot of people still do it for every job that they apply for. Tailoring the CV, you submit for an application will make the employer realise that you have done your research. You have read the job spec and taken the time to think about this role and how you would do it. It shows dedication and motivation. Career changes aren’t easy for everyone, so this could really help you.
The job spec will always include things the employer is looking for, including skills. You need to analyse this part of the description and pick out things that you can do and things that you thrive in. As always, your CV is there to sell your strengths and just because you are changing career, doesn’t mean you won’t have any.
Write a cover letter
A cover letter is there to be an addition to your CV. It gives you the opportunity to write a more narrative based description of yourself and your experience. Your CV should still be the main attraction, but if there are still things you wanted to include in your personal statement or other sections, you can include these things in your cover letter. It gives you the opportunity to not only list your qualifications but discuss them.
You can talk about your career objectives, how you go to where you are now and why this experience has led you to this employer. It’s about injecting a bit of passion into your application. Just like your CV, you should pick our keywords from the job spec and include them in your cover letter. Writing a cover letter can be hard at the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, it can become second nature.
Changing sectors may mean that you are not as knowledgeable on some aspects of your new career choice. Take some time away from your job search to look into training programmes, online courses, or anything else that you think may help you get a hold into the sector. Taking the time to learn new things will not only look great on your CV but will persuade the employer reading your CV and/or cover letter, that you are dedicated to this change. That you want this job and are a highly motivated individual.
Changing sectors in your career is never easy to begin with and it can take time and work to figure out how to write a CV for a different sector. However, it is completely do-able. If you are passionate about the change, it will show through your CV and taking some of these steps can help you get your foot in the door and noticed by employers.