You are leaving the career you dislike to start something new and interesting. That must have been a hard step to take.
Alicia Canter One of the biggest challenges career changers face is demonstrating how their career history is relevant. The key is to downplay a lack of direct experience, while highlighting the skills and accomplishments which apply.
Standard advice for career changers is generally to adopt a functional or skills-based CV: But employers often want — and expect — the detail found in a standard chronological CV, and not providing it puts you at a disadvantage.
Sell your strengths Show confidence in your abilities. You may be at a disadvantage compared to others with more extensive, relevant experience, so showcase everything that positions you for the role.
Quantifiable achievements; community, voluntary, part-time or temporary work; specific skills or added qualifications all count. Gaps can raise questions, so either account for the dates with a brief summary, or find something relevant to highlight.
Be flexible with layout Prioritise key details such as qualifications, blue-chip company experience, or even a glowing testimonial. These can go near the beginning of your CV. Consider splitting your professional history into two or more sections, with anything relevant including voluntary or part-time roles positioned more prominently.
There is no single way to format a CV. The job description can help you decide what needs to be most prominent. One possibility is to use your skills as broad headings, giving supporting details under each skill, then following with a reverse chronological work history section.
So if you were applying for an office administration role, organisational or communication skills could be broad headings, with experience and achievements listed under each, then your employment history.
If your new career is not too different from your previous one, you could even use a standard chronological format, angling the details to match the requirements of the new role without stretching the truth.
Adding a profile can help you outline broad strengths such as management or leadership experience. You can follow this with a key results section to illustrate those strengths, or leave your achievements in your work history section. You can label CV sections as you find appropriate or even include new ones.
For example, adding relevant civic or community service, ongoing education or leadership sections can help you stand out. Consider including an explanatory sentence next to job titles.
Include a cover letter This is the ideal opportunity to explain your career change and highlight what you bring to the role or company.
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Want to change career? Career change CVs are the hardest of all to write. And if you want the best results then they usually need to be very different to your original.
Career change CVs take more time, effort and creativity than typical CVs.