Want to change career?

How to write a CV to do just that!


Want to change career? How to write a CV to do just that!

Is it possible to have more than one career in one lifetime?

If you are as old as me you will remember when people went into a company after school or University and stayed there forever. Those are the people sitting on cruise ships right now living off their lovely final salary pensions.  Am I jealous? You betcha! But things started to change back in the 1980s and now it is positively unusual for people to stay with the same company for their entire career.  

The reasons for that? Well that’s not for here. When it comes to career progression some things never change and it is true that when most people change jobs they simply move to a different company or organisation within the same industry or profession.  This makes perfect sense: you acquire a set of skills, many of which are industry specific, and realise that you could earn more money with those skills with a competitor so you move.  So far so good. What I want to talk about however are those people who want to really shake things up and change industry. Cobblers who become Carers, Salesmen who become Surgeons.  And other forms of alliteration. 

I am in fact one of those people.  I went into retail on one of those Graduate schemes straight out of University.  Nine years later I went into the motor trade as a Managing Director.  Five years after that I went into recruitment.  I am still in recruitment, with some Professional CV Writing on the side.

In my CV writing work I come across Career Changers a lot, because, to be frank, people who want to change industry or profession find it tricky to write a CV when all of their experience and achievements are from a specific trade. I also see these challenges every day in my recruitment work, which is centred upon helping former military personnel in their 2nd careers on civvy street. It’s hard enough to persuade a recruiter or hiring manager to look at you when you are from the same industry; so how do you do it when all of your experience comes from a different line of work altogether?

Here’s how:

1. Really think through why you want to change Are you just having a rough patch at work? Does your job lack challenge? Is your new boss an idiot? These may not be good enough reasons to change career direction, as rough patches end and bosses move on.  Is the right thing to do to just work through it? Or is it the time to simply move companies in the same sector?  The key here is whether or not you love what you do.  If you do, well think very hard about a career change.  However, if your passions lie elsewhere, or if you have spotted an opportunity or really believe that you have taken this particular road as far as it will go, then a Career Change might be exactly the right thing to do.

2. Do your homework Research the industry and the role.  Do your due diligence.  What is really involved in this career?  Are there lots of opportunities for career progression? Can you get the training you need? Will you have to take a pay cut for a limited period to make the change? i.e. take one step back in terms of seniority to take 2 steps forward?  Are you prepared to put in the hard work?  Are your family supportive? Can you afford to do it? That’s a big one. Then look at the industry.  Is it secure? Is it in growth or decline? If you have a particular company in mind, make sure that you conduct the same table top research.

3. Talk to people doing what you want to do This speaks for itself.  If you know anyone who has made a similar change, pick their brains.  If you are shy, join some industry specific groups on Linkedin and ask the question: “What do I need to do to make this change?"

 4 List your transferable skills This is the key bit.  Look at the new career and work out what are the skills required.  Then look at yourself (get a friend or a Coach to help) and list your matching skills. I helped a lawyer make a career change into procurement. We did our homework and realised that in both cases the roles required great interpersonal skills, high levels of organisational ability and above all the ability to negotiate and to persuade.  We evidenced those skills i.e. thought of examples of where he had used those skills to great positive effect. Guess what?  He now works in Procurement. Just follow this example. Read my BLOG "It's the Sizzle that Sells the Sausage" for more on the importance of achievements.

5. Make an argument Imagine that you are in an interview and someone asks you: "why do you want to change career”.  What would you say?  Write out the reasons, think of those transferrable skills.

6. Write the CV A Career Change CV is less about what you have done, more about what you can do.  Bring all of the research together.  Use the argument you have made in a strong Personal Statement at the top of page 1.  This should reflect the research you have done on your new career and industry.  Then list those transferable skills and evidence them in a Key Skills section that will show the hiring manager or recruiter why a. you want to make the change and b. why you are the right person for the job.  Don’t forget - all of those skills must reflect the requirements of the role. That’s it! Easy! Just remember, a Career Change CV is about skills.  And it’s about the future, not the past.

If you would like some help writing your Career Change CV, give me a call on +44 (0) 333 300 1296, or email me at nick@theprofessionalcvwriter.com.

If you like my advice on CVs, Interviews and Job Hunting please sign up for updates, and please tell your friends. If you don’t like my advice – please keep it to yourself.   

 


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