So many skills, so little space: How to craft a career-changing resume

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It’s inevitable that certain things will happen to us as we get older: we’ll keep learning, growing, and overall just becoming a more well-rounded individual.

It’s also safe to say that with this increase in years also comes an increase in experiences, skills, abilities, and the likelihood that you’ve either worked a number of positions in various industries or perhaps simply worked in the same industry for a great number of years.

So what happens when you decide to step outside the box and move into a new field when your experience is all across the board or all in one lone sector? Where does one even begin to market years of experience in one resume without publishing a novel?

How many resumes do you need?

You can read a hundred career blogs that will tell you to tailor your resume to match the specific job you’re looking for, but you won’t get that here. In fact, I’m going to encourage you to not do that.

If you are looking to branch out into a variety of industries it’s important to have a resume that reflects your diversity and ability to be a mover and shaker in any position you are considering. What I will suggest you do instead is focus on having one solid resume that encompasses all of what you offer, then use these three tips to help it get noticed:

  • Highlight skills and abilities first. Let what you can do shine! So many resumes launch right into your educational or professional experiences, but recruiters and hiring managers want you to tell them straight away why they should spend more time learning about you. Don’t hide your skills and abilities deep in a resume; instead start off with this right after your summary. This also helps deflect from the not-so-favorable job histories, whether that’s lots of jumping about or staying in the same place for what seems like a lifetime.
  • Take out the objective. Objectives are a thing of the past—start using a summary instead. A summary allows you to state what you’ve done and what you have to offer in a few short sentences without use of cliché statements such as, “I want to secure a position with a growing company where I can best utilize my passion for [insert anything here].” Congrats! You’ve now just made yourself sound like everyone else. Instead, try something like, “Vibrant, imaginative and uniquely experienced “Jill of all trades” with over thirty-some years providing professional services that spans from the culinary world and wellness industry to hammer-wielding and tax preparation. Ability to take on anything and a true asset to any company.”
  • Create unique sections. You’ve seen the typical resume sections such as Experience, Work History, etc. Why not get a bit creative here? It’s especially helpful for those with either a great deal of experience spanning across varied industries or for those who have held a number of different positions within the same sector. Why not break it down into sections such as Marketing & Communications, Information Technology, Culinary Experience, Customer Service & Sales and anything else relevant.

Still dying to get all specific for one job are you? I have a solution for you: it’s called a cover letter.

A cover letter should be specific to an actual position with an actual company and is by far the best place to explain in greater detail why the company can’t live without you. A cover letter can also be a great place to address head on what the recruiter has already seen, that you are either all over the board or have been playing the same game for a long time. Don’t let them come to conclusions on their own, but rather convince them why these are positives. Whether it be loyalty, passion and dedication (long-time employee) or adaptability, drive and multifaceted (been-there-done-that employee), you’re job is to accentuate your positives and play down the not-so-pretty.

I’ll leave you with one final tip: network like no other.

How many times have you heard, “it’s all about who you know?” I’m guessing more than once and that’s because it’s true! It’s even more relevant when you have a ton of experience in one sector or in many sectors. Utilize all the relationships you’ve formed over the years and ask your contacts for some introductions. Don’t be afraid to step out and start forming connections all on your own too. Social media sites such as LinkedIn make it easier than ever before to join like-minded groups of professionals seeking to make career changes.

Now go forth and be proud of your experiences already!

Rebecca L. Stentz is a driven entrepreneur with a true passion for helping others own their own talents and learn how to survive within the business world through humor and no-frills tips and tricks.

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Comments

    • F Miles
    • June 11, 2014

    This was a wonderful article! I am in the midst of attempting to switch sectors after four years in one industry and tons of education and additional professional experience in others. Trying to combine my various qualities has proved challenging to say the least!! Going off other advise I could easily need to create 40 different resumes but this makes so much sense!! Thank you for your insight, it really clarified an updated approach for me!!

    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful! Good luck in your future endeavors!

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