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How To Format A Career Change Resume

Aug 31, 2007
If you are seeking to change careers, the best resume format to use is the combination resume. This resume format is not chronological nor functional. It combines both. It is extremely flexible and allows you to use strategies in a way that would normally be considered wrong.

The difference between the combination format and the chronological format is that the chronological format resume is very easy to follow. The hiring manager will typically start to read the chronological resume at the bottom of the work history or professional experience section and will continue reading his or her way up towards the top to trace your career history. The heading depends on your career level.

If there are employment gaps, it will be obvious because it is difficult to hide breaks in employment using this resume format. This is why most hiring managers prefer the chronological resume format. It is easy to read and leaves little to the imagination. This can be a great advantage if you have been in the same type of position because it shows continuity and progression in your industry.

But what happens when you have held different types of positions across several industries? Some reasons for gaps in employment or holding too many or unrelated jobs include raising children, caring for a family member, illness, returning to college, corporate downsizing or merger, joining the military, and difficulty finding work for long stretches of time because of a tight job market or weak resume.

Hey, things happen. That is life. You cannot worry about the past. It is time to think about the future. So, the first thing you will need to do is toss your old resume. It will not help you to change your career. It is time to make a fresh start.

First, create a resume that clearly indicates at the top what type of position you are seeking.

Include a career summary section that highlights where you have been in your career, being careful to only mention what would be of most interest to this particular company. Emphasize your transferable experience and skills that match the qualifications of the position. If there is a job ad, study it and do your best to make a connection between the job requirements and what you have done. Do not use the exact wording.

Use a keywords section to list transferable skills so the reader can find them immediately. This is also important if the company uses resume scanning technology. This will ensure your resume is retrieved from the database in response to a keyword search.

Under your Professional Experience section or Work History. Again, it depends on your background. Then present your experience in functional sections such as General Management, Sales Management, Staff Training and Supervision, Budget Planning and Tracking, amongst many others.

Take all of the experience you have gained over the years and categorize it into skill or functional areas that the new position requires. If the company is seeking someone to manage budgets, and you managed budgets ten years ago and four years ago, but not in your last two jobs, then list the collective experience under a Budget category.

Continue this formula until each respective category has a minimum of four bulleted sentences or two two-lined sentences to support the name of the heading. It is a good idea to have at least three categories to show how well rounded you are.

Below this section, list the companies, locations, job titles, and dates. You can either create a separate section named Work History if you have already called the above section Professional Experience, or simply list the section without a main heading as part of the main section. It will be understood. Or, you can start the section off with the company names and dates followed by the functional categories. In other words, flip it.

The most common problem with this resume format is identifying where your experience was gained. But, that is the whole idea. If they are interested in what you can do, they will call you in for the interview. It is at that time you can explain the how, when, where, and why of it all. It will make for great conversation, which by the way, a job interview should be. A meeting between two people with a common interest, in this case the position, who engage in conversation in a professional manner.
About the Author
Ann Baehr is a CPRW and President of Best Resumes of New York. For more information, visit Best Resumes of New York or Resume Samples
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