How to Build a Career Change Resume- Actionable Guide & Resume Templates

Career Change Resume

Building a Career Change Resume can be an overwhelming job for you if you don’t know which steps are to follow. After all, a resume is much more than a list of your professional activities. There are so many things to consider and act upon before you submit your career change resume to a portal or to an organization. We are here to help you with this task.

Why is career change resume important ?

Changing your career in the midways is like taking a u-turn in the middle of a road. You cannot possibly know where it will lead you. But just like in life sometimes you are compelled to change directions, similar situations arise in careers too. Once you have decided to take a leap of faith and change your career path, it’s time to gear up and prepare yourself for the new journey. Building an impressive career change resume should be the first and foremost priority for you in order to secure the job of your dreams. Your new Career Change Resume should be able to paint a picture before the eyes of the recruiters to show them who you are, professionally.

This guide will show you the following:

  1. 5 Steps to Follow to Get yourself ready and Build a Career Change Resume
  2. Preparation process for career change resume
  3. Career Change Resume- Best Resume Format to Use
  4. Six Important Things to Keep in Mind While Preparing a Career Change Resume
  5. Samples for Career Change Resume

5 Steps towards Getting Yourself Ready and Building a Career Change Resume

Building a career change resume does not right away start with taking a template and filling it up with information. It starts with a little planning, thinking, understanding skill gaps and finally writing the resume.

Career Change Resume

Step 1: Picking up the Job Titles for your desired role (Getting clarity on what job you want to get into)

Before you start building a career change resume, you should have a clear understanding of your desired job roles. Depending on them, pick up the job titles suitable for these roles so that you can start searching and preparing for your new job using these Job Titles.You can do most of the task by yourself, understanding your reasons for change. Helpful resources are available online such as:

  • What career is right for me: They have career aptitude tests and career coaching services. Based out of California, USA.
  • Care Careers: Company based out of Australia, you can do a career quiz and do planning development.
  • Team Technology : UK based company, providing similar services.

Step 2: Understanding the skill requirements for the new job

Now that you have narrowed it down to a few desired job titles and career path, you need to do a thorough research about them. There are several ways to do this.

Method 1 :

Use my next move site, simply type what you want to become, or you can do a guided search, to understand what skills are required for a specific job

my next move website. www.https://www.mynextmove.org/ to identify what skills required for career change

Method 2:

Study the job descriptions carefully and try to understand what the job entails and which skills are required for the job. You should start building your career change resume only after updating your skills.

You may use job boards such as indeed or dice.

Enter the job title that you plan to take, and click on “Find jobs”.  You may ignore the location temporarily.

You will get several job openings for the job role. Open several of them, not just one, because the goal is understanding the role and not applying. You may copy them on to a word document and study them in detail (identify the requirements such as hard skill, soft skill and business knowledge).

Tip: The RezRunner tool might come handy when you’re trying to identify the skills required for a particular job. You can also put multiple job descriptions in the RezRunner tool to save tour time and effort and identify skills that are required for all jobs related to it.

Even if you do not have resume ready, simply paste job description in both of the below blocks and click run. You might get 100% match as you pasted job description in both blocks. See the hand and soft skills required for the job. Check if you have those skills or not.


Run Your Resume Against Job Description to Get Suggestions

Step 3: Assessing yourself based on the skill requirements (Bridging the gap)

It’s time to assess how much of the required skills do you have already. If you are missing important skills, it’s time you acquire them using appropriate resources. Take necessary certifications, learn, practice- do everything to make sure you are not lacking on those necessary skills. You may use sites like skillshare if the skills required can be acquired online.You also need to identify transferable skills- the skills that were acquired in your previous job and are necessary in your new job too. Thus, bridging the gap is your primary responsibility while building a career change resume. We will talk more about transferable skills later on.

Step 4: Picking a resume format

Now that you clearly know where you are heading and have sufficient information, it’s time to start on the actual career change resume preparations. You may pick a resume format that you like. However. In most cases functional format resume would be the best choice for a career change resume. You may also use combination format resume which is more creative in nature. We’ll discuss this more later on in the article.

Step 5: Preparing the career change resume

It’s time to finalize your researches and prepare the career change resume. To build a career change resume, you need to give priorities to the skills required for the job and showcasing how you can transfer your skills from your past experience. Take help from the sample formats given below and prepare the best career change resume for yourself.

Now Let Us Build The Resume (Resume Building process):

Step 1: You may start with a template. Alternatively, take section heading that are relevant to you from below list.

  • Email: Professional email to contact.
  • Phone number: Phone number to contact
  • Social Proof: LinkedIn or any personal website if you have.
  • Career Goals / Objective /Summary: Brief summary of about you and your goals.
  • Employment History / Work Experience: In reverse chronological order including skills required for the job
  • Education / Educational Background: Schools, GPA, can include internships etc.
  • Extra Circular Activities: Any extracurricular activity and may include hobbies.
  • Skills and Expertise: Usually technical skills & knowledge that helps you do well in your job. You may separate them into soft and hard skills and mention in the resume
  • Achievements: Could include publications, grants, and presentations in conferences.
  • Awards and Recognition: Any certifications, scholarships

Step 2: Fill details in each of them (Use action verbs to describe experience. Use Times New Roman 12 or Ariel 12 fonts).

Step 3: Include dates for experience and education in MM/YYYY to MM/YYYY format.

Step 4: Organize these resume sections in functional format or combination format. ( Read next section for which best resume format)

Step 5: Look and feel: Keep it simple, you may move around the alignment (left align, right align and center align) of the text to make it look different.

Step 6: You may use separators, just a line to separate each section. However, this step is optional.

Career Change Resume- Best Resume Format to Use

Choosing an appropriate resume format for your Career Change Resume is a very important task while applying for new jobs. You career change resume is the instrument that helps showcasing your skills, experiences, achievements and qualifications- basically who you are and what your professional profile is. Consider it like this: You are a commodity in the job market, and you are placing yourself to be hired by companies. In order to get hired and get the value you deserve, you need to market yourself well. That’s why the presentation is so important while building not only a career change resume, but all other kinds of resume too. It marks the 1st impression for you in the minds of the recruiters.

There are many formats available for building a resume, but these three described below are the most popular ones, and knowing their usages will serve you well, because with these three formats, you can build almost every kind of resume you ever require.

Let’s take a brief look into the formats and then decide which one works well for you:

1. Chronological resume format:

As the name suggests, in this resume format, your work experiences are mentioned at the very beginning- in Chronological or Reverse-Chronological order. This format is suitable for people with proper work experiences and no gaps in employments. This format highlights your work experience, so it might not be the best choice for a career change resume.

2. Functional resume format:

In functional resume format, the focus is put on your skills and qualifications, rather than your work experiences. This format is the most suitable for freshers, or those who have had a gap in employment or for a career change resume, because they focus on skills rather than experience.

3. Combination resume format:

Combination formats usually focus both on your skills and work experiences. It does not follow a strict order of sections, rather displays your portfolio in a way that gives the employer a wholesome idea about you, like describing a story. When you want to showcase your personality, you can build a creative resume in combination format. This format can be a good choice for a career change resume if you use it properly.

You probably have no/ very limited experience in the new job that you are applying for, so your previous work experiences with other jobs is not going to add much points in your favour. If you rather convince the employers that you possess or acquired the necessary skills and qualifications to get the job done, your purpose will be solved.

Although a Functional Resume Format is considered best for Career Change Resume, some times it can be mistaken as if you are hiding some information, so the safe bet is Combination Format. No matter which format you are choosing, the purpose is not to hide information but to show what is important.

Six Important Things to Keep in Mind While Preparing a Career Change Resume

1. Write a precise resume summary

Your resume summary is the single-most important element in your career change resume. Recruiters are human beings, and it’s not possible for them to go through every resume thoroughly. Most of the times, they just briefly scan through a resume summary and move on to the next. You might have all the necessary skills and qualifications, but chances are you are simply being overlooked by recruiters. The reason is the lack of a precise and to-the-point summary.

Your career change resume summary should be something that convinces the recruiters about your capabilities, and make them feel like even though you are new to this job and lacking experience, you still possess the essential skills required for this job, therefore selecting you might be a good idea.

So keeping that in mind, you should include as many details in your career change resume summary as possible, but keep the approach and language professional as well as nice-to-the-ears.

Including all relevant information within a few lines is a tough job no doubt, but with a little bit of practice, you’ll master this art in no time. Here’s what you should include in your career change resume summary:

  • Your current position and experience
  • Your professional and academic qualifications
  • Relevant skills already acquired by you for the new job

For example See this Resume Summary for a primary school teacher applying for a career change in the field of content writing.

  • English Literature Graduate having 2+ years of experience in primary school teaching seeking new career in Content Writing
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Flawless grammatical knowledge in English Language, having certificate from popular media house in Creative Writing

Here’s is another example: Resume Summary for a hospital receptionist seeking a job change in human resource

Senior Front-desk operator with 5 years of experience in renowned hospital, seeking career change as an Administrative Assistant in a corporate office. Excellent verbal communication skills and ability ofbuilding rapport with visitors and other employees, highly trained in organizing and maintaining information database and looking after office supply needs. Skilled in organizing meetings and official events.

Tip:Don’t use too many words or bullet points, or the recruiter will lose interest in your resume and move on. Only include the most important highlights of your resume in the summary, especially those that are right away useful for the new role that you are applying.

2. Unless absolutely effective, leave out the Resume Objective section

A resume objective is not a mandatory inclusion in your Career Change resume. This section describes your aims, goals and future plans. It is advised that unless you have something really substantial to say, you just exclude this point altogether. Including a pointless objective just to fill up some space is not recommended.

Resume objective is something that describes what you are looking for in an organization or in a job. It does not add much value to your desirability as a candidate. The purpose of your career change resume is to show the recruiter that you can provide what they are looking for, not the other way around. If, however, you are adamant in adding a resume objective, here are some tips to help you.

  • Describe your goal in short, precise form that highlights your decision of career change.
  • Don’t use superficial words or ideas, be direct in describing your future goals.
  • Don’t go overboard and start describing your future plans for the next fifteen years in details. Mentioning where you are right now and where do you want to see yourself in a few sentences is enough.

If however, you are absolutely going to include a Resume Objective in your Career Change Resume, you should use this field to show the recruiters why you are going for a career change, and what you are aspiring for in your new career. Although a Resume Objective does not help you much in the initial process, but in the final selections, a good Objective can add a few crucial points in your favour and ultimately help you land the job.

Examples of Resume Objective:

A:Chartered accountant with 1 year of experience seeking position in a reputable organization that will allow me to improve my skills and develop more experience.

B:Candidate with previous experience in IT background seeking career change in SEO position in an esteemed organization where I’ll be responsible for securing more traffic for the company’s online presence and successfully apply my IT knowledge, experience and skills acquired using additional classes

3. Don’t stuff your resume with irrelevant information

There’s no point in stuffing your resume with unnecessary information about yourself just to increase the page count in your resume. Short and precise resume with a crisp appearance is what attracts the employers.

  • Avoid adding experiences and background information that are not connected to your new job.
  • For example, Mr. Johnson has done his B. Tech from a reputable institution and he has working experience of 5 years as an engineer in various companies. But now he has acquired an MBA in Finance and wants to change his career to work in a multinational bank. For his Career Change Resume, he can add both his degrees (B. Tech & MBA Finance) and mention that he has worked as an engineer for the past 5 years. But details of his work experiences i.e. which companies he has worked on and for how long, what his job responsibilities were, how many projects did he completed- all these information are absolutely unnecessary for his new job in a Bank.
  • Avoid adding too much personal information such as detailed list of your hobbies and extra-curricular activities, unless it is relevant in some way to the job title.
  • For example, if you are a graphic designer, adding your painting and sketching hobbies in your resume might be relevant, but your love for music is not. Similarly, if you are applying for a management position in a company, your summer internship in an IT workshop will not add any extra value.
  • People also tend to add points like their Strengths and Weaknesses in their resume. This is absolutely unnecessary. Why would you let them know about your weaknesses if you are not asked to do so? You are not getting extra points for honesty that is uncalled for, rather the recruiters might take it negatively. Even your Strengths might sound like bragging if you add them to your resume without being asked to.

The most important elements to include in your resume is your contact details, a resume summary, your acquired skills and transferable skills, any work experience related to the new you’re your academic and professional qualifications, information about relevant diplomas and certification, and occasionally your hobbies and extra-curricular activities (that are related to your desired job role in some way). Sticking to the basics prove to be the most helpful thing in most cases.

4. Use keywords effectively to let the employers find you

Keywords are a set of words using which a person searches for a particular thing in the internet. Proper use of keywords helps in returning the most relevant search results. The concept of keywords in resume writing is similar to that of its general use. In job posting sites, recruiters search for potential candidates for their jobs using relevant keywords. They might be related to skills, qualifications, work experience or any other criteria. That’s why, it’s important for you to include such relevant keywords in your resume so that when a recruiter runs a search, your resume shows up in the search results. For a detailed analysis of resume keywords and how to use them, see How to use Resume Keywords to get more interview calls: Examples & Tips.

Including keywords in your resume does not mean just using some set of words haphazardly and placing them in your resume without any context. Keeping in mind that your resume is being built for both the automated systems and human readers, you should include keywords smartly in your resume. For example, you can use bullet points in your skills and add a few keywords related to skills- like this example here:

A BPO is employing customer service agents. They are searching for relevant resumes that mention:

  • Customer Service
  • Voice Process
  • Computer Skills

So if you are a candidate looking for such a job, mentioning these sets of keywords in your skill set will be very helpful for the automatic systems to tract you down. You can do keyword research for any jobs very easily online.

Tip: Using the keywords in their exact form is important. “Skilled in Using Computer” and “Computer Skills”- both phrases are similar meaning wise, but those who have used the second phrase instead of the first, will be more easily tracked down as the employers tend to use shorter keywords to find relevant result quickly.

5. Highlight relevant job experiences, especially skills that are transferable to the new job.

As you are building a Career Change Resume, it is understandable that you don’t have any experience related to the new job title. But you can still add your previous work experiences if it is in any way related to the new job. You have to act smart and only highlight the job descriptions of the past that are related to the new job.

For example, we talked about the employee before who was the receptionist in a reputable hospital and now seeking a career change in human resource. Assuming that a part of her job responsibilities included talking to the visitors and providing them with necessary information, basically communicate with them effectively, she can highlight this point in her resume and declare that she has relevant experience in handling clients and she also possess very good communication skills.

Taking another example, also described previously, about the candidate who was in IT but is now seeking a new career in SEO and digital marketing. Now his familiarity with internet and search engines are relevant in his new job, so he can add these descriptions in his resume, but whether he developed new software in his old job or not, or fixed bugs in office computers, are irrelevant experiences.

6. Don’t hesitate to take help

Remember one thing it is not easy. If you are not able to do all these by yourself, do not hesitate to get help from either from people who made career changes. If you do not know any one, you may consult career guides or resume writers. Even if you plan to take external help, going through this process will help you get more clarity, while talking to an expert.

Resume Templates for Career Change Resume

Take a look into a few samples to get a clear picture of what we discussed till now.


Once your resume is ready make sure you run it thorough rezrunner, to see how well your resume is optimized for job.


Run Your Resume Against Job Description to Get Suggestions

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