Most people will go through a career change at some point during their lives, with the average professional switching jobs five to seven times throughout their working years.
This could be the result of long-held aspirations, drastic changes to the job market or perhaps for financial reasons.
Whatever the case may be, for many people, changing careers means creating a new CV that is tailored to their new chosen industry. Yet, one of the biggest challenges they face is demonstrating how their previous experience is relevant to the new sector.
So, if you find yourself in this situation, how can you adapt your CV to effectively showcase your skills, and how can you convince potential employers that you’ve got what it takes to thrive in a new industry?
Study your new career
Before sitting down to write your new CV, it is vital that you do thorough research and ensure you know as much as possible about your new career path. A good place to start is looking at some of the biggest and best employers in the industry and identifying what attributes they value most in their staff.
After this, take some time to get to grips with the most in-demand skills and qualifications needed for the roles you will be applying for. One of the best ways to do this is to study relevant job descriptions and make a list of the most frequently appearing requirements. This will give you a better indication of what employers in the industry are looking for, and arm you with the knowledge to succeed.
Start from scratch
Once you have a better idea of what employers are looking for, you can start your new CV from scratch.
While it might be tempting to try and save time by editing a CV you’ve submitted in the past, this can actually harm your chances of creating a strong application. This is because your old CV will have been specifically designed for your old career path.
Therefore, it’s best to start completely fresh and choose the content and format that is going to complement your new endeavour.
This is particularly true if you don’t have a huge amount of relevant experience and you want to lead with your transferable skills and achievements rather than your employment history. Again, some further research could indicate which type of CV format and structure is going to be most beneficial for your career change.
At this stage, you should have a much clearer idea of industry standards and any qualifications that could help to further your chances of landing a new role. You might also have noticed when writing your new CV, that you are missing some essential skills and qualifications that your new profession requires.
To combat this, you should continue to learn new skills and work towards new qualifications or experience during your job search. For example, you could sign up for some volunteer work that is related to your new chosen field, or perhaps you could take some online courses or even signup for classroom based study to gain the most important qualifications for your new field.
Highlight your valuable talents
It’s vital that you understand how crucial the first quarter of your CV is, as recruiters will only spend an average of five to seven seconds reading an application. Because of this, you need to grab their attention right away.
So, as you continue to upskill and gain new qualifications and experience, you must regularly update your CV to reflect this.
The best ways to do this is to add any impressive new qualifications, experience or achievements to your personal profile at the top of your CV. This can then be followed up by your skills section, in which you should focus on the important transferable skills you possess.
This can help the recruiter to quickly identify whether you’d be a good fit for the role and can be the difference between them reading on or simply putting your CV aside.
And with over 90% of recruiters using social media to screen candidates now, don’t forget to update your relevant profiles with your newly found skills
Cut out any irrelevant information
Finally, if your CV is looking sparse, it can be tempting to include more information from your past roles to flesh it out, this could actually be detrimental to your application.
It is better that you submit a shorter but more relevant and persuasive CV rather than a longer but completely irrelevant one.
So, you need to remove any information that is not pertinent to the new role or industry you’re applying for, or at the very least, reduce these sections so they aren’t taking up too much room or focus on the page.
When changing careers, it’s important that you find out as much as possible about your new chosen career path. This way, you can continue to upskill and gain new experience, and you can shout about your relevant transferable skills.
Just be careful not to fill your new CV with irrelevant information from your past. This will only distract recruiters from your important key skills and reduce your chances of being invited in for an interview.