If you have work experience in a particular field but are looking to change careers, you probably have a few resume format questions about how to write your resume without locking yourself into your current career path. Before you concern yourself with which is the best resume format, take an inventory of your skills and achievements to identify those that will be most valued in your desired industry.
After you’ve identified your valuable skills, you may have a few resume format questions about how best to highlight them for a potential employer.
Should I State My Desire for a Career Change as an Objective?
The most generally accepted advice regarding including an objective section is that it no longer has relevance. The more common practice is to include a summary statement that lists your skills and experience. Focus on your transferable skills and, if applicable, your additional education that makes you qualified for the change in career.
A concise resume summary comes before the accomplishments or work experience section. Use the summary to direct the hiring manager’s attention to the skills you’ve demonstrated that are valuable to their industry. The summary should be written in paragraph form with three or four well-crafted sentences that convey your strongest skills first. Sentence fragments are completely acceptable in a resume, and they will keep you from using first-person pronouns (e.g. “I,” “my”), which should always be left out. Make your summary about four to six lines.
Should I Use the Chronological or Functional Resume Format?
Because the chronological style is the most common and most familiar to potential employers, it’s generally recommended. However, in the case of jobseekers looking to change careers, the chronological-functional hybrid/combination style allows them to focus on their strengths rather than work history. Make sure some of the skills you list are in the job description posted by the potential employer.
The most common resume format questions for a career changer arise when writing the work experience section. While the chronological style is the most common, a combination/hybrid style resume can serve a career changer better because it highlights skills.
How Is the Format Different in a Functional Resume?
A combination functional chronological resume has an added section called “Accomplishments” or “Qualifications” before the work experience section. In this additional section, list six to eight bullet points that represent your strongest skills and qualities, taking care to match them to the employer’s job requirements. If the hiring manager sees their desired qualities in your resume, they’re more likely to call you for an interview.
As you compose your bullet point entries, keep in mind the importance of using action verbs. Even if you do your job sitting at a desk, you’re still organizing, scheduling or verifying information among other tasks. Paint a picture of yourself in action and show quantifiable results wherever possible.
Other resume format questions include whether the work experience is even necessary in a functional resume. The answer is yes. By listing your accomplishments and achievements to match the potential employer’s needs, you can focus their attention on your skills and accomplishments rather than on your previous employers. However, most employers still want to have at least a basic list of previous jobs you held, so include one.
If you’ve decided to create a functional resume, you may have more resume format questions than have been addressed here. You’ll find many resources for advice regarding changing careers at LiveCareer.