When you first entered your current profession, it seemed perfect for you in every way. You felt a passion for this field that you thought would never end. But after completing your degree and landing an entry-level job, you started to see some of the darker sides of the business. Eventually you no longer felt the same love for this industry and its culture.
Now you’re back on the market and you’re moving in an entirely different direction. And you’re not alone; studies show that most adults change careers at least once during their working lives. But when this happens, it can be difficult to explain the transition to potential employers in a resume and cover letter. Here are a few tips that can make the process a little easier.
After a few years in finance, you went back to school to study nursing and become an RN. That’s perfectly normal, but your healthcare employers will want a brief explanation. There’s no need to apologize or dive into lengthy detail, but you should let them know why you made this decision, preferably in two sentences or fewer. Include a quick explanation in your cover letter and a parallel statement in the summary of your resume.
As a hedge fund manager, you may never have changed a tracheotomy tube or performed an APGAR test on a newborn. But if you look closely, you’ll notice a strong parallel between many of your responsibilities. For example, success in both fields requires a sense of organization, an outward focus, high energy, mathematical skill, and the ability to handle multiple responsibilities at once. Make this clear to your readers.
While you emphasize the alignment between your distinct careers, show that your heart and your determination lie with your current field. Emphasize the accomplishments, skills, and responsibilities that relate to your chosen path and make it clear that you’re living in the present, not the past. You may be very proud of your sales numbers or employee-of-the-year awards from your previous profession, but don’t let these claims take up space that should be dedicated to your current ambitions.
Instead of listing your previous job titles by date, organize them by relevance to your target position. Keep in mind that your potential employers will be looking for reasons to trust you, and they’ll be looking for evidence that you’ve learned from your past experiences and you’re ready to take the reins in a completely new area with completely new priorities.
As a financial manager, you may have broad experience with a specific accounting software platform, and you may have also become adept at public speaking. Which of these will be more impressive to your healthcare employers? Think carefully and keep the “skills” section of your resume focused on the talents that matter in the present and the future, not the past.
Visit LiveCareer for resume building and editing tips that can help you make a smooth, rapid transition from one chapter of your professional life to the next.