Common Resume Mistakes for Career Changers
If you’re in the midst of a sudden, mid-life swerve away from one career path and onto another, then you can count yourself among the brave few who aren’t afraid to face new things and tackle new challenges. It’s time to let go of the past and embrace the future, and as you do so, always remember that it’s never too late for revision.
That being the case, it may be a good idea to glance back over your resume and address some of these common errors that often create obstacles for mid-career beginners who are trying to step into a new field.
1. Ignoring and omitting too many prior accomplishments
You’ve spent the last ten years building a career in public health administration, and now you’ve gone back to school and earned a degree in accounting. But before you decide that your healthcare skills and accomplishments have absolutely no bearing on your new field, take a closer look.
Experienced, intelligent managers won’t scratch their heads or laugh at your non-accounting work history. They know what a job transition is, and they know how to draw the line between your old skills and your new ones. So give them a chance to do so. Those budgets you drafted and teams you led can showcase your talent with quantitative analysis, problem solving, leadership, and many other challenges that you’ll face in the accounting field that lies ahead.
2. Including and describing too many prior accomplishments
You’ll have to understand the fine line between transferable and non-transferable skill sets if you want reviewers to read your resume all the way to the end and give you a fair chance against other, more experienced candidates. Certain details may actually have no bearing on your future success at all, and those are the ones you can omit in the interest of clarity and efficiency.
3. Drawing faulty connections between old skills and new ones
Of course, budget management, scheduling, team leadership, multitasking, and problem solving are valuable skills in almost every field. But if you’ve moving from pre-K education to animal husbandry, or financial analysis to the culinary arts, help your reviewers out by clarifying some of the less obvious connections between the old field and the new. If you allow or expect them to draw some of these lines on their own, that may not happen.
4. Apologizing too much
Keep your resume focused on your enthusiasm and interest in the future. Don’t dwell on mismatches between your targeted job and your past. Yes, it’s true that the other applicants in the stack may have more accounting experience than you do. But let that lie and stay focused on your passion, your interest, your curiosity, and your willingness to keep learning and growing.
5. Missing opportunities in the summary section
When you’re in the midst of a job transition, your summary section can make or break your chances. The right tone in this introductory paragraph can mean the difference between an aimless drifter who failed at one career and is now settling for a second choice, and a fascinating, dynamic person who isn’t afraid of change and knows what she wants. Make sure you emphasize what you have to contribute, not what you have to gain. And stay focused on the positive side of your old career, your new one, and the transition process itself.
Let Nothing Stand in Your Way
As you forge a path into the uncharted territory of your new career, let LiveCareer act as your guide. Use the site’s career interest and career aptitude tests to choose your new destination, and then use the online cover letter and resume builders to help you get there.