A career transitioner's resume is challenged with overcoming an undeniable obstacle: no related experience. Instead, it must rely on recent education to establish expertise. The career transitioner must learn how to expertly position transferable acquired skills. Here are a few tips to creating an effective resume for the career transitioner.
Strong Targeted Profile
Your profile, which is a condensed version of everything you offer the employer that is relevant to the new role, must be powerfully written to position you as a viable contender. Located at the beginning of a resume, the profile is the place to state your case for why you should be considered. For example:
Transitioning from over eight years as a Production Supervisor to Clerical:
What I offer your company:
- 2 years' experience as an office assistant
- Over 8 years of employment - never late, absent only 3 days
- Soon to complete Conestoga College Office Software Certificate; achieving 80% so far
- Recognized for exceptional work ethic, reliability, congeniality and commitment
- Verifiable workplace problem solving, taking initiative, and troubleshooting
Transitioning from Production Floor to Law Office Clerical:
Strong and articulate communicator with professional demeanour, graduating from Conestoga College with Law Clerk Certificate by end of December 2008. Additional studies in General Business and Human Resources (22 courses). Maintaining a 3.75 grade point average in part-time Law Clerk studies while working full-time and fulfilling family responsibilities. Motivated, organized, and focused, takes leadership role in class, and offers an aptitude for law.
Relevant, and recent state of the art education belongs front and centre for a career transitioner. This section deserves appropriate emphasis, with possibly a listing of courses, a reference to a well-known instructor, marks achieved, awards conferred, inclusion on the Dean's list, or comments from Instructors/Professors. Insert a couple of relevant-to-the-job projects. For example:
Transitioner from factory manufacturing to law office clerical:
- Political Science
- Introduction to Law
- Litigation Procedures
- Mediation & Dispute Resolution
- Planning Law
- Municipal Law
- Ontario Municipal Board Advocacy
- Landlord and Tenant
- Small Claims Court
- Legal Research and Report Writing
- Job Shadowing
- Achieved A on essay in Mediation & Dispute Resolution course (working from existing legislation formulated opinion on citizen's rights being infringed upon).
- Committed to ongoing education: taking Corporate Law, Wills & Estates, and Litigation courses in the near future.
Highlighted Relevant Skills
A listing of relevant skills, gained either at past employment, through volunteering, or from recent education (which can certainly include self-directed learning) is not only appropriate, but gives the candidate a definite advantage. For example:
Transitioner to Clerical:
- Customer Service
- Administrative Support
- Time Management
- Office Equipment
- Computer proficiencies: Word, Excel, Office XP, keyboarding speed of 35+wpm
- Microsoft Office Suite, Photo-editing and updating Web-site
Chronological or Functional Resume
Neither option, in its pure form, is ideal for the transitioner. The reverse chronological does nothing to bring to the forefront the transferable skills, and the functional is often regarded with some suspicion by recruiters (who assume, right or wrong, that the applicant is hiding behind this format in order to obscure unflattering facts).
A highly effective format is the hybrid. Keep the chronological format and insert functional examples-relevant to the new field-under each position held. For example:
Transitioner from manufacturing to other:
Production Worker, ABC Company, Smalltown ON (1999-2008)
Reported to Production Supervisor as one of 20 production staff that produced 2,000 widgets hourly.
- Added to productivity by becoming cross
- trained on all 5 job stations.
- Participated in weekly meetings
- provided ideas for improvement (3 are now in use), brainstormed solutions to ongoing issues (contributed 2 suggestions now in use).
- Recognized for perfect attendance with 5 Outstanding Attendance Award; other years attendance was amongst top 5% in plant of 800 employees.
- Earned reputation for almost 100% accurate work.
The candidate has highlighted two skills that are relevant to many positions. Others skills that fit this category might be Customer Service, Leadership Attributes, Relationship Building, Working Independently, Pro-Active Examples...and depending on the actual position, there may be transferable hard skills as well, although less likely for the career transitioner.
Focus your resume content on the needs of the job and you will position yourself as a viable candidate for an interview. Career transition success can be yours with strategy and preparation.
- by Stephanie Clark, New Leaf Resumes
Stephanie Clark, a respected leader on the r?me scene, is owner of New Leaf Resumes. Recipient of an unprecedented three awards for outstanding r?mes in the Career Professionals of Canada 2008 Awards of Excellence, Stephanie's cover letters are included in Joyce Lain Kennedy's most recent Cover Letters publication. Stephanie's clients, serious about managing their careers, appreciate working with a leading professional. Please visit her website at http://www.newleafresumes.ca for more information, or call 519-505-5627.
Copyright?2008 New Leaf Resumes. Feel free to reprint this article, but please provide the author with full credit, and include the preceding paragraph.
Stephanie Clark, BA, CRS, CIS, http://www.newleafresumes.ca. An Award-winning and published Resume Strategist, dedicated to advancing your career goals. Please visit my website for more information on the services offered at New Leaf Resumes.
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