Switching Careers? How to Present Your Career Change on Your CV

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If you have decided that your current job is not fulfilling and you want to change career, it can be difficult to convince potential employers to give you a chance. Typically, employers can be risk averse and will look for candidates with previous experience in the career path they are looking to fill. Being aware of this challenge allows you to write a CV that will help allay the fears of potential employers. A well-written CV can secure you a precious interview slot.

Relegate Your Employment History (well.. Not Literally):

The key to catching a potential employer’s eye is to redesign your CV to emphasise the positive qualities that you can offer. This often means placing more emphasis on your employment history that resonates with what is desired in your new career pursuits. On a traditional CV, your employment history is likely to feature prominently on the first page. When you are changing careers, consider relegating your employment history to the second page of your CV. Instead, fill the first page with transferable skills, voluntary work and training relevant to the role you want to secure.

Begin with a Profile:

When your employment history is not the key focus of your CV, John Lees, author of “Knockout CV”, suggests compiling a profile-led CV. This allows you to give potential employers some background and context before they begin reading your CV. Keep your profile as short and concise as possible while covering all the main points that you want to draw to an employer’s attention.

State Your Commitment to the New Role:

When you are changing career, you may need to take a step down the career ladder until you gain qualifications or experience in your new field. This may make some potential employers uneasy about hiring you. For example, if you have managed a team and are now applying for a more junior role, an employer may be concerned about whether you will adjust to this position in the hierarchy. Reassure potential employers of your commitment on your CV.

Highlight Your Transferable Skills:

Although the job that you are applying for may be in a new field, you will have built up a bank of transferable skills that you are able to offer your potential employer. Highlight these transferable skills on the front page of your CV. This will ensure that your transferable skills are planted firmly in the hiring manager’s mind before any doubts can arise. Under the header “Key Skills”, record the transferable skills that you can offer an employer in a bullet-pointed list.

If you are uncertain about the skills that potential employers are looking for, spend some time browsing recruitment websites. In the job adverts listed online, you will find details of the skills and competencies that employers are seeking.

List Relevant Training and Voluntary Work:

List all the relevant training courses that you have completed, even if they did not lead to a formal certificate or recognised qualification. Even though you may not have paid work experience to list on your CV, take time to include any relevant voluntary work that you have undertaken.

Steven Pearson loves working in recruitment. Through blogging, he enjoys sharing his research and expertise in the field.

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