Crafting a resume for a new industry can be a daunting task. To help you navigate this process, we’ve gathered eight pieces of advice from industry leaders and HR professionals. From identifying and highlighting transferable skills to taking time to understand your target industry, these tips will guide you in making a successful transition.
- Identify and Highlight Your Transferable Skills
- Condense Your Resume, Consider Entry-Level Positions
- Focus On Universally Applicable Skills
- Emphasize Industry-Specific Knowledge
- Avoid Retraining by Reframing Old Skill Sets
- Maintain Honesty About Your Experience
- Scan Job Posts and Tailor Your Resume to the Role
- Take Time to Understand Your Target Industry
Identify and Highlight Your Transferable Skills
Changing careers is difficult, but with the right strategy, it’s not impossible. A crucial step to embarking on a new professional adventure is crafting your resume. When entering a different industry, this might feel intimidating all on its own, as you probably don’t have any actual experience in this new field.
The good news is, that’s okay. All you need to do is spend some time considering how the education, skills, and experience that you already have translate into your new role. Chances are, a lot of the abilities and professional adventures that you’ve accumulated over the years have prepared you for this very position.
Start by identifying your transferable soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving, or leadership, followed by hard skills like coding, data analysis, or marketing. Make sure you highlight them in your resume, along with the professional experiences and projects that helped you gain these skills.
Condense Your Resume, Consider Entry-Level Positions
The finest resumes, like the best products, effectively convey your abilities and experience to potential employers. You won’t get even a complete page read in the few seconds that people spend on your CV. Making your resume too long dilutes the significance of each section. Just hit the high points.
Also, taking an entry-level position in a new field might be a great way to get your feet wet and learn the ropes. Find a position where you can learn from more seasoned members of the team, such as a junior position, intern position, or help desk support function.
Focus On Universally Applicable Skills
One crucial tip I’d offer is to maximize your use of transferable skills. As a life coach, I regularly underscore the importance of introspection and self-reflection to my clients.
When switching industries, these abilities prove invaluable for identifying and translating your skills to suit new contexts. For example, my background in psychology and emotional intelligence enables me to adapt to diverse professional environments by understanding, communicating with, and influencing others.
The capacity to empathize, manage stress, and practice mindfulness—attributes typically associated with mental health professionals—are indeed valuable in any industry.
Shifting your perspective from industry-specific competencies to universally applicable skills will significantly improve your chances of successfully transitioning into a new field.
Emphasize Industry-Specific Knowledge
Make sure you emphasize any specific knowledge pertinent to a new industry. Let’s say you’re interested in entering a highly regulated industry like healthcare, finance, or pharma.
Mentioning that you are well-versed in handling confidential data, protecting personal identifying information (or PII for short), and maintaining strong relationships with various stakeholders to get necessary approvals will be important qualifications to highlight. These can help you stand out in front of a recruiter.
Avoid Retraining by Reframing Old Skill Sets
As a recruiter specializing in the equipment and industrial sector, it’s common to encounter workers looking to change industries, certain that they’ll need serious retraining. Sometimes they’re right, but just as often, it’s untrue. This can be attributed to a lack of imagination.
Crafting a resume for a new industry requires reframing old skill sets.
For example, if you’re trained on a specific program or machinery that is no longer applicable, don’t toss the whole entry. Instead, rename the task as problem-solving or general engineering.
Leadership and collaboration experiences are universally applicable, as are office skills and communication techniques.
Go down the page until you’ve tweaked every section, and you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised at how many skills have crossover potential.
Maintain Honesty About Experience
Be honest with your experience and don’t try to “pad out” your resume. It’s much better to be honest about the level of experience that you have, rather than trick the hiring manager or lie about your experience. This approach can only ever end badly!
Scan Job Posts and Tailor Your Resume to the Role
One crucial piece of advice for crafting a resume when switching industries is to research the skills for your desired role carefully.
You can do this by scanning various job postings related to the role you’re aiming for. Once you’ve made a list of those skills, check which ones you already possess and highlight them on your resume.
Remember that your resume is often first screened by an ATS, not a human. Thus, it’s important to incorporate the relevant keywords used in the job descriptions.
This will increase your chances of getting past the initial screening and landing an interview. Tailoring your resume this way not only shows your understanding of the industry but also showcases your adaptability, which is highly valued when switching industries.
Take Time to Understand Your Target Industry
Understanding the fundamental skills, qualifications, and requirements for your target industry takes time. Identify the key strengths and knowledge areas highly valued in that field.
Review your previous experiences and identify transferable skills you’ve gained that can be applied in the new context. These may include communication skills, problem-solving abilities, project management, leadership, teamwork, or technical proficiencies that can be relevant across industries.
Customize your resume, showcasing your transferable skills and experiences that align with the new industry. Create a summary or profile section at the beginning of your resume to highlight your relevant skills and qualifications.
Emphasize accomplishments and provide tangible evidence of your capabilities, instead of focusing solely on job responsibilities. If you have any transferable or relevant qualifications, include them in a dedicated section or under your education.