We understand that, these days, it is exceedingly rare for a person to stay in one career or industry throughout their working life. In fact, the average person now changes career between five and seven times.
When making a big leap like a career change, it is important to have a CV that acknowledges the fact you don’t have the same qualifications or experience as some other applicants. A career change CV is different to normal as you are presenting your skills from your current career as being transferable into your new one.
What format is most suitable?
In terms of format, there are several you could choose.
The most common for a CV is ‘chronological’ format. This is where you list your experience in reverse order, starting from your most recent role, to your oldest. This format is most suited to those who are changing jobs but staying within the same industry as it demonstrates your career progression and upward development.
Another format commonly used is ‘skills-based’. This is where you focus on the skills and experience you possess instead of a list of your roles. This will no doubt include details of where you were employed; however, it will mostly refer to the skills you developed and how they relate to your new role as is relevant.
This format is most suitable for those who are entering a career in a completely different industry. Employers will not be interested in where or who you worked for in a contrasting field; they will want to know what skills and experience you can apply in that particular role.
What to include?
Alongside the generic information, such as contact details, there are many other aspects you can include on your career-change CV.
Highlight the skills, qualifications and experience that you can transfer from your old career into your new one. This will include transferable skills such as communication, organisation, teamwork, motivation and more.
Also, emphasise your passion and enthusiasm for this career change. Employers will be looking for a commitment from future employees, so make sure your CV reflects your dedication and desire for that particular role.
Most importantly, tailor the CV to the job role. Some roles may require different skills or qualities to others, and you want to make sure you show you are the most suitable candidate possible by ticking all the boxes. Use the job description to address all the requirements and demonstrate how your skillset meets and even exceeds them where applicable. Having anything irrelevant on your CV will discourage your employer from taking you on.
It’s still good to include a section on your hobbies and interests to help demonstrate the type of person you are. It may aid employers in deciding on your suitability within the industry, and always serves well as a talking point during an interview.
Lastly, make sure your spelling and grammar are accurate. Employers value attention to detail, so it is essential to spot and rectify any mistakes before you send out your CV.
For help writing your cover letter, see our dedicated guide.