By Lisa Osiako
Rose, who took an undergraduate degree in Communication, found herself pursuing a different job – customer service. At the time, this was the only job she could get. After two years of working in the same place, she desired a change, with a focus on what she studied.
In her CV, the only professional qualification she held was in customer service.
“How was I going to show my experience in communication on paper?”
Most of us will go through at least one career change. Sometimes a career change is by choice — prompted by the discovery of a new dream or the need for bigger challenges.
What this means, is that you will need a professional CV to accompany your job search.
Here are some tips to help you navigate the career change process successfully and land a job in your new field.
#Tip1: Prepare for resume rewrites
A common mistake that job seekers make is to use the same CV that worked in their previous job hunt.
Customize your CV for every position you apply for, with a focus on your skills and past experience that is most relevant to the job you are applying for.
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Re-phrase and re-organize your skills to properly highlight your qualifications for this new path. Pay careful attention to job descriptions and use the keywords and language in your CV.
#Tip2: Be Specific
Zero in on the skills that are relevant to the person looking to fill the position.
Like Rose, your time at a call centre may be impressive, but not so much to a hiring manager looking for a communication officer. Your skills are what will set you apart.
Each job teaches us something, and those things can be widely used elsewhere. For instance, your multitasking skills or ability to work as part of a team would be useful in any position.
#Tip3: Leave out unnecessary information
Think of your CV as a movie trailer – just highlighting what will help you stand out in your job application.
Though large and unexplained gaps in your CV should be avoided, you don’t need to list every position you’ve had if they are not relevant. Your job here is to demonstrate the ease with which you will move into this new career. Stay focused on relevance as opposed to volume.
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Also, emphasize your commitment to the career change and your willingness (and ability) to do the work needed.
#Tip4: Highlight valuable experience
Have you done any volunteering, undergone training or taken up a course to further your education?
Think about projects that you may have done during your free time that allowed you to develop transferrable skills.
For example, if you’re an accounting assistant looking to move into graphic design, include the website you designed for a friend and the invitation card you designed for a baby shower.
You can also list down the classes and training you may have done. Show that you have a passion for the new field and have been taking every opportunity to develop your skills.
Do not be intimidated at the thought of being less qualified because of your professional background. Focus on showing your strengths and abilities in the most compelling way possible. Your enthusiasm and bravery in switching fields will come through in your CV and lead you straight to the interview.