Career Transition Resumes


Here’s how to turn your resume into an effective career-changing tool:

Step 1: Look at your past work experience with a critical eye. Determine the skills, abilities, experience, and qualifications you used or developed in your past that can support your transition into a new career focus.

Step 2: Identify what is still relevant. Decide what information you want to include in your new resume. Think of the new resume as your future and frame it in the light of what you want to do now. Keep in mind, the last 10 to 15 years can be considered relevant experience.

Step 3: Research actual jobs and organizations that are of interest to you and your new career focus. Then compile a list of your skills, attributes, traits, experiences, results, and accomplishments that will resonate with these employers and reflect the qualifications described on the position descriptions you reviewed. Develop your new resume in a format that best presents what you have to offer an employer in your new area of focus/objective.

Step 4: Think big. You may need to include projects and related coursework on your resume in order to create a flow of relevant experience that relates back to your objective. Also include volunteer work, paid or unpaid internship opportunities, community service experiences, or anything else that can be used to demonstrate your relevant skills.

Career Transition Resume Examples

Imagine that your new career goal is working for a university law library. You are graduating with your Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. You have a JD and worked as an attorney for 20 years before deciding on a career change. During your time in library school, you worked in three different libraries to gain experience in the field. You completed two relevant class projects that demonstrate your ability and commitment to your new field of law librarianship.

Below are two different examples of how one might pull the same experiences together in two different resume formats. Deciding which format to use depends on how you wish to present your skills and qualifications to an employer. While the chronological format is more common, the functional format can be useful in situations where you have gaps in employment or lack of experience in a particular area.