And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. —Unknown

Career changers come in two flavors: those who move by design and others by circumstance. The former, are often seeking greater job satisfaction and a lifestyle more in tune with their values. The latter are those who have been displaced by a shifting economy, technological environment, and outsourcing. Others find they no longer can physically or emotionally handle the rigors of their current jobs.

Whatever the reason, career changers face major challenges in preparing their resumes.

The first order of business when preparing your resume for the new career, is to identify every experience related to that line of work and get it into the resume. The qualifications section is often an excellent place to do this.

When you start describing your employment, you have two main goals: 1) show you were successful at what you did; and 2) emphasize any parts of your jobs which are related to your current objective. Your successes are important. Employers are dubious enough about hiring a career changer; they certainly want a person with a proven record of success. Essentially you’ll be saying through your resume, “I’ve been successful in the past, and I’ll be successful for you, also.”

Emphasizing related experience is important. There is no law of proportionality in resume writing. That is, even if the bulk of your responsibilities was in administration but you actively participated in sales, you do not have to stress the administrative side. Quickly describe that side of the job and move into sales as convincingly as you can without embellishment.

Career changers tend to have longer qualifications sections than those who have years of experience in the same field. Career changers sometimes do better with a hybrid, functional, or clustered resume.TM Search for hybrid, functional, and clustered resumes to gain a full explanation and several examples. Rosalyn (on the next page) used a lengthy qualifications section very effectively. The points made in Qualifications could not have been adequately made in the Employment Section. Notice how she emphasized related training and development experience.

Paula does everything possible to show she is sales oriented and that her efforts have consistently increased revenue. Although she has never held a job labeled “Sales Representative,” it is very easy to picture her being successful in sales.

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