Over the course of my two decades in the careers sector, I’ve recruited for top companies across Europe and North America. As an executive recruiter and recruitment consultant I partnered with talented people across countless industries to help get them in front of decision makers.
As a resume writing consultant and interview coach, I’ve worked with the 1% in helping secure them interviews with their target companies and helping them navigate the interview.
I’ve encountered many people attempting to switch industry sectors. All the ones I met had failed, that’s why they came to me, seeking me expertise in crafting a resume document or providing interview coaching that could help them accomplish their dream of switching professions.
Now, one of the things that always struck me about my clients seeking to switch sectors was the uniform approach they had all taken. Essentially, they were sending out their existing resume, but with an amendment made at the top stating their interest in the job they were applying for.
Now, you may think “well, what else were they going to do, they can’t just invent work experience they don’t have”.
Correct. However, who says they have to?
The reason why none of them were successful in transitioning industries was due to their resume and their approach.
Think about it this way, if you were hiring for a Safety Professional and you received a resume from someone working as a Plumber, what would you think?
Well, I’ll tell you what most recruiters think.
“I’m looking for Safety Professional….that says Plumber…where’s the shredder?”.
Why wouldn’t they shred that? It is a classic example of someone not being qualified for the job they’re applying for, in fact, instances like that are quite commonplace and usually always end the same way.
If you’re taking this approach to transitioning industries, you’ll never make it unless you really really strike it lucky.
So, how can you overcome this issue?
Well, it always comes down to one question. “What does the employer want to see?”.
You’re writing your resume for the employer, not for yourself.
It is your obligation to give them as much of what they ask for, or as close to it as you can get.
Now, what can we do to help sell someone like this into a role where they don’t have the experience?
The key is to stack as much directly relevant content in the first half page of page 1. That goes a long way to orienting the focus of the resume in the right direction and immediately creates a resonance with the employer.
We need to present your education, value, and experience early on in the resume. If you have undertaken education as part of your desired transition into your target sector, then I’d recommend building out a section dedicated to the education, including course modules completed, early on in the resume.
If you have completed an internship work, or if you have participated in any lab work at school that is directly relevant, then this will be built out as well.
Then, you need to identify the directly relevant and transferable skills from your current profession (in this case plumbing) that correspond to your target role.
By following these simple principles you can see how quickly we can start to build out a document that actually has some relevant content on it with the potential to sway the hiring team.
Beyond that, I’d be looking to analyze the other requirements of the role and build out relevant content around technical skills or personal qualities that position you as someone with the attributes they seek and of course the potential and commitment to forging a rewarding career in their sector.
The main benefit here is that we present your value early on in the resume so we effectively ‘sell you in’ on your existing skills, accomplishments, and experience while making sure we do so in a high-impact yet accessible manner.
In my Quickstart Careers Package, I have 3 professional templates you can use that has this structure I’ve just outlined built in. This first half page gives you that opportunity to draw attention exclusively to what you have to offer. In that package I also include the same 3 templates with random content I’ve added in to show you what a finished product looks like. I also give you a ‘How to’ guide on creating an ATS friendly version of your resume and an Interview Guide which could come in handy.
If you’re looking for something a bit more detailed, perhaps someone to walk you through the build out of the content, then you should check out my online course “Resumes for the 99%” where I walk you through each part of the process from beginning to end through a series of videos lectures, workbooks, and tip sheets. Check it out here.
You can also claim your FREE copy of my 90+ page eBook “Career Survival Strategies for the 99%” where I go into detail on a lot of topics, including top tips for resume design, content development, interview preparation, career marketing, leadership, office politics to name but a few topics.