Resume and Cover Letter Tips for Career Changers

Are you changing careers, and want to start working from home doing something a bit different to what you’ve been concentrating on work-wise in the past? If so, it’s important to carefully create a resume and cover letter that help to bridge gaps an employer or recruiter may see between your previous experience and the type of job you’re going for now.

When you’re embarking on a new career, it can be daunting and challenging, so reduce your stress and ensure you get job offer quickly by finding ways to show hiring managers you really are a good fit for their roles. Read on for some tips you can follow today to create a strong job application, by way of a quality resume and cover letter.

Address Why You’re Changing Careers and Preempt the Reader’s Questions

For starters, the cover letters, in particular, of career changers must address why an applicant has decided to move in a new direction, and specifically why the advertised position is at the top of their list of preferred roles.

Because you likely won’t have much experience in your chosen new field, you need to show employers and hiring managers that you are honestly committed to a career in their industry, and that you are willing to work your way up and attain additional qualifications if needed.

Your cover letter, and potentially the Profile or Objective part of your resume, should include a couple of sentences which explain your interest in the new area, and detail what you have done to get educated in it to date. This may include completing a qualification or specific training, and/or doing an internship or getting other practical experience.

Think about ways you can go about preempting any questions the reader(s) may have about you that arise as they go through your documents. It pays to put yourself in the shoes of the HR person or employer, and to compile a list of questions you think could crop up (if you get stuck on this, get a friend or former colleague to help you). Once this is done, find ways to answer as many of these questions as possible in your cover letter and resume.

Make it Easy for People to See Why You’re Suited to the Role

Next, you need to make it obvious that you are ideally suited to the role, even though you may be new in the industry. The main task here is to showcase how your skills and experience from your past career path(s) will help you in the new position, and enable you to deliver the necessary results. Make it easy for people to realize how you could make a positive difference to the team.

While you might think many of your transferable skills are obvious, and that readers will quickly see how you will be able to hit the ground running, these things aren’t always so clear to outside parties. As such, make it simple and straightforward for them to say ‘oh!’, by highlighting how your past work and results has prepared you for the role.

Use specific examples with as many numbers, percentages, and other demonstrable results as possible. Quantifiable information can make all the difference. Steer clear of vague, general language, because such words and phrases won’t show how you excelled in the past, and even worse, can make it seem as if you don’t really understand the job you’re going for.

When talking about your abilities, you might want to cover things such as your communication skills, sales or marketing nous, customer service experience, technical expertise, HR or finance knowledge, processing or data-management background, or problem solving, creativity, time management, negotiation, or administration skills.

To ensure your documents are as relevant as possible, conduct research on the firm you hope to join and tailor your data accordingly too. This is not just about technical skills, but also showing how you would fit well into the company’s corporate culture. Furthermore, leave out irrelevant details which may have been necessary in your old career, but which just don’t relate to the new type of work you’re going to be doing.

Get Fresh Eyes on Your Documents to Avoid Mistakes

Lastly, before you send any application submissions, always get someone else to read over your work. Even though you might check for spelling mistakes, typos, and other errors yourself multiple times, the fact is that it’s likely you’ll miss issues because you don’t have fresh eyes.

While you can get family members or friends to proof read your work, the best bet is to hire a specialized cover letter and resume checker who deals with these types of documents day in and day out. This service will not only be able to look out for general spelling and grammatical mistakes, but also guide you when it comes to the type of language to use, how to structure your documents effectively, and more.