With rising candidate availability making for a highly competitive job market, we offer this handy guide for job seekers looking to switch sectors.
With candidate availability soaring and fierce competition for roles, it may be time to start applying for roles you may not usually consider. Although this may seem incredibly daunting, this is an exciting opportunity to explore alternative career paths and unlock your hidden potential. However, in order to make this jump, you will need to repurpose your CV for a new sector so that it is tailored to the industry or role you’re applying to and clearly demonstrates how your previous experience is applicable to this new sector.
So, you’ve identified the roles that you want to apply for or the sector you’re wishing to enter. What next? We understand that it’s difficult to know where to begin so we’ve put together 6 career change CV tips to help you understand how to repurpose your CV for a new sector.
Know your transferable skills
Confidence is key when it comes to repurposing your CV. It’s very common for people to read through a job description and concentrate only on the elements that do not match their experience or skill set and immediately conclude that they're not qualified for the role.
The reality is that you may be less experienced than other candidates applying for the position. However, just because you’re changing sectors doesn’t mean you’re automatically starting again with a blank canvas. You will have plenty of transferable skills on your CV accrued through past roles that can be applied to this new role or sector. Your main task is to pull out the skills that are relevant.
It’s important that you only select the skills that match or support the criteria specified in the job description. Do not get bogged down with writing about all your skills as many of these will not be relevant and take up valuable space on your CV.
Showcase the skills that qualify you for the role and support this with quantifiable evidence from your previous jobs, demonstrating how you made an impact or contributed to the success of the team or project. This will help the employer understand what you will bring to the role and demonstrate your potential.
Be more flexible with the layout of your CV
When repurposing your CV for a new sector, layout is key. Prioritise the most relevant information in the first part of your CV. Use the job description to help you decide what is most important for this first section. Prioritising information in this way will ensure your CV is tailored to what the recruiter is looking for and ensure you stand out from the outset. The second part of your CV is where you can list your remaining employment history, without delving into too much depth. Remember a CV should only be a maximum of 2 sides of A4.
Alternatively, a skills-based CV is great for those who do not have a lot of experience in the sector they’re applying for. It’s important to place more focus on your transferable skills and personal profile if you have less experience. Use each transferable skill that you’ve identified as a broad heading to help structure your CV, listing achievements and experience under each to demonstrate how you have amassed such skills required throughout your career so far. You can then list your employment history in the second section in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent.
Write a cover letter
A personal profile or cover letter is your opportunity to tell the recruiter why you want to enter this new sector. Despite spending time tailoring your CV to the role, it may be difficult for the recruiter to decipher why you’re making this jump. A cover letter is the perfect chance to tell the recruiter what previous experience or skills have influenced your decision to enter this new sector. Highlight your achievements and transferable skills to reinforce what you’re going to bring to the role.
If a cover letter isn’t required, we advise you to include a personal profile at the top of your CV. Your personal profile should only be around 3 to 4 lines that summarises your employment history and future career plans. Use this section to help the recruiter understand your career change.
Define your career objectives
Why are you making this move? If you can’t answer this question, it’ll be incredibly difficult to convince recruiters to choose you over someone with more experience. Through setting career goals or objectives, you will be able to more eloquently explain why you are changing your career and convey your enthusiasm and passion for this next step. Outlining your career objectives will help you recognise which past experiences have influenced your decision to change career and what skills will help to achieve your goals.
Research, research, research
If you want to stand out with a winning CV for your sector, then do your research. Although there are many similarities between sectors around the format of a CV, there’s often a huge variation in the level of detail required, content and structure. Some sectors prefer a greater focus on past achievements, with a range of quantifiable evidence to prove how you have made an impact. Conversely, other sectors place more emphasis on the key responsibilities you have previously held. There’s tons of information out there to help you understand what exactly a recruiter in your sector is looking for, so take time to read guidance available online and review some sample CVs to make sure you understand whether your sector has any specific requirements.
Good luck with repurposing your CV for a new sector. Click here for more CV advice and tips from Fish4jobs.