Career Change Interview Tips, Resume Tips and More
If you’d like to change careers, you’ve come to the right place.
After recruiting for multiple Fortune 500 companies and top tech startups, I’m going to share the best tips I’ve found for a successful career change.
We’re going to look at resume tips for career changers, and then job interview tips for career changers.
Let’s get started…
Part I: Resume Tips for Career Change
We’re going to talk about your resume first.
The top thing employers want to see in your resume employment history is relevant, recent experience.
They’re looking at what you’ve done recently first, and they’re comparing it to the job description and job duties.
They’re asking themselves, “does this person have the skills and experience to step into this job and succeed quickly?”
So you really need to tailor your past experience and skills on your resume to highlight what’s most relevant.
And your employment history should be on the top half of page 1 of your resume.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you’ve never been a manager before but you’re applying for a manager position.
And let’s imagine that in your most recent job, you trained new team members and led small projects. It was only a small part of your job, but you did it.
That should be the FIRST bullet point under that job on your resume… since you’re looking for leadership jobs now.
Especially if leadership/management is the first thing listed on the job description of the role you’re applying for.
(Looking at the job description is a great way to know what’s most important to the employer).
So your first bullet on your resume would talk about training new team members and leading project teams.
You’d want to share specific results you achieved too, ideally.
What did that project accomplish for the company? Here’s a full article on how to write stand-out resume bullet points. Most people get it very wrong.
Don’t rush through your resume. Take the time to “tailor” everything and put things in order of what the employer wants to see, based on their job requirements.
As a career changer, you’re not going to have every requirement listed, but your goal on your resume is to show them whatever’s most relevant and useful for the job you’ve applied for.
Just do your best.
As one final adjustment to your resume, consider tailoring your intro paragraph/resume summary section as well. You can highlight a couple of key accomplishments from your career that you feel are most relevant in this new career you’re pursuing.
You could also mention that you’re looking to change careers in this section if you’d like.
Example intro paragraph for your resume as a career changer:
“High-performing marketing executive responsible for the strategy and execution behind dollar 105 million in ad campaigns over the past five years, seeking to transition into corporate strategy consulting”
Note: It’s not necessary to say what you’re seeking next in your intro paragraph/summary. I did it in the example above, but if you’d rather not, you could just focus 100% on accomplishments and highlights of your career.
This article with 10 resume summary examples will show you how.
Part II: Interview Tips for Career Change
If you followed the resume tips for career change that we just covered, you should start getting interviews in this new field of work that you’re interested in.
So you need to be ready to convince employers to hire you in the interview… all the way from the initial phone interview to the final rounds of in-person interviews.
Explaining Your Reasons for Wanting a Career Change
First, you’ll need to be ready to explain your motivations for changing careers.
Take time to think about why you’re looking to change. I also recommend focusing on the positive things you want to gain in this change, and NOT talking about the negative things or things you dislike about your past career.
Don’t badmouth or complain; just talk about what you’re looking forward to gaining in this career transition.
Showing Them You Know What the Job Involves
Finally, make sure you know exactly what this new job/career involves.
When I was first interviewing to become a Recruiter many years ago, I really had no idea what the job involved. (I thought I did, but I quickly found out I was wrong).
Not being able to explain what you’ll be doing in this job, along with why you want to be doing it, is a surefire way to get rejected.
So before you practice explaining why you want this career change, make sure you know exactly what you’ll be doing in this new career!
Showing Them You’re Ready to Succeed in Their Job
Next, you’ll want to prepare to highlight your most relevant (and hopefully recent) experience for THEIR job.
The interview is really about them, not you…
…It’s about showing you can come in and solve their problems, help them, and succeed in their job.
So keep the same mindset that you did when writing your resume (if you followed the resume tips for career changers above) – think about your past work and which pieces that will be most useful/relevant as you step into this new career, and talk about those things in the interview.
9 Career Change Interview Questions and Answers
We’ve now covered the best resume tips and interview tips for making a successful career change.
Now let’s look at some of the top interview questions you’ll hear when changing careers.
Prepare for and practice these questions so you’re not caught off-guard when...