5 Things To Consider When Writing A Career Change CV


Changing careers is a fantastic choice for those who are feeling unfulfilled in their current line of work, or who simply relish fresh opportunities and new challenges. When you move into a new career, you may be lacking key experience, skills or qualifications, so it's important to craft your CV carefully to highlight your most relevant and transferable attributes. Here are five things to consider when writing a CV for a career change:

1. Research your new industry

It's important to have a strong understanding of your new career path so you can see what skills and qualifications are most valuable. From here, you can work on upskilling if necessary and you'll be able to craft a CV that highlights your most relevant attributes. You can research your new career by reading job adverts and paying attention to the skills and experience employers are looking for.

2. Create your new CV from scratch

It might be tempting to take your CV from your current career and edit it for your new career. The problem with this is that your existing CV is tailored to your existing career path. The format and structure might be completely wrong for your new career. By starting from scratch, you can be sure you're putting your most relevant experience and skills forward first, and that you're using a format that suits your new industry.

3. Add recent qualifications at the top of the CV

If you've developed new skills or qualifications specifically for a new career, consider putting these at the top of your CV. Recruiters spend just six to eight seconds looking at a CV before deciding whether the candidate is suitable. If your CV is filled with previous employment that isn't typical for the role, you run the risk of being unsuccessful. By putting your recent retraining and upskilling first, you showcase your relevant qualifications and suitability for the job right away.

4. Cut out or cut down irrelevant experience

It's always better to have a short CV filled with relevant information than a long CV padded with irrelevant information. If you have past work experience that has very little relevance to the jobs you'll be applying for, it's better to leave it off your CV. Alternatively, you can simply list the job role, employer and dates without describing your duties if you don't want to leave gaps in your employment history.

5. Explain your motivations for change in your cover letter

Your CV should be short and to the point so avoid including a lengthy explanation as to why you're changing careers. Instead, briefly explain this in your cover letter when you introduce yourself and describe why you're interested in the role. Keep the job description in mind and use the explanation as an opportunity to incorporate your skills. For example, someone with a background in hospitality could explain that their extensive experience in customer services has made them passionate about helping others, which is why a new career in healthcare appeals to them.

It's daunting applying for your first job in a new career, but remember that many employers will value your confidence and fresh perspective as a career changer. Take plenty of time over your CV to highlight your attributes and enjoy the exciting first steps into your new line of work.

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Alice Stapleton

About Alice

Alice coaches those who want to change career but don’t know what they want to do instead. She offers Career Coaching designed to help graduates, early to mid-level career-changers, and parents returning to work gain a clear vision of what career is right for them, and how to achieve it. She is also an accredited Coach Supervisor, and host of The Career Change Diaries podcast.