New Year, New Career? Tips to make it happen
Here are our top tips.
1. Write a new CV
Firstly, be prepared to create a new resume that sells you for the job you want, not the job you have.
Yes, many of your skills may be transferable. However, it’s likely you will be competing against candidates who have experience in the area you’re trying to get into – which, at face value to a hiring manager, makes them a less risky choice. This means your application must present a compelling reason to shortlist you.
In 2019, we saw dozens of applications from candidates looking to change careers but nearly all of them used their ‘old’ CV. For example, if you are an engineer who now wants to follow your passion and become a music tutor, don’t apply for music tutor roles with the same resume you’d use for engineering firms. It’s ok to have more than one version of your resume and, ideally, you should be customising your resume to suit each role you apply for anyway.
2. Make it easy for a recruiter to see your relevant skills for the role
Don’t assume the hiring manager or recruiter will understand that because you were a travel agent last year, you will be a fantastic receptionist this year. Help them to see beyond your previous job title by listing relevant skills and responsibilities in the context of the role you are applying for. Hint: Use the advert to guide you – if the advert says you will be ‘handling a high volume of incoming calls’, then state on your resume that at the travel agency, you ‘managed a high volume of incoming calls’. This helps the reader to understand the transferrable skills you’re bringing.
3. Let your personality shine
When you are competing against dozens of other candidates for an interview, one of the things that can help you stand out is a demonstrable passion for the company or the industry. As recruiters, we are looking for candidates who are genuinely interested in the opportunity, not just people who need a job and are applying for everything. This is even more important when you’re making a dramatic career change.
In your cover letter and application form, make it personal.
For example: “I’m a passionate pianist. For 10 years, I have taught students from home whilst working my day job as an engineer. 2021 is the year I’m going to follow my passion! I’ve proven that I’m dedicated and hardworking so I can make this transition work if given the opportunity. I believe in the values of ABC Music School…”
4. Anticipate objections and answer them (briefly) in your application
To avoid being screened to the ‘no’ pile in the first pass, take care to ensure any objections the recruiter might have with your application are addressed. For example, if you are making a sea change, your current address might be in a different city to where you’re applying for the role. Briefly explain that you are relocating and the date you will be available to start. If you are moving from an industry that’s been hard hit by COVID, a potential new employer will be concerned that you’ll go back as soon as things pick up again, so may bypass you as a short-term risk. Explain in your application why you are making an industry shift to increase their confidence.
For more hints on writing your resume and interview tips and access to personalised service, check out the Talent Propeller Jobs resources page. Best of luck with your job hunt in 2021!