How to Format a Resume for a Career Change

Evelyne Brown

The combination resume is the best resume format to use. This is not a chronological or functional resume format. It combines the two! It is extremely adaptable and allows you to employ strategies in ways that would normally be considered incorrect.

The combination format differs from the chronological format in that the chronological format resume is much easier to follow. The hiring manager will typically begin reading the chronological resume at the bottom of the work history or professional experience section (depending on your career level) and will work his or her way up to the top to trace your career history. If there are any gaps in employment, they will be obvious because it is difficult to conceal gaps in employment using this resume format. This is why the chronological resume format is preferred by the majority of hiring managers. It’s simple to read and doesn’t leave much to the imagination. If you have been in the same type of position before, this can be a great advantage (marketing tool) because it shows continuity and progression in your industry.

But what if you’ve held a variety of positions in a variety of industries? Raising children, caring for a family member, illness, returning to college, corporate downsizing or merger, joining the military, and difficulty finding work for long periods of time due to a tight job market or a weak resume are some of the reasons for gaps in employment or holding too many/unrelated jobs! Things happen, you know. That’s how life is! You can’t dwell on the past. It’s time to start planning for the future. So, the first thing you should do is throw away your old resume. It will not assist you in changing your career. It’s time for a new beginning!

To begin, create a resume that clearly states at the top what type of position you are looking for.

Include a career summary section that highlights where you’ve been in your career, being careful to only include information that would be of most interest to this specific company. Emphasize your transferable experience and skills that match the qualifications of the position (if there is a job ad, study it and do your best to connect the position’s requirements and what you’ve done). Please do not use the exact phrase!).

List transferable skills in a keywords section so the reader can find them quickly. This is especially important if the company employs resume scanning technology. This ensures that your resume is retrieved from the company’s database as a result of a keyword search.

Present your experience in functional sections such as General Management, Sales Management, Staff Training and Supervision, Budget Planning and Tracking, and so on under your Professional Experience section or Work History (depending on your background).

Take ALL of your previous experience and categorize it into skill/functional areas that the new position requires. If the company is looking for someone to manage budgets and you managed budgets ten years ago and four years ago, but not in your last two jobs, list your combined experience under a Budget category.

Continue with this formula until each category has a minimum of four bulleted sentences or two two-lined sentences to support the heading’s name. It is a good idea to have at least three categories to demonstrate your versatility.

List the companies, locations, job titles, and dates below this section. If you’ve already named the above section Professional Experience, you can either create a separate section called Work History, or simply list the section without a main heading as part of the main section. It will be comprehended. Alternatively, you can begin the section with the names and dates of the companies, followed by the functional categories. To put it another way, flip it.

The most common issue with this resume format is determining where you gained your experience. But that’s the whole point. If they are interested in what you have to offer, they will contact you for an interview. It is at this point that you can explain the how, when, where, and why of everything. It will make for interesting conversation, which is exactly what a job interview should be. A meeting between two people who share a common interest (the position) and engage in professional conversation.

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