left Blue Sky Main Site


Career and job search help for creative professionals.

Career and job search help for creative professionals.

Blue Sky Resumes is a small team of professional writers and job search experts. We offer one-of-a-kind resumes, smart career advice and fantastic customer service. This is our blog.

Free Course

5 Secrets of a Successful Career Change

Read More

How to Write a Great Resume for Career Change

Writing a resume for career change can be a daunting prospect. How do you present your past and current experience in such a way that it appeals to hiring managers in a totally different field? Would-be career changers often get discouraged and give up at this point, while others make futile applications using their old resume and never hear back.

The good news is that there are many ways to tackle this problem. As a resume writer, I work with career changers all the time – here are a few of my favourite resume secrets.

Don’t use a functional format!

As you research resume writing for career change, you’ll no doubt come across various articles recommending that you use a functional resume

This is the term given to a resume that doesn’t follow the traditional chronological experience formula. Instead, experience is presented in terms of skills, with only a cursory reference to career chronology (usually placed at the end of the resume). The theory is that this resume structure will demonstrate your transferable skills without the distraction of seeing that your job titles are in another field.

The problem is that every recruiter and hiring manager in the world knows what a functional resume is and why it is used. Therefore, the trick won’t work. In fact, speaking as someone who has made hundreds of hiring decisions, I can tell you that a functional resume usually hurts you. That’s because the recruiters know you’re using it to hide something.

So please – ignore the advice to use this type of resume resume (advice which is only ever given by people who haven’t hired anyone) because it will cost you opportunities.

Understand the employer’s needs and concerns and show how you can address them.

So if you can’t use tricks, what can you do?

Every employer has specific needs in mind when they look for a new employee. In part they’ll usually want experience and, if you’re changing careers, you may not have this. But they’ll also have specific requirements about personality, ethics, work style, level of commitment, and soft skills such as communication or teambuilding.

To understand what these might be, study your target profession to understand that drivers of success. And when you’re applying to a specific company, get to know that company inside and out, so you know what personality traits and soft skills matter most. This will help you write a resume that appeals to hiring managers and HR folks at that company, even when your experience is less than ideal.

Present freelance and unpaid work as if it were a full-time position. If you want to be a web designer but the only design work you’ve done has been for friends and family, it still counts as experience. It doesn’t matter whether they paid you or not. The point is you did the work and you need to show that on your resume just as if you had been compensated. (And if you don’t have any unpaid experience in your chosen field, now’s the time to get some!)

Communicate your passion and dedication

Your resume needs to show employers why they should take a chance on you. Too often, people want to change careers without having thought it through fully. Employers will worry you might be doing the same.

Emphasizing any and all experience will help, but also it’s important to make sure that your resume clearly communicates your passion for, and commitment to, this career change. That will go a long way towards convincing employers that you will stick with it over the long haul.

For more help …

If you’d like detailed instructions on how to write a strong career change resume, check out our innovative new training program The Complete System for Career Change. In four comprehensive modules, I’ll walk you step-by-step through the career change process, giving detailed instructions on everything from writing a resume through networking all the way to successful interviewing techniques.

Read more about Career Change, Resume Writing.

Free Course

5 Secrets of a Successful Career Change

Read More
Blue Sky Resumes

About the Author

Louise Fletcher

Louise co-founded Blue Sky in 2002 after a career as an HR executive. Her industry experience includes music, video games, fashion and advertising. She lived and worked in the US for many years, but moved back to her native UK in 2012, where she now lives in the Yorkshire countryside. In addition to her full-time role with Blue Sky, she's a professional artist, so you can imagine why she couldn't answer the 'what do you do with your free time' question! Contact Louise by email.

Learn How to Make a Successful Career Change with Our Free Course

Want to change direction but not sure where to start? This easy-to-follow free e-course will teach you the 5 secrets of a successful career change. Lessons are delivered by email and the first one will arrive as soon as you register. (We never spam and we never share your email address).


Learn More

13 comments on “How to Write a Great Resume for Career Change”

  1. Aniko says:

    Addressing soft skill and personality type needs of an employer are so important indeed! Every job seeker should include such information on their resumes, in relevance with the position.

    Putting them together for a resume is also a great investment in personality development that goes a much longer way than just one job application.

  2. Sarai Hansen says:

    What would you say are the 3 most crucial soft skills a person can possess who is seeking a career change?

    What resume format would you recommend for those seeking a career change?


  3. Helen Greene says:

    This is a very useful article for them who are not able to build professional resume. Even I have gone through an excellent website for creating resumes. Please check it.

    professional resume writing service

  4. Workistry says:

    I love this article. This is very well written. You have truly enriched me with some excellent knowledge. We are also have sum similar blogs visit our blog – http://www.workistry.com/

  5. Jessica dwane says:

    Great article.
    But you are yet to address the issue of the new tech many industries are using to screen candidates – “THE ATS”. I got to know about the new tech here https://goo.gl/uSUCcK and I learned more lessons

    Please do not go for a colorful or graphics resume- use the ATS format

  6. Alfaro says:

    It seems to me that this resume would be more perfect for writers, copywriters or editors than for a designer. Yes, it is very creative and beautiful, but these pens seem to give a sign that the author of this resume is a writer, not a designer. But I don’t even know what could be a good symbol for the designer. But I’m sure that melinda danielle can use theatrical masks and crackers to decorate her resume. Аnd for quality structuring and text filling, I can advise you to use top5resumewriting.services and then you will have a really perfect resume!

  7. Karolina Palacios says:

    That’s an interesting point about not using the functional format. It’s really popular in the different guides from internet and is proposed as a universal ‘problem solution’ for applicants changing career. I’ve recently discuss this with my friend from Resumes Centre and he pointed out that functional resume is his favorite choice and it works pretty well for his clients. So what is the truth here? Are there any studies what template – functional or chronological – is better?

  8. The information can certainly help future job seekers. They can use this as a reference once they start creating their resumes. We can make a collaboration alongside our website JC Porter which also focuses on recruitment and confidential job seeking. Thank you!

  9. fred luis says:

    I have so much information to learn with your site. https://www.birminghamtreecare.com

  10. Joshua A. Price says:

    Great article, I unfortunately had some problems printing this article out, The print formatting looks a little screwed over, something you might want to look into. click here

  11. Cassandra D. Everhart says:

    It’s my pleasure to find this amazing website who provides mostly unseen information about every single topic which is i really like it. http://www.capecoraltreetrimming.com

Leave a Reply

Like what you see? Sign up to get our very best stuff sent by email

We hate spam so we'll never do it and we'll never share your email address with anyone.

Article Topics

Blue Sky Resumes

is a small team of professional writers and job search experts based in the US and the UK. We offer one-of-a-kind resumes, smart career advice and fantastic customer service. We love what we do.


Like what you see? Sign up to get our very best stuff sent by email

We hate spam so we'll never do it and we'll never share your email address with anyone.