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To Change Industries, Make These 5 Tweaks to Your Resume

By Martin Yate

All companies and all industries develop unique priorities, language, and "ways of doing things" as a natural response to the challenges presented by the services they provide or products they deliver.

Consequently, every company you approach is engaged in challenges specific to its industry, and when you want to change your industry sector as part of a strategic career move, you and your resume should reflect an understanding of the new target industry's issues and challenges.

Recruiters have an industry bias that springs from real concerns about a candidate's understanding of the building blocks of commerce in the new industry: the language that speeds communication for its services, the myriad problems likely to crop up in the job every day, and the skills and working relationships necessary to deliver on the requirements of the job.

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Analyze and Understand the Target Industry

Whatever your target job title in the new industry, that job exists - just as your current job - to identify, prevent, and solve the problems that occur within your areas of responsibility.

How you do this must demonstrate consideration for company resources, client and vendor needs, and your colleagues. This understanding will be the focus of both your research into the new industry and the subsequent positioning of your resume.

The Customer Is Always Right

"The customer is always right" and "Find out what the customers want and give it to them" are the two most important lessons we all learned at the outset of our careers. Now apply this to understanding the needs of the companies hiring for your target job within the new industry.

Take the time to understand the unique qualities of service that define your target industry and the challenges they present.

Identify people already doing this work who can educate you about these issues, and tell you why things work the way they do. Talk about these issues with contacts in industry/profession specific groups on LinkedIn, or your alumni or professional associations.

You can also search databases on LinkedIn and other social networking sites for people who have made similar transitions.

The insights you gather will demonstrate to employers in your target industry that you understand the issues unique to that industry.

How Should My Resume Be Tailored to a New Industry?

Your resume is the most financially important document you will ever own.

If you are serious about changing industries, this may be the right time to consider investing in a professionally-written resume, or at the very least, the proper tools so you will be equipped to repackage your resume yourself.

Here are five important tactics that improve resume performance:

  1. You must have a job-targeted resume

    A resume describing all you have done is too unfocused, especially for transition to a new industry, and it won't get pulled from the databases. Your resume must demonstrate a clear match between your skills and employers' stated needs for a specific job. When your resume focuses on a single target job and tells the story that best qualifies you for that job, you directly respond to employers' needs and your resume will become a more productive marketing tool.

  2. Always use a Target Job Title

    A clear Target Job Title, coming right after your contact information, helps resume performance in database searches and gives the reader immediate focus: "Ah, this fits the need I'm trying to fill."

  3. Replace Career Objective with a Performance Profile

    Replace what you want with the skills you bring to your Target Job Title. Whenever possible, use words and phrases common to job postings from the target industry.

  4. Add a Professional Skills section

    This is a list of keywords that describe your hard skills. It makes your resume discoverable in database searches and tells a recruiter that, "This person understands, and has the tools, to do this job." This section also tells you the keywords that need to be repeated in the body of your resume to put them in context and, of course, to maximize database performance.

  5. The first page must tell the complete story

    A Target Job Title, followed by a Performance Profile that addresses the abilities employers in the new target industry seek, followed by a Professional Skills section, make a powerful first impression and tell the reader that you can do this job well before the details of your industry experience are discussed.

Take Your Time - Do It Right

Changing jobs is tough. Changing industries further complicates matters, so take the time to build a resume that will give you the firm foundations for a successful transition.

And while you build, commit yourself to making a real difference at your current job. The days will go more quickly, and you will be able to interview for that dream job with greater confidence and more pride in your professionalism.


About the author...

Successful careers don't happen by accident. Professional resume writing expert Martin Yate CPC is a New York Times best-seller and the author of 17 Knock Em Dead career management books. As Dun & Bradstreet says, "He's about the best in the business." For FREE resume-building advice and to view Martin's resume samples, visit the Knock Em Dead website. Join Martin on Twitter at @KnockEmDead and also on Google+.



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