En Route: A Career Blog

When You’re Returning to an Earlier Career Path

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
POSTED: October 18, 2011 at 9:14 am

Many jobseekers today are constantly reinventing themselves in order to stay afloat in our poor economy. For some, that means returning to a previous career when their current industry is downsizing.

While that can be a great move in terms of job prospects, it does present a challenge in updating your resume.

Your Resume Should Be Tailored to the New Industry or Career

Let’s say for example that you’re in retail management and have been for the past 15 years. However, before you were in retail you were an accountant for 5 years. Given the state of the economy, you see that there are more accounting than retail jobs available and you decide to go for it.

You create your reverse chronological resume (latest job first) and send it out, knowing you’ll be called in to interview. Days pass, then weeks without one call.

You can’t figure out what you did wrong. You’re a seasoned professional. You have the requisite accounting experience. It’s all there near the bottom of page two on your resume. Didn’t the hiring managers see it?

Probably not.

Your Resume Must Stay on Point with the Targeted Position

Hiring managers are very busy. They scan opening summaries and then the most recent work experience. They see that you’ve been involved in retail management, so they move on to find someone with accounting experience. They never bothered to get to the second page of your resume, because they don’t have time to search for important data.

How do you overcome this problem?

Rather than writing a reverse chronological resume, consider a combo type format. It’s a combination of a functional resume and a reverse chronological resume, and is popular with those in career transition.

After your opening summary – in which you state clearly that you have 5 years of accounting experience – you would have a section titled “Relevant Experience” – here, you would list what you know about accounting in subsections. They might be titled: AP/AR, reconciliations, payroll, etc.

Effective Data Organization is Everything

Following that section, you would have a section titled “Professional Accounting Experience” – this would be listed in a reverse chronological order detailing your accounting career. Following it would be a section you’d call “Other Experience” – here you would list your retail management experience. However, you wouldn’t detail it as much as your accounting tasks.

By showcasing your accounting experience first, you’re providing the hiring manager instant access to the data s/he needs to make an informed decision about your candidacy. You’re not forcing the individual to search for the data. Trust me, most won’t. They’ll simply move on to the next candidate.

Whatever path you’re taking in your career, it’s wise to remember to dovetail and highlight your skills as they relate to the job you’re targeting.

Darlene Z.

Darlene Zambruski is a resume writing expert and CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) with more than 13 years of industry experience. She has authored 10,000+ resumes in every industry and at every career level.

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