How To Write a Career Change CV in 5 Steps (With Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 25 November 2022

Published 29 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

At some point in your career, you might decide to change your career path. A career change is a common decision, and if you're planning to change your career, then it's best to prepare for all the challenges you might face. An important part of a successful career change is reworking important documents like your cover letter and CV. In this article, we explain how you can update your CV in case you're planning on changing your career, along with an example below of a career change CV that you can adapt to your own situation.

How to write a career change CV

When you're preparing a career change CV, remember that this means you're going to be competing with people who may have been on the same career path since the beginning, and you may be required to work that much harder to succeed. Therefore, take as much time as you need when editing and updating your CV to make sure that it's tailored to the new industry that you're planning to apply to. The various steps associated with writing a CV when you've recently changed careers are discussed below:

1. Use the appropriate format for your CV

Whenever writing a CV, it's important to choose the right format that can help you present yourself to the employer in the most favourable manner. This becomes more important when you're preparing a CV for a career change, and the most appropriate format is the combination format. It allows you to mention all the skills from your previous career that are relevant in your new job, and this is given more importance in your career change CV over your work experience because this might not be as directly relevant.

What a combination CV does through this emphasis on skills is that it shows employers what you can bring to the job and how you can be a unique asset to the company over what other applicants might be offering. It also addresses the problem of your lack of experience by presenting your diverse and transferable set of skills. Your work experience is among the last sections on this format of a career change CV, which is effective because it directs the attention of the manager to where you want it to go.

Related:

  • The complete CV format guide: examples and tips

  • 6 universal rules for writing your CV and why they're benefits

2. Include a summary or objective on your CV

Your objective is a key part of a combination CV because it enables you to focus on your skills, both technical and interpersonal, which might be relevant to the particular role that you're applying for. Tailor your objective for each role since it allows the manager to gain insight into you as a person and an employee without having to read the entire CV. Place this section at the very top of your CV, just below your name and contact information sections.

Everything you mention in this section of your career change CV has to be directly relevant to the position you've applied for. Be as concise as you can, but also cover all the important points so that you can ensure a positive reaction from the recruiter when they read it. A good way of determining what to write in your objective is to look at the job description, identify what skills the employers are particularly interested in, and then emphasise those throughout your CV to convince them of your suitability for the role.

Related: CV summary examples (and 5 steps for how to write one)

3. Add your skills to the CV

Follow your objective with the skills section. This ensures that the manager is still focusing on your skills and does not dwell on the fact that you lack significant work experience that's directly relevant to the position. Skills can include both technical and interpersonal skills, and while you can mention them together, it's generally better to create separate categories.

In addition to this, it might also be a good idea for you to mention just how proficient you are in each of the skills you mention on your career change CV. The purpose of stating your skills is to direct the recruiter's focus onto this section but to also get past the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which scans CVs to see whether they have the relevant skills that are required for the job. Try to align your skills section with the job description so that you give the ATS exactly what it's looking for.

Related:

  • 10 best skills to include on a CV

  • 11 things you should know to beat applicant tracking systems

4. Showcase your certifications

Since you're applying to a completely different field, you might not have a lot of certifications that are relevant to the industry. It can be a good idea for you to consider completing a few online courses or certification programmes that might better prepare you for the technical aspects of the job. This has two advantages: the first is that it teaches you the essential skills that you're going to need in the job, thereby shortening your in-work learning time.

The second, more important advantage is that whenever a recruiter looks at your career change CV, they're going to see that you took the time and put in the effort to learn something about the industry before applying, even though you have a different professional or educational background. This demonstrates proactivity and initiative and is highly valued by employers. Besides this, it gives you a fundamental advantage over other applicants. Since the courses or certification programmes are recent and you are new to the industry, you provide a fresh perspective and are more likely to be up-to-date with the latest technological developments.

Related: Writing a summary of qualifications for a CV (with examples)

5. Revise your professional and educational experience

The last step on your CV is for you to revise both your professional and educational experience since they will be at the bottom of your career change CV and are also highly relevant in the eyes of the recruiter. Since you lack direct industry experience, highlight the skills you gained as a result of your work experience and also be sure to mention any work that you might have done which is similar to work in your new industry.

Place emphasis on showing that you have completed similar work and have a lot of transferrable skills, which make you a suitable and eligible candidate for the job you're applying for. Similarly, you can tailor your educational experience to focus on any relevant educational programmes you may have done. Most people also mention any projects or related freelance activities that they might have undertaken to show their experience in the field.

Related:

  • Inspiring career change jobs with no experience required

  • How to write a career change cover letter (with examples)

Example of a career change CV

Below is an example of a career change CV:

Jack Merriweather
Coventry, CV4 7AL
11111-11111
jack.merriweather@email.co.uk Sales Manager

Highly motivated and diligent professional who is committed to developing long-term productive relationships with clients and employers, with a background in business that complements marketing and sales certifications. Offers a 15-year career of being a consultant, advising clients in multiple industries about acquisitions, cost-cutting measures and revenue-boosting strategies in an industry which relies on relationships and client service. Possesses a high degree of problem-solving and analytical skills with a can-do attitude.

Skills and Accomplishments:

  • Helped a retail shop cut operating expenses by 45% through the identification of inefficiencies in the product line and supply chain. Helped avoid an overlap of offerings and re-designate redundant staff.

  • In-depth experience in the use of standard office software, along with 10+ years of giving presentations and speeches to clients with audiences between 10 and 500.

  • Intrinsic creative talent and lifelong interest in providing innovative solutions to problems. Possesses a keen eye for inefficiencies and novel methods of solving existing business problems.

  • Completed high-impact strategy designs for large companies to expand their market offering and reach out to a larger target audience, worked for clients in the FMCG sector, manufacturing, technology, media and real estate industries.

Professional History
Senior Consultant: Fallowsby Consultants, August 2005–present

  • Managed client communications and meetings by preparing client briefs and presentations whenever necessary.

  • Assisted in the preparation of 15+ strategies to reduce costs and maximise profits, working closely with sales and marketing teams.

  • Monitored the progress of strategies and communicated the same with various stakeholders

Certifications

  • London School of Economics and Political Science: December 2020

    • Sales in the Virtual Age

Educational History

  • University of Warwick: October 2002–July 2005

    • BSc Economics - 2:1

The model shown is for illustration purposes only and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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