How do you write a career change resume?

Career change resume? I work with people who want a career transition because their last career either wasn’t a good match or the field they are in has become obsolete.

When they hire me, many are frustrated because they don’t know how to transition their skills into a new field. Some, however, have a larger problem. They don’t know where they want to go or what field they should transition into for their next role.

To write a resume without a target is definitely putting the cart before the horse.

Misinformation on what a resume is abounds but one of the most common misconceptions is that it’s just a resume, a piece of paper. Nope, it’s a marketing document.

Know your target to write a career change resume

Let’s look at it this way, say you want to sell a product.

  • You used to sell shoes and you were very good at it.
  • You created brochures to help market those shoes and you took photos of the shoes you were selling.
  • You made those shoes look very good.

Now you know you would like to sell another  product but you have absolutely no idea what kind of product. You could create a brochure to market this product but you can’t describe it and you can’t add a picture because you have no idea what it is.

Is anyone really going to buy your product? Probably not, because you have not convinced them of the product’s value.

What do you need to create a career change resume?

You need a sense of direction. You have to know where you are going.

The product in your resume is you.

In order to sell your value to the next employer for the skills that you would use in that field, we have to know where you plan to go. If a client would ask me to write a career transition or career change resume, the first question I have is: “What is your target?” If the client tells me that they don’t know, I won’t write the resume.

I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up

Amazingly, I hear that from all ages all the time. If you really have no idea of what you want to do in your next career, we need to figure that out.

Sometimes people want to confirm their direction.

I use behavioral assessments with job seekers who want to know where to go. When you hire me, you can select to take the Career Management assessment and we review it.

The report offers specific jobs tailored to certain levels of education (high school, Associates or Bachelors, and post-graduate degrees) and is tied to O’NET, the US government’s listing of occupations.

The assessment won’t always generate the specific title but it will clarify your direction. In addition, assessments help to clarify the value you bring to organizations, your ideal environment, and communication styles. If you are unable to pinpoint direction, these assessments help clarify.

Review and analyze job descriptions of jobs you enjoy. If your skills match those needed, tailor the resume in that direction. Before a resume can become reality, you must find clarity in the direction of the job search. Without that clarity, the resume has no value.

To get your career or job search launched with an outstanding resume and targeted career marketing strategies, simply click here!


  1. Rabbi R. Karpov, Ph.D. on May 9, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks, Julie, for writing the article on how to write a good career-change resume. I am going to keep this post around. Appreciate you!

    • Julie Walraven on May 9, 2014 at 10:02 pm

      You are welcome… your comment had inspired me to write it!

Resume Design and Job Seeking Tips

Here are Design Resumes' latest articles on job search, resume design, resume writing, and Linkedin optimization articles I've written.

FREE Resume and Job Search Tips by email

Get free tips and strategy direct to your inbox. just add your name and email below. I respect your privacy.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

Here are ways I can help you land your dream job.

You may be halfway across the country or the world. When you work with me, we share coffee, laughs, and concerns. This turns the scary job search into creative, consultative writing and learning sessions.