4 Ways to Address a Career Change

Career Paths

Are you contemplating a career change? Have you started pursuing a new field and wonder if you’re presenting your background in the best way? Going through a career transition can be stressful and difficult to navigate. Many professionals don’t know how to start the process or begin to explain the reasoning for making a shift. You must be able to create a compelling presentation to a perspective employer about why you are a good fit for a job that you might not have done before.

It’s natural that simply thinking about all of the steps might be a little overwhelming. If you decide to pursue a new career, there will probably be challenges along the way, so it’s important to surround yourself with positive family members, friends and colleagues. Negative people can easily discourage you and make you doubt your intentions. Think about speaking with a mentor or coach if you are uncertain about your plans. Here are four ways to address your career change!

1. In your cover letter

When applying for a job, the cover letter is usually your chance to make a good first impression on a recruiter or hiring manager. In the past, we’ve covered how to write a memorable and effective cover letter. As you are writing your cover letter, you want to take every opportunity to spotlight the transferrable skills from your past. In addition to skills, you can include knowledge or experience that would be helpful to you in that new career. Specifically mentioning how you have a passion for the industry, company or product the company produces is also a nice touch.

2. In your resume summary

Many resumes have a professional or executive summary at the top of the document that is designed to highlight the most important information about the candidate. This is also an excellent place to add a customized sentence about your desired career change. You could mention how you’ve always been interested or fascinated by the new field or industry, and how you’re equipped to be a contributor right away. However, you don’t need to spend a lot of time on this in your summary; one sentence is enough.

3. Throughout your resume content

Instead of providing generic details about what you did in your previous positions that sound like common job descriptions, take it a step further.  What roles, responsibilities, accomplishments and/or special projects have you done that align with your desired career? How could you strategically incorporate those facts into your resume content? There are ways to focus on your transferable skills within your resume when you are new to the life sciences industry. It’s also important to include the appropriate keywords within your resume that pertain to the positions you’re targeting so that when your document goes through technology filters, it ranks highly.

4. During your interview

Landing an interview can be an amazing accomplishment, especially for a position that you’ve never held before! That means that the potential employer sees enough potential in you to discuss the opportunity directly. Even though you can feel successful by simply securing an interview, it’s vital to remember that you haven’t landed the job yet. You’re still on a short list of possible candidates.  We’ve discussed different ways to sell yourself during an interview when you are new to the life sciences field. You want to be prepared to talk about your reasoning for making the career change in a succinct and compelling way.

Deciding to make a career change is a bold and brave effort. Unfortunately, many professionals don’t understand all that is involved in making a seamless career transition, so it can take them many months or years to complete. A lot of professionals even choose to give up on making a career shift because of the complexities involved. Addressing your career change in your cover letter, resume summary and throughout the resume content can help a recruiter or hiring manager envision you as a fit for their open position.  Finally, being able to confidently discuss your desired career change during an interview is essential.  What is one area you could improve if you’re thinking of making a career transition?


Porschia Parker-Griffin is a Certified Coach, Professional Resume Writer, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. (https://www.fly-highcoaching.com) She empowers ambitious professionals and motivated executives to add $10K on average to their salaries.

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