Resume Dilemma: Unrelated Experience


So you want to move to a different field entirely. Your father says, "You'll never be able to do it." Your mother rails, "After we spent all that money on your degree?" Fortunately, your friends or significant other say, "Sure, why not?"

If you do decide to go for it, don't forget to give your resume a makeover. Here are three things to keep in mind:

A Resume Is a Marketing Document

Don't tell your career history in your resume. Do your homework by researching the organizations to which you're applying. In your resume, feature what you could do for them in the future, rather than what you've done in the past. This is a cold call, and you're the product.

Show How Your Experience Will Benefit Them

Most people spend seven seconds scanning a resume before deciding whether to put it in the maybe pile or the circular file. Don't ask this person to spend any of that precious time trying to figure out where you'd fit in the organization -- that's up to you! Because you've done your research, you'll have some idea of where the company is going and the skills and competencies it will need. Pitch yourself as an expert in those areas, and don't worry about downplaying or leaving out the rest.

A Functional Resume May Be Better

A functional resume offers you the best opportunity to showcase skills rather than job experience; it's more of a forward-looking resume. The highlights or profile section at the top serves as a sort of editorial page where you can show the relationship between the kind of person you are and the jobs demands. It also offers a chance to show that your style will fit with the company culture.

Changing fields is one of the best things you can do for your career and your mental health. Just don't ever ask headhunters to help you do it; it doesn't calculate for them, and they'll tell you you're not marketable. You should talk to your friends about it, particularly those in the fields you'd like to consider.

For more tips on staying productive while unemployed or to search for military-friendly employers visit's Careers Channel.

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