According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, around four percent of workers, on average, changed industries every month from 2019 to 2021. What’s more, in 2021, around five percent of employees found new occupations. Though these percentages seem relatively low overall, they represent a significant number of career shifters in real numbers.
If you’re one of the many people who want to change sectors, you might wonder how you can apply the skills and experience you’ve gained from your past roles in a new industry. In fact, a 2020 report found that 66 percent of people were interested in changing sectors but were too concerned about making their resumes seem relevant to try.
Adapting your resume and LinkedIn profile from your current field to a new one shouldn’t be the barrier that stops you from changing sectors.
Consider the following tactics to modify your resume and LinkedIn for this shift.
Know what skills are important in your new field.
When you’re changing industries, you may not know what skills matter to professionals in the field. So, to be better informed, you want to comb job descriptions, looking for keywords and phrases that are used over and over again. Aim to make a list of around 10 of these.
Next, figure out how many of these skills you have already, even if you employ creative thinking to make these connections. This new industry might describe these capabilities slightly differently than the one you’re in, but part of the goal here is identifying your transferable skills.
In completing this exercise, you might recognize that you already have many or all of the skills necessary for this new field. If there are competencies you are clearly missing, you can start making strides toward acquiring them, perhaps through a volunteer opportunity or a class.
You can also connect with others in your field and ask them about what they think is most important in shifting your career in a new direction.
“Find people on LinkedIn with the role you’re targeting and ask them for a 15-20 minute informational interview to ask them about what they like and don’t like about the role, how they got it, and any advice about moving your career in this direction,” said career coach Andrea St Jean.
Incorporate commonly-used jargon from the job postings in your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Sometimes, identifying your transferable skills is simply a matter of reframing competencies that you already have in language that’s used in the industry you want to join.
“Each industry has its own jargon — terminology and acronyms that only make sense to people who are familiar with the field. It’s your job to figure out how to translate your experience and past successes into terms that will resonate with your new target audience,” said TopCV’s Amanda Augustine.
So, for instance, if you’re in customer service but you want to work in digital marketing, you may focus on your background in finding quick fixes to customer problems.
Once you’ve identified about ten keywords and phrases that describe your transferable skills, start adding them to both your resume and your LinkedIn.
“[Adding] them to your LinkedIn profile in some capacity, whether in your headline, description, and/or under professional skills. As you incorporate these keywords, they will stick out to people you may choose to network with,” said Andrew Seaman of LinkedIn News.
Feel free to use the same keywords and phrases for both your resume and your profile. Consistency, not novelty, is what matters when ensuring continuity between these two application materials.
Tailor your materials to the new sector and the position at hand.
When you’re adding to your experience sections on both your resume and your LinkedIn profile, consider what job responsibilities are most relevant to potential employers. You don’t have to include every task you worked on at every job you ever held. Instead, only include tasks you completed in your past roles that are applicable to jobs you might have in your new industry.
In listing your work experience, make a clear connection to your skills section on your resume and LinkedIn profile. What’s more, add data and figures in discussing your past roles. In other words, don’t just talk about what you did; prove that you were successful in what you were asked to do.
Further, tailor your resume for every job application. While your new field will certainly have shared jargon and keywords, each company has unique preferences for each new hire. So, even if you’re applying to the same job at three different companies, your resume should look slightly different for each one of them.
However, you still want to ensure coherence from your resume to your cover letter.
Modifying Your Resume and LinkedIn Page for a Sector Change
When you’re planning a career shift, you may be surprised how many of the skills you already have applied to the roles you want. So, you may discover that modifying your resume and LinkedIn profile hinges on adding keywords from job postings and winnowing down your experiences to the ones relevant to the new field.
Of course, making changes to your resume and LinkedIn profile can be overwhelming. So, get started with small modifications like this one-minute change that will improve your resume and LinkedIn profile updates that will improve your executive job search.