Career change is difficult.
Especially after 40, when you need to fight social stereotypes that at this age, you already need to settle down and enjoy stability.
But this is just a stereotype, and you can still turn your life around and make a career move in a different direction.
If you feel like it’s time, let’s initiate this change with a complete revamp of your resume.
First, the Elephant in the Room
Right now, your age might seem like your main weakness. But it doesn’t mean you cannot turn this weakness into your strength.
For a smooth career change, you need to make your age speak in favor of your experience and your excellence as an employee. Thus, we believe that your resume should be built on the idea that your age is your advantage.
So, we support the idea of keeping all the dates in your resume, but they shouldn’t be the focus of your resume, your experience should.
Here’s how to build such a resume.
1. Change the Focus of Your Resume
You already know that all the information about education and work experience in your resume should be in chronological order.
When it comes to a career change, though, including a complete list of places you’ve worked at isn’t necessary. That’s why you need to shift the focus of your resume completely.
What about changing the focus to transferable skills?
To find transferable skills that can be applied in the area of your interest, try to go through different job descriptions, and pick out keywords related to these skills.
Let’s say, you have experience working as a business lawyer but want to start a career in fashion. Here’s how you can analyze a job description in this industry to create a list of transferable skills:
Once you’ve picked out the keywords and created the list of relevant transferable skills, you can give them their own section in your resume.
To do it effectively, separate your skills from your experience and divide your resume into ‘Related Skills’ and ‘Related Experience’, kicking off your resume with a statement that addresses your intention to change careers.
Yes, it will completely change the format of your resume from what you’re used to. But this is a good change, as it helps you bring forward what is truly relevant.
2. Add Links to Social Media for Reference
Want to give more details about yourself but don’t want to overstuff your resume with contact details and portfolio links?
Today, you can add as much information as you want, including your social media contacts. The best choice for a professional resume would, of course, be the link to your LinkedIn profile.
But instead of adding physical links to your social media accounts, you can turn them into QR codes. To do it, you can use a QR code generator online, download it and attach it to the .doc file of your resume. Here’s how it works:
Source: QR Code Generator
You don’t want to overstuff your resume with too many contact information and experience details, especially if some of these details are not relevant at the moment.
However, if your potential employer wants to find out more about you, adding links to your LinkedIn profile can upgrade your resume and serve as an additional source of information not only regarding your experience, but regarding recommendations, endorsements, and accomplishments.
This is also a good solution to overcome a stereotype that applicants aged 40+ aren’t tech-savvy.
3. Work on ‘Accomplishments’ Section
However, including the QR code linking to your LinkedIn profile doesn’t mean that you should leave out the information about your accomplishments from your resume altogether.
When changing careers, your accomplishments are what you want to bring the employer’s focus to, much like the list of your transferable skills. That’s why your accomplishments also deserve a separate section.
The section on your accomplishments requires your special attention. This section requires some brainstorming regarding the following aspects of your professional career:
- problems you helped identify and solve
- rewards you brought to your company (for instance, new clients or increased revenue)
- innovations you implemented to increase brand recognition (e.g., the company’s name appeared on the top websites page or emerged in the renowned periodicals)
- promotions to higher positions and work-related rewards
- additional funding or grants you’ve received as a reward for your accomplishments
- additional training you’ve completed and certificates you’ve received
When working on the section that lists your accomplishments, keep in mind that your resume should remain targeted. This means that you should include only those accomplishments that relate to the requirements of the job position you’re applying to.
For all other accomplishments, your resume will have a QR code that links to your social media profile.
4. Make Your Skills a Highlight of Your Resume
Another section that needs retargeting is the one that describes your skills.
For those looking for late career change opportunities and those who reenter the workforce after a break, we recommend turning your skills into a two-part resume section.
Since we are focusing on making your resume more targeted, make sure that you start the Skills section with those skills that are related to the job position you’re applying for.
Let’s return to our example of applying for the position of a senior copywriter. Instead of listing all your skills together, try grouping them into main skills and additional skills according to the job position requirements:
You can also group your skills according to the sphere, for instance, technical skills, editing skills, management skills. Or, you can divide this section into soft skills and hard skills.
To upsell your skills, you can tie them to the relevant experience that helped you gain or improve them.
For instance, instead of saying ‘good editing skills’, you can say ‘edited 100+ editorials’, or something similar. This will make your skills seem more realistic and will help the employer view these skills as benefits.
5. Avoid Oldspeak Catchphrases
Using improper resume language can make your resume look unappealing. And although it is tempting to use formal language to make your resume look professional, formal words and phrases don’t always create an attractive image of you as a professional.
Here are some of the phrases you need to exclude from your resume:
- “References available upon request”. Today, employers rarely ask for references, and those who do will most likely contact your former employers themselves via email or social media. Besides, you, too, can ask your former employers to leave references and recommendations on your LinkedIn profile.
- “Duties included”. This is a filler phrase that only makes a resume look cluttered. Simply add a bullet list of duties and responsibilities to make them easier to scan. The same goes for the phrase “responsible for”.
- “Managed day-to-day operations”. This phrase lacks specifics. If you cannot make it more detailed, exclude this phrase altogether.
In pursuit of a more modern approach to the language of your resume, also remember not to go overboard and make it look too unprofessional. Employers don’t appreciate phrases like ‘thought leader’, ‘management rockstar’, ‘results-driven’, or ‘experienced.
Don’t stuff your resume with words simply to fill the space. Your resume shouldn’t be about how long it is, it should be about how well it represents your experience in relation to the job you’re applying for.
Get Ready for a Smooth Career Change
It’s going to be a challenge, for sure.
However, the outcome of this challenge is all about your attitude and your readiness to make this career change. It’s your choice whether to comply with social stereotypes about your age, and it’s up to you how you treat your age in correlation with your experience.
When you are ready for this change, start with the small step and work on your resume. Make it more targeted, give more attention to your accomplishments and skills, and, of course, with your resume, create an impression of a tech-savvy, innovative professional.
Hopefully, our tips will inspire you to write a resume that will showcase your best professional qualities and ensure a smooth career change.
About the author: Daniela McVicker is a professional writer and career advisor. Currently, she is working as the content specialist for TopWritersReview where Daniela curates the list of helpful websites for students and other types of educational content. As a side gig, Daniela helps job candidates create outstanding resumes and land their dream job.