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5 Resume Writing Tips for Changing Careers

5 Resume Writing Tips for Changing Careers

Switching careers can be a daunting challenge, but writing your resume doesn't have to be. In fact, your resume can make the transition a lot easier. Not only will it pave the way for a great new job, but it'll also help you organize your thoughts and evaluate the skills you can bring to a new career.

Read on to learn some resume writing tips for changing careers and which courses you can take to really make your resume pop.

1. Use a combination resume format

Because you're trying to focus more on your skills and less on your work experience (which may not align with your new career), use a combination resume format.

A combination resume includes both skills that make you stand out and your work experience. This makes it a good option for people switching careers, especially if you put things in the right order.

Consider using the following order:

  1. Contact info
  2. Your professional goals or objective
  3. A summary of your skills
  4. Courses you've taken or certifications you have
  5. Work experience
  6. Education

By leading with your contact information, goals, skills, and courses, you'll shift the focus away from work experience that may not apply to the job and give the employer a chance to see your other qualifications.

2. Highlight your qualifications within your professional goals section

The professional goals section is a great place to focus on your qualifications instead of just what you seek to accomplish, especially for someone switching careers. Say you recently completed courses like Learn JavaScript and Learn HTML. The statement of your professional goals could look something like this:

"Programmer proficient in JavaScript and HTML5 seeks to provide technical expertise, problem-solving, and creative thinking skills to a fast-paced development team as a junior programmer."

A professional statement like this is both accurate and helpful, particularly because it highlights the skills you've learned instead of your limited experience as a programmer.

To succeed in a career as a programmer, you'll need to be familiar with several programming languages. Get started with courses like:

3. Include a strong skills section

As someone switching careers, you really want your skills section to stand out. You should see this as your first chance to make a great impression on an employer. Hopefully, this will be the first heading their eyes dart to when reading your resume.

SKILLS

  • Proficient: JavaScript, HTML5
  • Intermediate: Python, C#
  • Developing: PHP

Listing your skills in this way makes it clear what your comfort zones are, as well as where you may need a bit more support or time. This format also allows you to honestly represent the full range of your abilities.

Feel free to list all of your relevant skills — not just the strongest ones. If a recruiter sees a skill they need (or might need in the future), they may be more likely to hire you, regardless of your level of proficiency.

While your hard skills need to be highlighted, your soft skills are just as important, so give them the spotlight they deserve. The easiest way to do this is by incorporating them into the descriptions of your responsibilities in previous roles.

While describing what you've done throughout your work experience, you can use words common to descriptions of soft skills in the tech industry. Some of these terms include:

  • Collaborated on…
  • Analyzed…
  • Managed projects…
  • Troubleshot…
  • Creatively addressed…
  • Implemented a discovery phase to…
  • Organized…

While what comes after these phrases may not directly apply to the job, you've still done a good job highlighting important soft skills you'll need in the position.

4. Showcase your coursework

Your coursework should be another focal point of your resume because it speaks to your knowledge and skills. Feel free to include slightly more descriptive language as you mention the courses you've taken, such as examples of what you've done during the course. For instance, you can say something like:

COURSEWORK

  • Codecademy's JavaScript course — developed front- and back-end solutions for web applications
  • Codecademy's HTML, CSS, and GitHub Skill Path — built websites to address a range of business challenges
  • Codecademy's Bootstrap course — developed front-end designs for corporate and SMB solutions

Using this kind of format makes your coursework section read more like a work experience section. This shows recruiters that you know how to put your knowledge to good use.

5. Highlight the right professional experience

If you're completely new to the field you're switching to, use your work experience section to highlight your skills that apply to the role (as described above in the discussion about soft skills). Remember that a varied background isn't necessarily a bad thing. Newcomers to the field often offer fresh perspectives that recruiters and dev teams love.

For example, people who have worked in education are often skilled at working in different-sized teams and with people of different backgrounds. Professionals coming from construction are often adept at multi-tasking, communication, and meeting challenging deadlines. You should also highlight these kinds of attributes as you break down your work experience.

Switch careers with Codecademy

Need help launching your new career? We're here to help you along every step of the way, from building your skills with our catalog of programming courses to developing a portfolio, preparing for interviews, and more. Take your first steps now!

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Adam Carpenter

Adam Carpenter

Adam Carpenter is a tech, fintech, and business innovations writer. Passionate about user safety, Adam writes about cybersecurity solutions, software, and innovations.

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5 Resume Writing Tips for Changing Careers
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