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10 Things Career Changers Need on Their Resume

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In the last few years, executive resume writer Mary Elizabeth Bradford has noticed more of her clients seeking a career switch, even after having built successful careers in another field.

Nowadays, mid-level career changers — such as software developers who now work in finance or entrepreneurs who come back into corporate life — make up more than 45% of her practice. Many struggle to create an attention-grabbing resume, she says.

“The ability to objectively match up relevant skills to the position of choice is invaluable,” Bradford says.

Eager to switch careers? Here are 10 ways to improve your resume:

1. Do a Comprehensive Rewrite

Most job candidates make a few quick changes to their resume before submitting it for a new role. If you are switching careers, re-analyze your skills during the editing process and include every area of the business that you’ve been able to impact, says Jill Smart, chief human resources officer at Accenture, a management consulting and technology firm with employees in 120 countries.

“People changing careers need to make sure their resume shows the full breadth of their skills — operations, leadership, management, communication,” explains Smart.

For example, Accenture hires former doctors to work in their health and public service practice. Their resumes need to demonstrate not only their relationship-building skills but also how they’ll fit into the new business setting.

2. Use the New Job Description to Write a Summary Paragraph

Experts’ opinions are mixed on the need for a resume summary or objective for those looking to stay in their field, but it’s an important feature for a career changer, says Bonnie Marcus, a New York-based business coach and founder of Women’s Success Coaching, a career coaching firm targeting women.

Include a summary paragraph at the top of your resume and tie “everything in the job description with everything you’ve accomplished in the past,” she says.

For example, if the new position calls for online marketing expertise, make sure any marketing or Web experience is mentioned in this opening paragraph. Since most managers spend less than a minute scanning your resume, make sure the first thing they read ties directly to the job description.

3. Know What to Exclude

While conveying your skills is important, your resume shouldn’t be a dumping ground for every minor accomplishment in your career, says resume expert Alesia Benedict, president of

4. Demonstrate Accomplishments With Numbers

Include bullet points that show how you’ve contributed to the bottom line. Numbers, especially those given in dollars, can quickly give hiring managers an idea of your contributions — even in an unrelated field, says recruiter Craig Libis, founder of Executive Recruiting Consultants based in Dell Rapids, S.D.

While important on all resumes, for a career changer, numbers can be a simple way for hiring managers to relate to an unfamiliar work history. “Specific numbers [allow] the hiring company the ability to apply what the applicant can do for their company in the future,” Libis says.

5. Add Relatable Job Title Descriptions

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