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Formatting A Career Change Resume


The best resume format to use is the combination resume. This resume format is not chronological nor
functional. It combines both! It is extremely flexible and allows you to use strategies in a way that would
normally be considered wrong.

The difference between the combination format and the chronological format is that the chronological
format resume is very easy to follow. The hiring manager will typically start to read the chronological
resume at the bottom of the work history or professional experience section (heading depends on your
career level) and will continue reading his or her way up towards the top to trace your career history. If
there are employment gaps, it will be obvious because it is difficult to hide breaks in employment using
this resume format. This is why most hiring managers prefer the chronological resume format. It is easy to
read and leaves little to the imagination. This can be a great advantage (marketing tool) if you have been
in the same type of position because it shows continuity and progression in your industry.

But what happens when you've held different types of positions across several industries? Some reasons
for gaps in employment or holding too many/unrelated jobs include raising children, caring for a family
member, illness, returning to college, corporate downsizing or merger, joining the military, and difficulty
finding work for long stretches of time because of a tight job market or weak resume! Hey, things
happen. That's life! You can't worry about the past. It's time to think about the future. So, the first thing
you will need to do is toss your old resume. It will not help you to change your career. It's time to make
a fresh start!

First, create a resume that clearly indicates at the top what type of position you are seeking.

Include a career summary section that highlights where you've been in your career, being careful to only
mention what would be of most interest to this particular company. Emphasize your transferable
experience and skills that match the qualifications of the position (if there is a job ad, study it and do your
best to make a connection between the position's requirements and what you've done. Do not use the
exact wording!).

Use a keywords section to list transferable skills so the reader can find them immediately. This is also
important if the company uses resume scanning technology. This will ensure your resume is retrieved
from the company's database in response to a keyword search.

Under your Professional Experience section or Work History (again, depends on your background),
present your experience in functional sections such as General Management, Sales Management, Staff
Training and Supervision, Budget Planning and Tracking, etc.

Take ALL of the experience you've gained over the years and categorize it into skill/functional areas that
the new position requires. If the company is seeking someone to manage budgets, and you managed
budgets ten years ago and four years ago, but not in your last two jobs, then list the collective experience
under a Budget category.

Continue this formula until each respective category has a minimum of four bulleted sentences or two
two-lined sentences to support the name of the heading. It is a good idea to have at least three categories
to show how well rounded you are.

Below this section, list the companies, locations, job titles, and dates. You can either create a separate
section named Work History if you've already called the above section Professional Experience, or simply
list the section without a main heading as part of the main section. It will be understood. Or, you can start
the section off with the company names and dates followed by the functional categories. In other words,
flip it.

The most common problem with this resume format is identifying where your experience was gained. But,
that's the whole idea. If they are interested in what you can do, they will call you in for the interview. It is at
that time you can explain the how, when, where, and why of it all. It will make for great conversation--
which by the way, a job interview should be. A meeting between two people with a common interest (the
position) who engage in conversation in a professional manner.

About the Author

Ann Baehr is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and President of Best Resumes of New York. She currently serves as Second Vice President of the National Resume Writers' Association. Her work has been published in over twenty resume and cover letter books by McGraw-Hill, Jist Publishers, and Adams Media. To learn more, visit Best Resumes online at or email Ann Baehr directly at


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