Job Search Tips

How to write a killer CV for a career change

November 27, 2019

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A big stumbling block for a lot of people who want to make a career change is their CV. 

Many aspiring career changers are confused about how to translate their professional experience to what they want to be doing next. 

How could they make their current skills and experience relevant to the industry they want to work in or to the role they want to be doing? 

Perhaps one of the following sounds familiar to you: 

  • Your knowledge and skills are very specific to your current role or industry

  • You’ve been doing the same role for a long time and hardly anything is relevant to where you want to go next

  • You’ve only been working for a short while, so don’t have much to put on your CV

  • You’ve had a career break and feel your CV is out of date

  • You don’t have any experience in the industry you’d like to move in

  • You’re lacking necessary skills for the job you’d like to have next

If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place

Because here’s the good news.

Your CV doesn’t need to be a stumbling block, even if your current experience or skillset doesn’t match the industry or role you’d like to apply for.

The key is to be a bit more creative and unconventional.

How? 

Here are some key rules when it comes to writing a killer CV for a career change. 


cv template for career change

Rule 1: write a skills-based CV

Instead of writing a traditional chronological CV where the focus is on your job titles and work experience, choose a skills-based CV. This type of CV focuses on relevant skills, experience and knowledge from all facets of your life, so not just the jobs you’ve held to date. That means that you can highlight skills, experience and knowledge that you’ve gained through a side hustle, volunteering or any other extra-curricular activities much better than you’d be able to in a traditional CV. 

The big benefit of this is that you can be more creative and prioritise skills, experience and knowledge that match the industry or role you’re applying for. 

Rule 2: put yourself in the shoes of the person who’ll be reading your CV

One of the most important things to do when writing a CV for a career change is understanding what the person who’ll be reading your CV is looking for. What’s important to them? What specific skills, type of experience and knowledge would they value?

Then build your CV from there. Dig through all facets of your life to find skills, experience and knowledge that match what they are looking for. Be creative and resourceful. 

A couple of examples: 

What they’re looking for: someone with experience in running training programmes or workshops.
You: don’t have done this for any of your past roles, but have organised and held your own workshops as a passion project. 

What they’re looking for: someone with 2+ years in digital marketing
You: don’t have any professional marketing experience, but have run a blog for the past 3 years and have trained yourself in Analytics + SEO and you know how it works. 

Rule 3: don’t list responsibilities & achievements for each role you’ve done

If you’ve been a stock trader your whole professional life and want to move into wellness, there’s no point in listing all the responsibilities and achievements of each role you’ve had so far. 

Similarly, if you’ve been working in the property market to date and want to do something in the world of start-ups or entrepreneurship, don’t include what each role you’ve had entailed. 

In both cases, there’s a big fat chance that it won’t mean much to the person reading your CV. 

Instead, use a career summary and highlight key achievements that show you are a good match for the role you’re applying for. 

Rule 4: include a personal bio

Your CV must include a personal bio. This is your chance to explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the role. Make sure you list relevant (transferable) skills, character strengths and – if possible – experience. Your personal bio also offers the chance to highlight your passion for this new industry and why you’d like to make a career change. 

To make things extra easy for you, I’ve put all of this together in a template. Pop your name and email address in the form below to get a copy of it!

Good luck


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