This summer, our client Mary decided that the time is ripe to finally take the big leap from her past career in nursing to pursue her dream as a Human Resources (H.R.) professional. She has been reading articles about the expansive employment opportunities in Colorado, and she recently finished an H.R. Certificate program. During a conversation about structuring her finances during this transition, she shared her fears about resume writing because she hasn’t written one since 1980. Starting from scratch can be a daunting task, considering how resumes have evolved over the years. How will Mary know how to communicate her current marketability, without sounding too outdated?

We suggested that she begin by referring to the sought-after job description to create an Objective or Summary section at the top of the page. Because a hiring manager will likely spend less than a minute scanning her resume, Mary will want to be sure that the first thing he/she reads is applicable to the job description. She will want to “brand” herself as an H.R. professional, rather than a nurse. Forbes describes bluntly in a recent article about branding: “Most of us feel most comfortable talking about areas in which we are already credible….the key to branding yourself for a career change is to describe yourself as a person who is already in the field you wish to enter.”

The next step is to be aware of ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems). Rather than reading through hundreds of resume submissions, hiring managers will often utilize ATS to help choose the most applicable resumes for the available job. We suggested that Mary spend some time researching ATS to understand this new “language” to ensure her resume isn’t accidentally overlooked.

Which key words should Mary use in her resume to give her the best chances of making it through an ATS? The direct job description is the best place to start. In addition, Business Insider explains “Every field has its own acronyms and terminology. It’s your job to figure out how to translate your experience and past successes into terms that resonate with your new target audience. Subscribe to industry-specific publications, conduct informational interviews, and start attending events that are relevant to your target field to gain this insight, and update your resume accordingly.”

One last suggestion for Mary is to pay attention to the small details, such as her email address provider. Using a Yahoo, Hotmail, or AOL email address may indicate to hiring managers that she is living in the past. In addition, be sure to only include relevant education and work history.

If you are looking to align your financial planning with an upcoming career shift, please call Sharkey, Howes, and Javer at 303-639-5100 to schedule a complimentary meeting.   

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