Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to Leverage Education in a Career Change

So you are ready to take your career in a new direction. However, the completion of education was a critical part of the transition. Most likely, you don't have any industry experience to support your education within the resume. Let's look at some tips on how to leverage your education when writing a resume to support this career change.

Highlight your education.
Education often ends up as the last thing on a resume. However, when education is your most important selling point, it must take center stage on the resume. You still need to have a summary or profile section that highlights your key skills. However, your education will be the next section.

Use your courses and course content to load the resume with key words.
A newly graduated Aerospace Engineer may not have hands on experience designing propulsion systems for a rocket, but listing Propulsion Theory as one of your courses allows you to integrate this important key word into the resume. List a section on your resume under education where you detail areas of knowledge and expertise. This is a perfect opportunity to add in key skills and knowledge you gained in your education that will also add these ever-important key words.

Demonstrate hands-on application of your knowledge.
I often find that career-changers who are relying on their education spend as much room discussing their education on a resume as they do their work experience. After you list your degree or certification, focus on hands-on experience. This can come in the form of projects, clinicals, internships, externships, or extracurricular clubs.

Focus on relevant skills in your work experience.
No matter how relevant your education may be, if you only focus on irrelevant work experience and skills the employer will feel a disconnect with you as a candidate. For example, if you are transferring from telemarketing to being a medical assistant, your resume would focus on communication, customer service, and your ability to follow exact specifications. If your resume was awash with your talk time statistics and the call center dialer systems with which you are familiar, your resume would not be as effective.

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