How to Write a Career Change CV: Template & Guide

How to Write a Career Change CV: Template & Guide

Learn how to write a career change CV to free you from the shackles of that boring 9–5 and get you started in the job of your dreams. Full template included.

Gone are the days where we leave school or uni, get a job, stick with it for 40–50 years and retire with a gold watch at the end of it all. In fact, the average person will now change careers 5–7 times during their working life.

 

And when it comes to such a big change you can’t just stick to the same old trusty CV you’ve always used. You need a cleverly crafted career change CV to show you’ve got the ability to thrive in another industry.

 

It’s a unique challenge that requires you to rethink the skills and experience you already have. Get it right and it’ll be the key that opens the door to new employment opportunities. 

 

So if you’re ready to move on to pastures new, read on and you’ll see a professional career change CV example you can adjust and make your own. Plus, you’ll learn an easy formula for writing a CV for a change of career that will land you 10x more interviews than any other CV you’ve written in the past.

 

Here’s a change of career CV example made with our builder.

 

Want to save time and have your CV ready in 5 minutes? Try our CV builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ CV templates and create your CV here.

 

Career change cv templates

Career change CV made with our builder—See more templates and create your CV here.

 

Not looking to make a career change just yet? Take a look at our job-specific CV and cover letter examples:

 

Sample Career Change CV Template

 

James Cox

Ph: 0777 777 7777

Email: jcox_zety@gmail.com

 

Research scientist with 8+ years experience looking to transition to teaching A-level physics and chemistry. Passionate advocate for STEM learning with experience presenting science to the public via my blog Let’s get PHYSICSal. Have just completed postgraduate teacher training and eager to put my knowledge into practice and share my passion with students.

 

Skills Summary

 

Written Communication 

  • Wrote press releases that distilled complex issues into easily understandable concepts to educate the public. 
  • Wrote publicity material promoting work to potential sponsors.

 

Teaching 

  • Delivered well-received training to a team of 30 non-technical staff.
  • Gave two oral presentations of research outcomes to corporate sponsors each quarter.

 

Planning

  • Created team goals for weekly, monthly and annual timelines.
  • Set clear outcomes to be achieved in research projects.

 

Oral Communication & Presentation

  • Delivered oral presentations to sponsors and specialist conferences.
  • Adept in the use of multimedia aids including smart boards and slides.

 

Work Experience

 

Research Scientist

Biodyne Corporation, Cambridge

October 2016—August 2019

  • Part of a team that completed £1 million government-funded research project that led to being awarded £2 million funding to proceed to the second phase.
  • Developed communication aimed at non-specialists that effectively taught them about the science and gained valuable sponsorship.
  • Delivered targets and research on target and within budget.
  • Assisted with writing two press releases per month to educate the public about our work effectively communicating complex information to a diverse audience.

Key achievement: Trained and mentored 3–4 undergraduate work experience students a year. All went on to postgraduate studies and one joined Biodyne as a graduate research assistant.

 

Research Scientist

Nutritis Inc., Cambridge

August 2011—September 2016

  • Developed tests assessing novel chemicals for use in the food industry.
  • Wrote reports for non-science trained management based on results. Gave oral presentations of results of studies at 5 conferences as well as to corporate sponsors.
  • Co-authored two review papers and one research manuscript.
  • Collaborated on two cross-departmental projects bringing together research staff from disparate fields.

Key achievement: Designed and delivered training to non-technical staff about workplace specific health and safety and general scientific education.

 

Education

 

Post Graduate Certificate in Education. September 2019-June 2020 (expected graduation)

University of Cambridge, UK

 

PhD in Chemistry, September 2009–June 2011

University of Cambridge, UK

 

MPhil Chemistry, September 2008–June 2009

University of Cambridge, UK

 

BSc Chemistry (2:1 Hons), September 2005–June 2008

University of Cambridge, UK

 

Hobbies & Interests

 

  • Blogging. Created popular science blog Let’s get PHYSICSal to educate and popularise scientific discoveries to the general public.
  • Toastmasters. 10 year member of toastmasters, specialising in delivering lectures on popular science topics.

 

Now here’s the new job-winning change of career CV formula.

 

1. Use the Best Format for Your Waitress CV

 

A career change is the process of moving from one job sector to another. It’s a bigger shift than just a change of jobs. So your career change CV needs to show your existing skills and work history will transfer to success in your new role.

 

For most candidates, we’d recommend going for a chronological CV format, the classic CV structure that you’re already familiar with. But for a career change CV you need to do things differently.

 

Standard advice is usually to write a skills-based CV for career change. But to be honest they’re a nightmare to write and recruiters hate them. So we’re going to use a unique format. It’s called a hybrid or combination CV. 

 

It’s so-called because it combines the well-planned structure of a chronological CV combined with an expanded skills section and focused personal statement. It’s a format rarely seen in the UK, but perfect for a CV for a career change.

 

There’s another advantage to using a hybrid format too. They’re computer friendly. Skills-based CVs can confuse the ATS software that most companies use to scan your CV. And if that happens it’s ‘computer says no’ for your chances of changing career.

 

First though, let’s cover the basics of how to layout a CV for change of career:

  • Set the margins to one inch on each side of the page, left-align your text (don’t justify), and double space between sections. This creates generous white space that makes your CV easy to read.
  • Choose an attractive and legible CV font. Garamond, Arial and Calibri are reliable choices.
  • It’s best to be brief. Your CV length should be a maximum of two pages.
  • Save your CV as a PDF file unless the job advert specifies otherwise. It’s the best file format as it keeps your layout intact.

Read more: How to Layout a Professional CV

2. Write a Career Change CV Personal Statement

 

A CV personal statement or personal profile is the introduction to your CV and the introduction to you as a candidate. You need to show confidence in your abilities and highlight your strengths. Draw the recruiter in with information that supports your potential to excel in your new career.

 

I know that sounds hard, but all you need to do is answer these three questions.

 

  1. Who are you? 
  2. What can you offer to the employer? 
  3. What are your career goals? 

 

And to formulate your answers do this.

  • Make a detailed list of the experience, achievements and skills you already have. Refer to your education and previous roles. 
  • Then meticulously research the new job you’re targeting. Find out what skills and experience are necessary to excel in that role and that industry. Research the company you’re targeting too. The more specifically you tailor your CV the better your chances of success.
  • Then highlight the points from your own list that match the requirements of your new role. Use these, combined with passion and energy to write a personal statement.

 

Before you start writing bear two points in mind. First, you’ll find this section easier to write if you leave it until last. It’s much easier when you’ve got your experience, skills and education all set out and ready to refer to.

 

Second, you can make your career change CV personal statement slightly longer than you normally would. For a standard CV, 3–4 lines is the recommended limit. For a career change CV you can stretch to 4–5 lines to give yourself more room to sell your transferable skills and experience.

 

Take a look at the personal profile from the CV above.

 

Career Change CV Personal Statement—Example

 

Research scientist with 8+ years experience looking to transition to teaching A-level physics and chemistry. Passionate advocate for STEM learning with experience presenting science to to the public via my blog Let’s get PHYSICSal. Have just completed postgraduate teacher training and eager to put my knowledge into practice and share my passion with students.

 

That’s crystal clear. Straight up our candidate explains his intended career move, then he shows passion for his field of expertise, experience in sharing his knowledge and evidence of training for the new role. It’s a perfect blend for someone making a career change to teaching and an ideal start to his CV.

Read more: How to Write a CV Personal Statement [20+ Examples]

3. Show Off Your Transferable Skills

 

This is where we get to the hybrid part of your career change CV. We’re going to take the skills summary found in a skills-based CV and transplant it into a chronological CV format. First, choose 3–4 skills or functions to act as headings, making sure they’re directly relevant to your new career. And of course, make sure you can prove your proficiency in them.

 

These skills are commonly used for a change of career CV.

 

Career Change CV Skills Sample

 

  • Communication
  • Consulting
  • Customer service
  • Education
  • Human Resources
  • IT experience
  • Management
  • Organisation
  • Planning
  • Research
  • Sales

 

Then when you’ve chosen your skills or functions, enter each as a sub-heading and add 1–2 bullet points under each proving your proficiency in them. And try to include numbers to quantify your achievements and experience.

 

Here’s an extract from the skills section in our example CV above.

 

Career Change CV Example–Skills Summary

 

Teaching 

  • Delivered well-received training to a team of 30 non-technical staff.
  • Gave two oral presentations of research outcomes to corporate sponsors each quarter.

 

Planning

  • Created team goals for weekly, monthly and annual timelines.
  • Set clear outcomes to be achieved in research projects.

 

You can see our candidate has included skills directly targeted at teaching. Teaching itself is self-explanatory, but a huge part of teaching is planning, both daily lesson plans and long term plans for the curriculum.

 

It’s all about knowing your target job, understanding the skills required and drawing upon experience you already have that evidences them.

Read more: Key Skills to Put on a CV [Best List of Examples]

4. Draft Your Career Change CV Work Experience Section

 

Your work experience section remains central to a career change CV. You need to show how your existing experience is transferable to your new career. Here’s how to structure it.

  • Put your most recent job first and work back from there. 
  • For each role, include your job title, the name of the employer, dates of employment (use “present” as the end date if you currently work there), then 3–5 bullet points describing the job.
  • Start each bullet point with a snappy CV action word for added impact.
  • Write about measurable achievements, not just your duties. It’s not just about what you did, you’ve got to show how well you did it.
  • Structure your bullet points using the PAR (Problem Action Result) technique and accomplishment statements.
  • Target your work experience section to the job description. Pay attention to what skills and experience the hiring manager needs and match your experience to what’s required.

 

And remember for a career change CV you should focus on achievements and experience that are relevant to the new career you’re targeting. If you’ve got a particularly relevant achievement for a particular role then include it as a ‘Key achievement’ in a separate line just below the last bullet point.

 

Here’s what our scientist turned teacher did.

 

Career Change CV Example—Work Experience

 

Research Scientist

Biodyne Corporation, Cambridge

October 2016—August 2019

  • Part of a team that completed £1 million government-funded research project that led to being awarded £2 million funding to proceed to the second phase.
  • Developed communication aimed at non-specialists that effectively taught them about the science and gained valuable sponsorship.
  • Delivered targets and research on target and within budget.
  • Assisted with writing two press releases per month to educate the public about our work effectively communicating complex information to a diverse audience.

Key achievement: Trained and mentored 3–4 undergraduate work experience students a year. All went on to postgraduate studies and one joined Biodyne as a graduate research assistant.

 

Again, look how the candidate has leveraged his experience to highlight a teaching and education angle. His key achievement focuses on teaching and mentoring undergraduate students. Experience that’s directly transferable to teaching.

Read more: 20+ CV Tips and Advice for Job Application Success

5. Include an Education Section

 

Your education section is still important in a career change CV. Here is the information that all recruiters expect to see. First for university graduates.

  • Include the university name, years attended, and the name of your degree. 
  • If you have post-graduate qualifications, follow reverse-chronological order and put the degree you completed most recently first.
  • Only include honours if they’re a 2:1 or a first.
  • If your uni degree is relevant to your new career then include information about modules you completed and knowledge you gained. It’s another way of proving your skills are transferable.

 

And this is what you need if you were a school-leaver.

  • Include your A-levels and GCSEs. Include the name of the school you attended, its location, and the dates you attended.
  • Mention individual subjects for your A-levels. But for your GCSEs you only need to mention Maths and English, many employers look for passes in these subjects as an essential minimum achievement.

 

That’s where a CV would usually end. But not a career change CV. We’re going above and beyond to show you can succeed in a new field so we need something extra.

 

6. Add Additional Sections to Your Career Change CV

 

Many job seekers dismiss additional sections as an afterthought. But for a career change CV they’re a golden opportunity to highlight even more transferable skills and experience. Here’s what to do.

  • Add a languages section. Being bilingual boosts your job prospects and makes an excellent impression on hiring managers in many industries.
  • Volunteering is also a powerful addition for any career. 82% of managers prefer to hire people with volunteering experience.
  • And don’t forget CV hobbies and interests. If you’re turning a passion into paid work then mention it. Many people have decided on a career change as a result of interests pursued outside of work. So make your knowledge and experience known.

Read more: Best Hobbies and Interests to Put on a CV

7. Write a Cover Letter

 

A career change CV demands a cover letter. To convince a hiring manager you’ve got what it takes you need as much proof of your abilities as you can muster. And rest assured, cover letters are still a thing. In fact, more than half of employers regard them as a must-have.

 

This is how to write a cover letter for career changers.

  • The best way to start a cover letter it to use a ‘hook’. Use an impressive and relevant professional accomplishment to draw the reader in.
  • Emphasise that your existing experience and skills will transfer to standout performance in your new career.
  • When closing a cover letter always include a call to action that makes it clear you want to proceed to the next stage of recruitment.
  • And remember, a good cover letter is a short cover letter. The ideal cover letter length is one page, maximum. 

 

One last piece of advice. Follow up every application. If there’s no reply after a week, follow up by email or phone and check on the progress of your application. It’s a proven way of boosting your chances of success.

 

Key Takeaway

 

Let’s sum up how to write a career change CV:

  • Use the hybrid/combination format. It highlights both your skills and your experience and it’ll still pass muster with recruiters and ATS.
  • Write a slightly longer personal profile that positions you as a candidate with the skills to succeed in your new job sector.
  • Craft your skills summary and employment section to show achievements and experience that are targeted to your new career.
  • Make use of additional sections to show off even more transferable skills.
  • Always include a career change cover letter.

 

Thanks for reading. What did you think of our career change CV examples? Is there anything we missed about writing a CV for career change? Is there a specific sample CV for career change you’d like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments section and I’ll be happy to help.

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Jacques Buffett
Jacques is a career expert committed to delivering top-notch job hunting advice. His guides will empower you to craft winning resumes and cover letters.

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