Show You Meet the Requirements
Whatever job you apply for, it is up to you to show that you meet the job requirements. Even a high school student, who may get cut some slack because of limited work experience, will do better to actively relate their experience to the job requirements.
Too frequently, I encounter long-term job seekers who have been highlighting all of their qualifications – including the academic ones – in their resumes, regardless of where they’re applying to work. A gift-shop customer won’t care that you did your Master’s thesis on symbolism in Baudelaire’s poetry. They will care that you can listen to them and be able to wrap the items they purchase. Similarly, the hiring manager in a retail store will care more about instances where you delivered good customer service as opposed to your software coding victories.
If you cannot bear to suppress the details of your academic and previous career prowess, and you choose to leave them at the front or prominently placed in your resume, you cannot blame a retail employer for worrying whether you will fit in as a just-above-minimum-wage salesperson in their business.
When adapting your resume for a job outside your field, you need to make the case carefully for the job you want, and make that case easy to see and understand.
Seven Tips for Writing a Resume for a Bridging Job
- Showcase the more relevant experience, and downplay the less relevant experience.
- Push education and certifications (unless relevant, such as First Aid) to the end of the resume.
- Remove any certifications and academic degrees from beside your name in the resume heading.
- Telescope your work experience. Give only details relevant to the job applied for and reduce most prior jobs to one line of information, including company, role title and dates.
- Start your resume with a tailored profile aimed at the job you want. This can be one or two paragraphs, or a paragraph with some bullet points that provide specifically relevant experience and skills.
- Stick to hard and soft skills. Do not pad with personal values fluff, such as “hard-working team player with a driven passion to serve customers”. Your personal values and work ethic are evaluated by interview (you, and sometimes your references).
- Limit your resume to 1-1.5 pages.
Tailoring is as much about what you don’t say as about what you do say. Remember, your resume should never be about everything you ever accomplished for past employers; but rather about everything you can accomplish for the employer in front of you today.