How to Make Irrelevant Experience Seem Relevant on Resumes

How to Make Irrelevant Experience Seem Relevant on Resumes

If you were a senior project manager in a financial company, you may have a problem applying for work as a senior project manager in a different industry.

Why is this so, especially if you know that you can do the work?

The problem arises when you do not know how to make your experience seem relevant for your resume.

Different industries come with different "personalities."

As such, they have different categories of required industry knowledge. 

But there is a way to make your previous experience seem relevant for the new industry you want to penetrate.

Here are five ways to make this happen.

1. Study job descriptions for keywords

Do not freak out at job descriptions that leave you feeling unqualified.

  • Carefully read through the job descriptions for jobs you want.
  • Pick out all the responsibilities and core skills required for the position.
  • Then, make note of similar keywords that are shared between industries.

With this information, you can begin to tailor your resume properly.

As an example, a talent agent in entertainment may have some idea as to how a talent acquisition manager works in a corporation.

They use similar keywords to describe what they do.

However, the two jobs are very different.

If you feel confident that you can accomplish the described duties and that the learning curve would not be too steep, go ahead and submit that resume!

The worst thing that could happen is that you don't get a callback.

2. Think outside the box for job titles

The job titles you once had might not exist when entering another industry.

Do not get caught off guard if this happens!

Job titles are labels placed on people for work they do in an industry, but you should not let them limit your career growth.

  • Take a look at all the job experience you have had to date.
  • Focus on the duties involved in these jobs. (Forget the job titles.)
  • Search for job titles in your new industry where such duties are performed.

For example, if you were an office manager at one point, you may have the skills required to be an operations manager.

Or perhaps you worked in quality assurance for a website and much of your work involved screening web content. But then at some point, your curation of content on social media accounts evolved to the point where you actually started managing social media.

There would be several job titles involved in what you did (social media manager, copy editor, reputation manager, etc.).

In such a case, a single job title did not aptly describe what you achieved.

Don't be afraid to adjust the job titles on your resume to more accurately reflect the duties you performed.

3. Focus on solutions and achievements

In today’s world, learning new skills can happen at a much lower cost and a shorter period of time than in eras past.

Because of this, companies may hire for “ability to execute” over a degree.

It is easy to know what to do, but the question on the hiring manager's mind is:

Do you know how to do it?

For your resume, it would serve you better to show quantifiable achievements that display your ability to execute plans.

Your resume should show that you know how to follow through and get results.

  • Show what problems you solved.

Avoid listing the problems you were smart enough to discover.

Anyone can point fingers and assign blame. 

Demonstrate that you can fix the problems you discovered.

  • List out impressive results to challenges.

Outline the specific ways you solved challenging situations.

Use quantifiable data (numbers and percentages) as much as possible.

4. Create a career highlights section

If you are seeking a different path after years in an established career, you undoubtedly have a solid list of career accomplishments.

You can highlight these on your resume even if they came from a different industry. 

Here is a sample from a Find My Profession client in which they created a career highlights section:

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

Successfully solicited eBay and PayPal to present benefits of SpyCob.com’s innovative SaaS solution and secured strategic partnerships with both prior to product launch.

Invited by the supervisor at JP Morgan to move to Moscow and assist in building-out the Russia/CIS practice beyond natural resources (oil & gas, metals, etc.).

Played a key role in winning all IPO and M&A mandates, making JP Morgan “the” transport and infrastructure team in the region.

This client has worked globally and with both financial and tech companies.

Her highlights show that she has designed and executed successful partnerships and was a trusted member of a major company.

These highlights can be considered both relevant and impressive, even by recruiters or hiring managers in a different industry.

5. Remove any doubt or confusion

The bottom line is that you want to make your resume relevant.

This is especially true if you’re changing industries.

So how do you accomplish this?

Do your best to connect the dots for the hiring manager or recruiter.

It is not the responsibility of recruiters and hiring managers to figure out why you are relevant. If you do not connect the dots for them, they will simply assume your qualifications are not a good fit.

This might require heavy tailoring of your resume.

  • List every single accomplishment you can.
  • Show how it connects to the job you are applying for.

The easier you make this for others reading your resume, the more likely you are to get a callback or an interview.

Closing thoughts

We understand that job searching can be a fulltime job in itself.

Here at Find My Profession, we would love to help you land the perfect career.

We offer professional resume writing services aimed at helping you get callbacks and interviews.

Our legendary career finder service offers the full gamut of job search help!

In short, we do the heavy lifting so you can focus on what's important.

Get in touch today and let us help you navigate your career change.

Our goal is to help you find vocational success.

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