Larry O'Toole worked as a legal assistant before switching to sales a few years ago. But he'd really like to work in a corporate training department.
In July, the New Rochelle N.Y. resident left his last sales job at a small manufacturer of industrial products. “All the work was done on the phone,” he said. “I was not out selling the product itself. It just wasn't the (type of) sales I was hoping to do.”
He's worked with a career coach, joined a public speaking group to sharpen his presentation skills and spends time each day searching for work. But he hasn't had any interviews in his new field of choice.
O'Toole believes the skills he's developed in prior jobs qualify him to do something like in-house corporate training. But his resume does not show experience in the profession. So he faces a question common for those attempting to switch professions at mid-career – how to get noticed when applying?
An important step is to tailor his resume to fit the criteria for jobs he's targeting.
“Your goal with any resume creation today is to get the interview, and then in the interview you can tell your story,” said Eric Winegardner, a vice president at Monster Worldwide Inc.
At many companies, the first review of resumes is done electronically, because hundreds of applications are often submitted for one opening, Winegardner explained. When companies with jobs to fill tap into a database like Monster's, they do searches through countless resumes “to try to find the perfect person in that proverbial haystack,” Winegardner explained.
While some mid-career professionals may remember the days when the way to get noticed was high-quality paper or a well-designed resume, today it's more important for your resume to contain words or phrases targeted by impersonal software.
For instance, someone looking for a job in the technology field might pay attention to what software is mentioned in an advertisement, and if they know it, mention it by name on their resume, said Tyra Tutor, a senior vice president at MPS Group, a staffing firm in Jacksonville, Fla.
A job hunter shouldn't hesitate to create multiple resumes based on what kind of job they're seeking. Each should be tailored to reflect the latest language of the field, which in some cases might require research.
Also, the rule that a resume should be one or two pages doesn't apply to electronic versions. “The version you create online should include all the information you need,” Winegardner said.