Questions from Redditors Part 3: Executive Drafts owner Jeremy Shreve answers some of Reddit’s resume FAQs
Here at Executive Drafts, we love engaging directly with people and providing high-value, completely free advice. We are frequent contributors on Reddit, where we have helped countless individuals with feedback on their resumes and offered general career advice across a wide range of Reddit communities. For those of you not familiar with Reddit, it’s a place where people gather to share social news, discuss topics grouped by Subreddits, and vote on shared content. We’re most active on the r/resumes Subreddit (www.reddit.com/r/resumes), where we offer public critiques and advice on user submissions.
Jeremy Shreve, the owner of Executive Drafts (username u/ExecutiveDrafts), has been an active participant of Reddit for many years and started Executive Drafts after his success in coaching people on career and resume best practices both on Reddit and in the real world. That being said, we’ve been around the block a time or two, and have seen the same questions circulating Reddit over the years. In this three-part series, Jeremy will be answering some of the burning questions we see time and time again across the internet.
Part 3 is devoted to one question, and one question only: how to transition from one career to another without relevant experience. This is perhaps the most frequently asked question on Reddit and one of the most challenging aspects of resume writing, which is why we’ve saved the best (and perhaps the most complicated) for last.
Q. I’m trying to transition into x industry but don’t have relevant experience. How do I stand out?
A. We work with so many people looking to change careers, so I’m very familiar with the ins and outs of this process. Let’s look at a big transition vs. a small one. A big transition would be “I am a chef, but I want to be a computer programmer.” A small transition would be “I do marketing and lead gen for an education company, and I’d really like to move into technology.”
Small transitions let you make one substantial change about your career (for example, changing the industry, moving to a similar department, or relocating). Those changes are relatively easy to pull off, and you only need to know how to answer the obvious “So, why are you looking to do ___ change in your career?” interview question.
Big changes are trickier, no surprise there. If you’ve had a career and are looking to make a drastic change, you need to do a couple of things:
First, on the resume, you still want to list the years of experience you have in ANY career, but you might not want to list in-depth responsibilities or verbiage associated with life as a chef when your resume is getting read by software developer hiring managers.
Second, you should be prepared for an uphill battle where relying solely on your resume puts you at a clear disadvantage. Simply put, there are plenty of computer programmers out there for recruiters to choose from, so you probably can’t blame them for their reluctance in hiring a chef for his first programming job.
This is where having a strong cover letter and doing some networking comes into play. A cover letter can give you the ability to explain the situation a little better than the resume. Since resumes are highly structured and offer little in the way of narrative freedom, a cover letter lets you address the basics of why you’re transitioning.
Meanwhile, networking in any capacity, whether it’s beefing up your LinkedIn profile or attending company happy hours, is an excellent way to get people to like you and explore your skill set before judging your resume. If you find yourself in a position where you just wish someone would “take a chance” on you, then you probably fall into this category.
A new career can be a very rewarding experience, but too many people expect to immediately get hired upon completing a degree, boot camp, or certification. There’s more nuance and persuasion and patience required when making very large changes.
In addition to being active Reddit contributors, at Executive Drafts, we’re career and resume strategists dedicated to helping you land your next job. If you’re interested in learning more about our services you can visit us on our website. While you’re there, you can submit your resume for a complimentary critique.
Interested in reading more in this series? Part 1 of the series was all about the “Experience” section of your resume. In other words, how to talk about job titles, overlapping/concurrent positions, and non-traditional career entries on your resume.
In part 2, we discussed the basic elements of a resume, including introduction, skills, project sections as well as touched on best practices with respect to your college GPA, references, and whether your resume should be one page or two pages in length.