Let’s just agree with the fact that it is really hard to get a job in the field which doesn’t align with your previous background. Most of the companies want to hire experienced professionals as they don’t want to bear the cost of training them. Which makes the job searching process hard. So is there a way out of your current soul-sucking job? Well certainly there is and this is what this post is about.
Here are a few tips that helped me in getting calls from 70 companies over a period of three months during my job search with no background in software engineering. I have jotted down a few points that might help others in the process.
- Mentioning relevant keywords that match your skillset: This is the first and most important factor that will take your resume to the recruiter. Let us first understand the process that your resume is gonna go through.
The first point of contact for your resume will be some kind of bot that extracts the keywords mentioned in your resume. The next step is based on certain keywords it will categorize your resume and store it somewhere in the database for the HR screening. If your resume doesn’t have enough keywords, you may get a low score according to the bot’s algorithm and your resume may not even be seen by the recruiter. Look at the diagram on the left, you have to prepare your resume such that it passes the first two steps and then you can showcase your magic in the interview process.
2. Tailoring resume to a specific job: The biggest mistake and the most common one is making a generic resume. I have seen a lot of people doing it and hampering their chances of getting a call. A generic resume tells the recruiter that you are not serious about the job. A resume that is tailored for a particular role has better chances of selection rather than a generic resume.
If it’s too time-consuming, you can look at the different job descriptions on LinkedIn and figure out a way to create your resume that matches most of the roles.
3. Showcasing projects outside work: I have seen a lot of people who are switching their careers, mentioning their previous projects (which is not in any way relevant to the current job) and nothing related to the next profile they want to get in. You should have some projects related to the field you want to get in. It doesn’t have to be the most advanced ones but surely you can do simple stuff. Learn a few skills from Youtube, Freecodecamp, etc. that will indicate to the recruiter that you are serious about the profile and you have worked on your own to get the basics clear.
I follow the 50–50 principle i.e. one can utilize only 50% of the space for previous experience and projects and use the next 50% for the profile that you are looking for. Now this 50% is space for you to shine, this is the space that tells the recruiter although you don’t have any prior experience in the field you are learning it by doing it on your own and that is what matters for a call. The interview panel may decide how good you are, that is their responsibility. The sole responsibility of HR is to find capable candidates who are serious about the job.
4. Using action verbs with achievable results: This is the most overlooked point, some people follow it but only halfway. Your description in the projects should be to the point and start with action verbs like “made”, “did”, “worked on” followed by “which resulted in”.
For e.g: “worked on the front-end to visualize all the sales metrics and KPIs and backend to gather the data using SQL. Which resulted in a reduction in turnaround time from 30 days to 1 day.”
This is the most effective way to explain to others what you have done and how it has helped others.
5. Avoiding Irrelevant stuff: This is my advice and it is up to you to take or leave it. Sometimes it is best to avoid unnecessary stuff that no one cares about. For e.g Hobbies, GPA, Objective Statement, Facebook profile, Personal Details, etc.
Instead of a Facebook profile, I would recommend adding your LinkedIn, GitHub, Hackerrank profile details. For better UI use Icons and embed links in that. Similarly instead of Objective Statement use Carrer Profile, which is covered in the next point.
- Career profile: This one is my personal opinion, it is where you describe yourself in one line. This is the place where you can shine and tell the prospective employer your worth. Imagine this as a brief pitch that you gonna give to the person who is reading your resume.
For e.g : “Full Stack Developer with 2.5 years of professional experience, focusing on UI and Front-end roles. Development experience in 12 React and 4 React-Native projects (1 on Google Play Store)”.
2. Showcasing achievements: Well this one is a no-brainer, if you have any kind of achievements then you should put it there. Again this sends proof to the employer that they are interviewing someone worthy and who has proved himself/herself earlier. Well in case you don’t have one then there is no need to dishearten, I have two more tips for you that could help.
3. Better Resume Design: A rule of thumb is if it looks good and the user can get all the information in 3 seconds then you have passed the test. We all know how busy the recruiters are and they receive a lot of applications for one job. If your resume is bad in design which takes a lot of time to process the information then it is probably gonna be rejected. We don’t want that.
For this, I try to divide my resume into two sections (20%-80%), where I mention my skillset and contact details in the left 20% section. Rest 80% of the space is used by projects and career profiles.
4. Something unique: Well this for you to figure out what can you do. But it has to be impactfule enough to differentiate you from the rest of the candidates. For e.g, I mentioned my youtube channel in my resume and included some of the links for my projects hosted using Vercel.
I vividly remember one HR mentioning that my resume is very unique in comparison to the other candidates. She could easily see what projects I have worked on and how I built those. I am not boasting but you would have to come up with some strategy that differentiates you from others.
At last, I would like to say the most important step is to keep optimizing, no resume is perfect. We all need to make little tweaks and improve upon it. Keep iterating and see what’s working for you. Let me know in the comments if this helped you.
Happy Hunting :)