How to write a CV for changing job sectors

Careers expert John Lees has some advice if you are looking to change sector in the new year and need to rethink your CV.

tablet with 'send cv' button


The last few months have been all about skills shortages and talk of the ‘Great Resignation’, at least until Omicron came along. It is expected that many people will choose to change jobs in the new year despite the ongoing uncertainty, but what if you fancy changing sector as well? Careers expert John Lees has some advice.

This is a good time to be realistic about the sector you work in and to focus hard on transferable skills. Jobs like HR or finance or customer services are present across most industries. If you have been in a sector which has been badly affected by the pandemic or other underlying issues, you could point yourself towards sectors which are less affected, targeting specific employers where you think your skills and experience can make a difference.

When it comes to your CV,  be sure that it works for the job you are applying for. Don’t let your sectoral experience dominate your CV – focus on projects and issues which affect a wider range of organisations.

Check in with contacts early, and set up online conversations with people in new sectors so you really understand what organisations are looking for and the language they use to describe top performers. Time spent now focusing on organisational needs will pay off – translate what you do into items that appear frequently on employer shopping lists. The trick here is to communicate what you do well in language that organisations not only understand but can get excited about.

In-depth research not only decodes jobs for you, but also shows that you are committed to change. This is reinforced by any kind of work experience/ internship you can arrange.

Manage the opening of your CV and LinkedIn profile so you stress the skills and experience that should work well in a new role – for example, use of IT, problem solving and customer service.

A lot of people are changing sectors at the moment, so don’t feel what you are doing is unusual.

*John Lees is one of the UK’s best-known career strategists and author of 15 books on work and careers. How to Get a Job You Love (now in its eleventh edition) regularly tops the list of best-selling careers books by a British author and was twice selected as the WH Smith Business Book of the Month. His other McGraw Hill titles include ‘Get Ahead in Your New Job’, ‘Knockout CV’, ‘Knockout Interview’ and ‘Career Reboot’.  Formerly Chief Executive of the Institute of Employment Consultants, John’s expertise as a careers specialist has been featured at international career conferences and in the media and has been sought by a wide range of commercial organisations, universities and business schools.


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