It's really important to have a focused and targeted resume that will get you a particular job, but it’s also important to realize when your resume is too specific and potentially limiting your growth. This is especially relevant if you’re trying to jump from one side of the industry to another, like the transition from production to development. Once you’ve set yourself on a track, it can be hard to make a switch, especially if you’ve worked several jobs within that track. To make a career transition, you'll need your resume and cover letter to show that you're truly interested in a career switch and that your skills are transferable. Otherwise, you run the risk of hiring managers thinking your resume was submitted accidentally or carelessly, and they'll assume you're not really a viable candidate. Here are a few resume tips that can help expand your career potential:
1. Consider a professional summary. In many cases, you may want to add a professional summary that can showcase your desire for a transition and highlight the key skills and unique perspective you'd bring to the work. This is different from an objective statement; instead of "Objective: Secure role as a development executive," you'd frame it as, "Producer with 10+ years' experience crafting top-rated unscripted series seeking transition to development. Proven track record of conceptualizing storylines, identifying unique characters, and shepherding projects through all phases of content lifecycle. Able to manage teams and assess production viability due to extensive background overseeing logistics for large-scale domestic and international productions." By including this info at the top of your resume, you've primed the reader to approach the rest of your resume with the knowledge that you a) desire a career transition and b) have gained transferable skills through previous experiences, so they'll be more likely to read further.
2. Highlight specific keywords. Another option is to lead with an areas of expertise or core skills section, where you list relevant keywords that indicate your transferable skills. This section is especially helpful if you need to use specific language that's relevant to your potential new role but differs from the jargon used in your previous line of work. Maybe you don't have the title "project manager" on your resume, but if you've been a line producer for a while, you definitely have project management skills, and it's certainly okay to list "project management" here!
3. Write strategic bullet points. As you craft the bullet points in your experience section, take care to focus only on the most transferable, relevant skills. If you were an assistant to an agent, but you're looking to move to the production side of the industry, don't include too much about answering heavy phones. Instead, focus on covering several projects simultaneously, tracking information, and managing complex schedules -- all skills that will be useful on set.
4. Showcase interests and passions. You can also indicate interest in the type of work you're hoping to transition to by listing professional development courses you've taken, citing side projects you've completed, or naming the type of content you're transitioning to in your professional summary or skills & interests section. This will help solidify your desire to broaden your work.
There’s always a way to spin your experience to align with what hiring managers are looking for. And if you find yourself in a position or track you don’t enjoy, try to switch over as soon as possible -- it only gets harder the longer you wait. Plus, you deserve to be happy with your work!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan