Delilah, 34, first started working as an agent at a student travel centre in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia in 2009. Her career brought her to Toronto seven years later, where she found work at a luxury travel company and ascended the ladder to a position as the director of sales. Her role was shuffled amid the start of COVID-19, and by August, she was furloughed due to cutbacks.
Her job search since then has been challenging. Travel is the only industry Delilah has ever known, but she’s hopeful about the value of her transferable skills. “The challenge is showing future employers that my experience in travel can be applied to a new industry,” she writes. With this pivot, she’s worried about having to take a pay cut or work in a more junior position.
In her previous roles, Delilah enjoyed the opportunity to mentor and coach her staff. “I love to see them become successful in their own right,” she says. “It’s so satisfying to see team members grow.” Her aim is to find a role leading a sales team in the tech space where she can help build and grow a company. “It’s also vital for me to be in a role that has personal growth and the opportunity to learn something,” Delilah says.
So we reached out to Mark Franklin, career-counselling practice leader at CareerCycles and Cindy Diogo, the head of talent acquisition at the software company Rangle, to look over Delilah’s resume and offer some tips for her career transition.
What the career coach says
Despite the uncertainty of COVID-19, Mr. Franklin feels confident that Deliah can pivot into a comparable role in another industry. To achieve this, Mr. Franklin suggests that Delilah’s work history be further refined by adding more quantifiable results to show her accomplishments in each role. He also suggests changing up her work history heading into something better aligned with her career search, such as sales and leadership experience.
Given her skill set, Mr. Franklin encourages Delilah to broaden her job search and consider other industries that have been booming amid the pandemic. “Distribution and logistics is growing due to online sales during the pandemic,” Mr. Franklin explains. “Every retailer is now doing e-commerce.” But if she wants to focus on tech, Mr. Franklin suggests looking for leadership roles at customer-relationship-management companies. She could also consider leadership roles for an HR systems provider. Delilah could see what new technologies are often mentioned in roles she’s interested in, take some online courses then add them to her resume to show that she’s serious about her new career direction.
Once Delilah gets to the interview stage. Mr. Franklin suggests that she do her research about the company and let it show in her interview responses. He reminds Delilah of the STAR response strategy when answering questions, which is to explain the Situation, Task, Action and Result. “What many fail to do is then link their response to the employer’s job or workplace,” he says. “Delilah could respond to any behavioural question with a substantive example followed by a linking statement that connects to her research on the prospective employer.”
Regarding her concerns over accepting a drop in pay or a lower-level position, Mr. Franklin doesn’t believe that Deliah needs to compromise. “Why not land a job at the same level and same or even more salary?” Mr. Franklin asks. “The only limit is her creativity in job searching and not relying only on posted jobs.”
What the industry expert says
Ms. Diogo says that Delilah has done a good job outlining her accomplishments in revenue generation and client management. But there are a few things she can do to better position herself as a senior candidate. First, Ms. Diogo recommends Delilah move the skills section of her resume to the top. “When moving from one industry to another, you want to pinpoint your relevant skills and market them – both in your skills highlights and throughout your resume,” Ms. Diogo explains. Delilah should also add the use of relevant tools, such as Salesforce, to her skills section, then rename it core competencies and skills.
For her summary, Ms. Diogo encourages her to think of the paragraph as a career objective. “She should focus on her goal of pivoting her transferable skills into a role within the tech/startup industry,” Ms. Diogo says. From a formatting standpoint, she prefers resumes without the use of colour, especially when applying for senior roles. Ms. Diogo also recommends adding an interests section to show some personality in her resume. “We take a humanistic approach to recruitment and look at the person as a whole,” she says.
For companies such as Rangle, Ms. Diogo says that she does consider applications outside of the tech space when hiring for positions in sales and client partnerships. “People who can demonstrate an eagerness to learn, understand a potential client’s pain points and translate that into actions our company can take to help them are the best fits for our roles,” she says. Like Mr. Franklin, Ms. Diogo believes that Delilah doesn’t have to give up her current title or salary expectations. “If you can demonstrate your skills and abilities at a senior level, titles don’t matter – experience does,” Ms. Diogo says. Based on Delilah’s resume, Mr. Diogo says that she would pass the initial screening for a current opening as a business development director at Rangle.
Like Mr. Franklin, Ms. Diogo suggests that Delilah take some online courses to help develop her knowledge about the technology lifecycle. Delilah can also seek out tech meetups, which have mostly moved online, and networking opportunities with tech organizations such as the MaRS Discovery District, a startup hub in Toronto.
The new resume
Based on Ms. Diogo’s recommendations, Delilah has removed the colour from her resume and moved her skills section to the top while adding an interests section to the bottom. She has refined her opening paragraph into a career objective which better demonstrates her desire to pivot industries. Mr. Franklin suggested that Delilah remove icons next to her personal information, which she has done. Delilah has also renamed her work history section to ‘Professional Experience’ for a more dynamic title.
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Email us with your resume at email@example.com and we’ll ask a career coach and an expert in your field to provide their feedback. Names and some details are changed to protect the privacy of the persons profiled. We’re especially interested in hearing from those who have had their employment impacted by COVID-19. On the flipside, if you’re a hiring manager interested in reaching out to the person profiled, we encourage you to contact us as well.
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