Q: I”m trying to change industries. How can I translate my experience on my resume to make a smooth transition?
A: The most common challenge for people trying to shift to another industry is translating their titles and responsibilities for potential employers. “People in banking, oil and insurance have a more difficult time moving over to consumer goods and services companies because the titles don’t translate accurately,” says William H. Burgess, III, president of The Burgess Group, a retained executive search and management consulting firm with offices in New York and Connecticut (212-686-5598). “Assistant vice president in a bank may only be a branch or niche marketing manager, whereas the same title in a consumer goods company may apply to a product director controlling the entire marketing of a product.”
Human resource professionals take the path of least resistance and won’t try to do the translation, adds Burgess. “They don’t know what the hierarchy was at your former company or what factors govern those titles, so, if you can, use a generic version of your title and, above all, focus on your responsibilities.”
Do try to keep the details as possible. You should target no more than two different industries and tailor a resume for each. Do some research and visit the company’s Web site to find out about its hiring practices, job openings and titles you can cross-reference. “A resume is merely a flash card of your accomplishments,” says Burgess. “Before you can get an interview, you must create an interest with the recruiter or hiring manager, and that means meeting their demands on paper first.”