Britany from Johnson & Wales University asked:
“I have a finance background, and have decided to change fields to Information Security. Grad school starts soon, and it has been hard to land a job in finance. Should I pursue IT roles now instead? If, so how do I address that on my resume? Thank you”
Congratulations on starting graduate school and thank you for your question. I understand wanting to apply to positions within IT since you have been having a difficult time finding a job in finance. Prior to starting graduate school, I was in a similar position. I was interested in applying to jobs in Higher Education until I realized I didn’t have the necessary skills, experiences, and education that employers required. Since you are starting graduate school and the world of work is competitive, I recommend focusing on your classes and honing in the competency areas in order to be a viable candidate in the Information Security industry. However, as you transition into a new field, I have provided resume tips that you can start implementing today:
Re-brand your Resume
Currently, your resume may focus on your finance experience. However since you are changing careers, it is now time to develop an Information Security resume. Many positions in the field require technical and soft skills, such as attention to detail, interpersonal and written communication skills. I’m positive that you developed many of the soft skills employers are seeking during your time in finance. In order to leverage these skills (as well as others), I recommend adding a Summary of Qualifications section on your resume. The Summary of Qualifications provides an employer a snapshot of your skills, experiences, and accomplishments in 4-5 bullet points. This section is located on the top of your resume, after your name and contact information. This worksheet will be a helpful guide as you begin brainstorming statements to include in your Summary.
If you haven’t already, add your Master’s degree to your education section (listing it above your Bachelor’s degree). In addition, if you have little experience in the IT field, I encourage you to add “Relevant Coursework” under your degree. In this area, you can list the name of the classes you are taking this semester, which allows the employer to have an understanding of the knowledge you have in the field.
In your classes, you will have a chance to put theory into practice by completing a substantive project. This is more experience you can include on your resume! You can incorporate your academic projects into a subsection in your Education section. First, begin identifying your proudest project(s) you completed in graduate school and describe what you accomplished. For example, did you completed a project for a client? Or did you lead a team? Or solve a problem? Next, describe your achievements in one or two bullet points. Need help formatting this section? Check out this article from a The Campus Career Coach contributor.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2017 survey, 91% of employers prefer a candidate with work experience and 65% desire that a potential employee have relevant work experience. An internship may be required for your program and I encourage you to meet with your career center to help you with your search. As soon as your internship is complete, you can add this experience to your resume.
As you re-brand your resume, your Information Security education and experiences should be the focal point and your finance experience will be listed towards the bottom of your resume.
I wish you the very best in your studies and if you need further assistance in your job search, please schedule an appointment with a career advisor at the Johnson & Wales Career Center.