I recently received a phone call from an MBA student I was helping pursue a change in career path. These kinds of changes typically take longer and you have to be patient. You also need to have a resume that grabs a potential employer's attention and convinces them there are sufficient transferable skills for them to invite you in for an interview. In an interview, you will have the opportunity to elaborate on your experiences and demonstrate how they are directly relatable to the position.
My student was excited because she was offered a new opportunity that represented the career change she desired and she was positioned to grow that career. She not only was changing careers but also industries. She went from retail to non-profit education. These transitions are also infrequent. So what helped make this possible? What in her private sector retail experience peaked the interest of a non-profit education organization? Surprisingly it was her profit and loss (P&L) experience.
Profit and loss is the ability to understand income and expense and adjusting your strategies and operation to changes in either in order to produce a profit. It is more than reading financial statements or reports. Not that many people have true P&L experience and those who do know what it takes to run a department or business.
In the 7 years my student had been in retail she was able to obtain P&L experience so I suggested she include it in the summary of her qualifications. The statement was "Significant P&L experience managing and leading teams consistently delivering results." Of the 455 words on her resume, these 12 words or 85 characters (that would fit in Twitter) were what helped get her the job. She was excited and so was I. Obviously, the words alone were not enough but she was able to articulate a skill she had that a potential employer needed.
Thinking through what you have to offer a potential employer starts with what you believe a potential employer needs. This student did not know that P&L experience would be relevant to a non-profit but the operational nature is a transferable skill. Focusing on transferable skills is especially important when making career or industry changes. Sometimes in the case of this student, you find an employer who is seeking you more than you are seeking them. It is a perfect match. The employer wins and you win.