Over the last week, I’ve been looking into interior design-related internships or part-time work, with a few goals in mind:
- Get hands-on experience and understand the real day-to-day work in this field
- Explore the various paths within interior design to see what direction best fits my strengths, interests and working style
- Start to build up my resume and portfolio
Of course, as anyone who has applied to a job or even an internship knows, one key step in the application process — submitting a resume.
But how do you put together a resume when you’re new to the field?
I set off to do a little research, and a quick search of “career shift resume” netted a lot of helpful information. Here were some of the top tips:
Identify your transferable skills
Just because you may be new to the field, doesn’t mean you don’t already possess skills that will help you excel. For me, I had to think about the experience from my past work that would be a benefit in the interior design world. These are things like project management and client service.
I was also able to list some of the skills I’ve gained from my classes this semester, such as knowledge of the principles of design, space planning, and drafting.
And here’s how I was able to present them in my resume:
Write a resume/career objective
This might seem a little old-school, but writing a career objective is an opportunity to show that while you may be new to the field, you have passion as well as a clear direction as to how you want to enter the industry. This can be really helpful for internships or assistant-level work, where it’s understood that you will have little or no experience.
However one good piece of advice when writing this section: it’s not enough to just show passion; you should also touch on your transferable skills and how they will be a benefit to this new line of work.
Here’s my career objective for a home staging assistant position I applied to:
Choose the right format for you
I think many people are familiar with the traditional resume format:
- Employment history
- Skills, certifications, awards, etc.
In this format, the bulk of the content is typically reserved for the employment history section, where for each job, you list out your responsibilities and achievements.
However, this format doesn’t really work when you’re making a career change. It focuses too much on your employment in a completely different field, leaving your transferable skills buried.
When deciding on the best format for me, I thought about what my strongest selling points were.
I started with the career objective, just to lay the foundation and set some context for the person reading my resume. Then, I moved on to my summary of qualifications and skills, to really highlight how I could be an asset in the positions I was applying to. Next, I included my education, since it would show that I’m currently studying interior design. Finally, I concluded with a list of some of my past jobs. However, for this last section, I just listed workplace, location and dates; I didn’t list the responsibilities, as any transferable skills were also listed up in my skills section.
Here’s what the final resume for my home staging applications looks like:
And the great thing is I can use this same resume for multiple opportunities in the interior design field, with just a few wording adjustments.