Inclusion of specialist education on new career CV/Resume

Monday, October 20th, 2008 - CV Writing

Jayson asks: I am a chiropractor, and I am looking to change careers. My educational background: Undergraduate 1989-1993 (graduated), Chiropractic College 1999-2003 (Graduated) with a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree. It’s the last graduation that’s making things difficult in this process. To make a long story short, practicing chiropractic is not for me, and I’d like to capitalize (hopefully) on the management skills I’ve picked up along the way. I really do not want to draw attention to the fact that I am a chiropractor looking to change careers. This seems to be a nearly insurmountable distraction to potential interviewers, and, quite frankly, it might even hinder my chances at being invited for an interview to begin with. To this end, I have reworked my C.V. into a resume, and I have repositioned myself as having managed the practices in which I have been previously situated (I’m not lying here, either). My question is this: With respect to my chiropractic education, what is the best way to handle indicating that period of time in my life? I have considered various options:

– Eliminating/Omitting it – The drawback to this is that I feel that I would be hiding something, and that I would have 4 years of time unaccounted for.
– Indicating “Selected Courses at Life University, Marietta, GA” (possibly including an indication of a “concentration in healthcare management”) – I might be asked about why I didn’t “finish”/receive a degree, but, at least, I would be including the experience, and I could account for some, if not most, of that time.
– Including it outright – This would cause the distraction to which I referred earlier in this e-mail, and possibly exclude me from many possibilities.

I have also heard of the inclusion of a “professional development” section on the resume which would account for certain experiences that didn’t lead to a degree. Any ideas? They’d be greatly appreciated!!!

In answer:
Here’s a thought – at some point in time during a job application, it will come out that you had a 20 year career as a chiropractor, and you don’t want to do that any more. Had you thought Jayson about when you were going to handle that in a job application process, because the question then from any potential employer will be why (us)?

The answer to the question (and the best tactic is to answer it BEFORE the HR manager asks it), really revolves about what you want to do next. Because it will be seeing what type of skills that ideal new job requires, and if/where those skills show up in your previous occupation that the then writing of your CV/Resume then becomes much clearer. If you are writing a blind CV/Resume with Cover Letter at a potential employer, then I can see the problem. I would address this under a “healthcare management” title to keep it applicable to management as opposed to the physical work. I would suggest your chances of an interview on blind applications would be low, sub 10%.

However, lets get back to the real nub of the question, which is the why the move from chiropractor. Most well planned careers would take your existing skills (a chiropractor who has managed and run his own business), and transition to say management in a healthcare practice, or something which used multiple areas of your skills and competencies before transitioning into a new industry. But the way your question is posed suggests the move you desire Jayson is a move away from being a chiropractor AND a move away from the healthcare sector.

I hence don’t think the problem in any job application is actually in your CV/Resume as a “how I posed my skills and training” issues, but a “why do I want a career change issue away from so many of my core skills.” This any employer will be reading as a high-level risk, and its the why as well as showing Jayson that you have transitioned those skills in other instance that will reduce the employers view of that risk, and result in an interview.

This is one of the clear cases where I think a career coach would be of use to you. They could probe that desire, work up a five year strategy, and then a plan with steps below that/answers to the obvious HR questions. I would always employ a certified career coach, and find one who has handled such a situation before and can reference you directly to that transitioned client.

A cheaper option is to approach a good recruiter in the new sector in which you wish employment, and ask for advice. But they make their money on quick placements and many would have similar risk/desire concerns as any potential employer. Any good recruiter who could show you similar career transitions they had placed and then took you on, would have signed-in to the fact they believed you, and could sell the transition desire to their clients.

Good Luck!

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