Howdy! I did a Q&A with the wonderful Coursera Community that I wanted to pass along. It was a fun exercise, as it helped me crystallize my thinking on a range of hiring- and career-related topics. Read on for deeply honest advice like this:

To put it bluntly, hiring managers aren’t always the most creative people. They’re trying to find someone they think can do the job as quickly as possible, and if a resume or cover letter requires them to think creatively (e.g., “Well, this candidate doesn’t have experience in my domain, but their field *sounds* technical, so maybe it’s worth a shot…”), it’s going to reduce your changes of getting called back.

In my case, for example, when I was transitioning from Finance, I learned that my resume was too “finance”-y. In particular, it talked a lot about backtesting algorithms on historical S&P 500 data, and tech companies didn’t care about backtesting algorithms on historical S&P 500 data. However, they might have cared about my ability to build and deploy models that brought value to our cross-functional stakeholders.

In short, a job application is an opportunity to tell a story, and when you’re transitioning from one field to another, the story should be: “Here’s how my experience uniquely prepares me for helping you solve the challenges you’re facing.” People are usually amenable to compelling narratives, and that’s a compelling narrative.

Hope you find it helpful!