Resume Writing: From the Public to the Private Sector

Resume WritingWorking in the Public Sector or in a government job often entails many key benefits, such as increased superannuation, flexible working hours and dedicated time-in-lieu. However, for many public sector employees, there may come a time when private employment is desirable.

What to Expect

Changing sectors is often a positive and engaging move and public sector job seekers will often find a wealth of possibilities open to them. However, there are many things you will need to be prepared for, such as:

•    Culture changes – these can be small or large, depending on your current role and your desired role
•    Different people with different mindsets, goals and personalities
•    A need to undertake further education or qualifications
•    Demanding interviews, often using competency-based interviewing structures (however, the interview phase can often be shorter)
•    More industry fluctuation and volatility
•    Potential for higher salaries, but lower superannuation payments

Resume Writing

Moving into a private or corporate role means that you will have to write a new resume or significantly rework your current resume so that is specifically targeted at corporate or private roles.

This may seem difficult at first, but the key to success here is knowing exactly what value and skills you can bring to a corporate company and understanding how to demonstrate this via your professional resume.

Understanding Your Value: Make sure your value is portrayed clearly in your resume. What can you offer companies that other candidates can’t? You will need to point out to a private employer exactly what talents and competencies make you stand out over other candidates. You might have international experience, second language skills or experience in coordinating tasks across different locations. Think about what you can uniquely bring to a private company.

Including Achievements: Any employer or recruiter will want to see evidence of your achievements, no matter what your experience entails in the public sector. If your resume is simply a list of your duties, take the time to expand on the accomplishments you’ve made in your past roles. Employers not only want to see what you can do, but how well you can do it and how it improved your organisation as a whole. Include concrete examples where possible and use statistics (e.g. I improved this by x% or decreased costs by xyz amount) to support your claims.

Transferable Skills: Your transferable skills can often be what sells you as a candidate, especially if you don’t have extensive experience in a particular niche or industry. You will also need to relate your skills acquired in the public sector to the skills and experience the employer is looking for. This will be listed in the job advertisement or description.

If you were previously an administration clerk in the Defence Force, for example, your transferable skills might involve a capacity for improving processes, adhering to strict policies, employing attention to detail and gaining extensive database or record keeping experience.

Ability to Learn: If you are lacking in experience in certain areas, it can be beneficial to point out your ability to pick up new tasks or systems. You’ll need to back this up with evidence in your resume, however, by highlighting your learning achievements in your public sector job.

Jargon: Using any jargon or terminology from the public sector should be avoided in your resume. Instead, focus on using plain and simple English. If you do need to use specific terminology (such as for a job title), ensure that you explain what the term means in your resume.

Are you moving from the Public to Private Sector? Resumes Australia can help you write a great resume, figure out what jobs to apply for and ensure you achieve a smooth public-to-private sector transition.


kylie hammond

About Kylie Hammond
Executive Search Consultant, Head-Hunter, HR Consultant, Executive Career Coach, Expert Resume Writer & Executive Talent Agent.

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