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Case Study 1: Successful Career Change from Bank Manager to CPA

One consistent trend I’ve noticed as we ride out job searching in the Covid era is the number of people who decided to take control of their careers to transition into completely new jobs. Reasons range from increasing their earning potential to creating better work/life balance. Regardless of the personal goal, shifting into a different career is a complicated process. In fact, the decision to leave a comfortable, well-paid job for something totally new takes guts!

Meet Todd

In my 15+ years working as s a career professional, I have assisted numerous individuals in achieving a successful career change. I wanted to share the success story of a recent client I’ll call Todd (I’ve fictionalized his name to protect his privacy). When Todd contacted me, he was working as a senior-level branch bank manager at a bank in North Huntsville, AL. Over the past 16 years, he had worked his way up while working for three different area banks; and when he contacted me, he was earning a very comfortable salary.

Despite his success, his career goal had always been to work on the FP&A side of finance. He was in the process of completing an MBA with a Finance concentration but wasn’t too sure about how to effectively position himself in his resume and other career communications for job opportunities.

Todd’s Career Pivot Challenges

Todd also faced two big challenges: no prior experience working in a CPA role and there was also concern over his ability to land a CPA position that wouldn’t drastically reduce his current earnings. He was open to accepting a small decrease in pay as long as there was the potential for long-range income and career growth.

Developing a Strategy

Our strategy began with assessing the local job market, in particular the financial industry landscape. Todd and his family were happily settled in their North Alabama community, so his search was local. I then instructed him to send three job listings, paying close attention to salary and also researching the company and organizational culture to determine stability and growth opportunities. The job listings would also provide us with the required qualifiers. This was important – he would need to clearly show that his skills and experience aligned him as a qualified candidate for these jobs.

The Strategy Call

The next step was preparing for the strategy call. I provided Todd with a worksheet designed to identify and measure key achievements and contributions. This information was critical in defining his financial knowledge and value as a potential employee. The worksheet follows the CAR formula (Challenge/Cause + Action Taken = Results) as a guide to identifying and communicating notable accomplishments. The goal is to collect job-relevant information and then translate it into language that prospective employers will interpret as valuable.

Using information from the resume he provided, the completed worksheet, and job listings, I prepare targeted questions to ask during the strategy call to gather job-relevant, results-driven information that I used to build his new resume.

The Final Result

About a week before Christmas, I emailed the completed resume for Todd to review. Three weeks after that, I received this email response:

Hi Kimberly,

I just wanted to reach out and give you an update. I accepted an accounting position yesterday with a local CPA firm. I’ll be turning my notice in at [name of bank was removed] Monday and then starting on my new career path in a couple [of] weeks.

This position will allow me to gain the experience the state requires for me to become a fully licensed CPA and I hope to stay there long-term and maybe even become a partner someday. I think the resume you made for me definitely played a critical role in helping me land the interview.

I also felt better prepared to talk about my transferable skills in the interview from the conversation we had prior to you writing my resume. I really appreciate your help and I would love to leave you a positive review once I can announce my new job publicly.  Thanks!!

I was so excited to hear that his career pivot was a success! I’ll be sharing other case studies of challenging resume writing and job search scenarios periodically so stay tuned.

Image Credit: Kelly Sikkema

Now be honest… is the resume and cover letter you’ve been submitting for jobs getting you noticed? How about your LinkedIn profile? Are you getting interviews? If not, we should talk! Contact me by phone: 1-866-562-0850, email:, or text:
(256) 690-0564 to schedule a NO COST, NO OBLIGATION 15-minute consultation. 

Kimberly Ben is a multi-credentialed Professional Resume and LinkedIn Writer and Job Search Coach. She has written hundreds of resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and other career communications for multiple career industries and professions. Kimberly’s extensive education, training, and experience have resulted in a clear understanding of current hiring best practices and the most effective job search techniques, branding strategies, and insight on what it takes to gain the competitive edge and impress employers in a challenging job market.

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