I recently ran into someone that was changing careers at mid-life. This individual was trying to move into the SQL world, having had exposure to computers and programming but had mostly worked in another field. This person had been learning SQL Server, working through books and practicing things, but had not gotten any practical experience and was asking for advice on how to structure a resume and break into the field.
Note that I haven’t done this, but here’s my advice from the hiring side: tell a story.
Show me over some time that you have learned things and can relate those to business.
Show me how your past experience in another field is similar to that in SQL Serer, and that you can use logic and perseverence to work through an issue.
Tell me how you learned to do something, with research, asking questions or experimentation.
The past job experience you have in another field isn’t as relevant to me in the SQL Server world as the skills you have, or the work you’ve done to learn new skills. Put those near the top of your resume, and highlight the reasons I should give you a chance.
It’s a change of pace, refreshing, and should catch the eye of HR people.