Author Topic: How to find a job in a different career?  (Read 4450 times)

Wolf_Stache

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How to find a job in a different career?
« on: July 22, 2016, 06:50:59 PM »
So I quit my job back in November without another job lined up due to severe burnout, panic attacks, and becoming suicidal. After quitting I began job hunting, however I broke down whenever I looked at job ads for my old career.

I decided instead to try for an entry level job in a different field, but I've been looking unsuccessfully since November. I've had interviews but never got an offer as they 'decided to go with someone with more experience.' And yes, I'm applying to entry level and internship positions only and I did some classes and I have certification in my new field.

Any tips for finding an entry level job in a new career? I've revamped my resume to highlight job duties I had and projects I worked on that have cross-functional skills in the new area I'd like to focus on HOWEVER I still get phone interviews that go like this:

Interviewer: I see you used to do [z] and your degree is in [z]. You realize this job calls for [y].

Me: Yes, but as you can see I did a lot of [y] while working in my old jobs, and I really have a passion for work doing [y] and was always disappointed when I had to go back to doing [z].

Interviewer: But your degree is [z] and you have great experience in [z]. WE're really looking for [z] in our department right now.

Me: I'm not looking to do [z] anymore, which is why I applied for your entry level [y] position.

Repeat ad-nauseum (I literally had the conversation go around in circles like this once for 20 min until I just hung up on the person in disgust. Not professional, I know, but OMG. This isn't hard! I don't want to do [z] anymore!)

I'm thinking of stripping my resume down to the bones, just listing my skills, and leaving off every job. Would this tactic work? Or would I be shooting myself in the foot?

Locations: I'm in Portland, Oregon if that helps.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2016, 08:19:40 AM by Wolf_Stache »

Phorensic

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Re: How to find a job in a different career?
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2016, 07:36:22 PM »
The biggest tip I have found is a relentless pursuit of what you want. If you have had a few issues with recruiters, that is fine and to be expected. They have a cookie cutter mold you are supposed to fit into!

Since you don't, I would make a list of the top 30 companies in your field and apply to each one. You must have a reason for why you want to change careers or why you find this new avenue of work to be more fulfilling - share that. It personalizes you and makes it more likely that you will get a second look.

Good luck! I changed my career from information security/government contracting to the public sector about eight years ago. It has been very rewarding.

Lagom

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Re: How to find a job in a different career?
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2016, 07:37:53 PM »
Sorry to hear about your troubles. I think you did the right thing leaving a career that brought so much misery.

I'm interested to hear other's thoughts, but I do have some limited perspective here, as I was able to successfully transition into a different career path, although there was enough skill overlap that I didn't have to start at the entry level. What worked for me was bypassing the recruiting process and establishing a dialog with the guy who is now my boss. I got pretty lucky here in that I randomly met him at a networking event, so I had the chance to make a face to face impression. During our conversation I impressed him enough for him to mention the job opening (I had not been targeting that company so I otherwise wouldn't even have known about it). I still had to go through a rigorous interview process with a bunch of people, but what I didn't have to do was get past a recruiter screening.

I have also read some advice online that suggests things like mailing your resume and a cover letter/"pain" letter directly to the hiring manager with a similar idea of bypassing the recruiters. Never tried it myself though. If you have the time and funds to support a longer term strategy, one thing I would personally try is reaching out to hiring managers for roles at companies you want to work for (but perhaps who are not currently hiring) and asking for informational interviews. I promise some will respond and if you are well prepared for the meetings, make a good impression, and make it clear that you are NOT just trying to get them to hire you, you may in fact uncover some job leads, or even get one of them to recommend you to a colleague. Worth a try. Good luck!

letired

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Re: How to find a job in a different career?
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2016, 09:38:06 PM »
These are all tech-specific, but might work for your situation:

 - Go to meetups around the new career, meet people. Some might have a designated job matching segment where ppl who are hiring can meet up with people who are looking. Meetup.com is a great starting point for nearly everything.
 - Do a 'portfolio' project (or projects). Is there some example type work you can do to showcase your skills?
 - Massively over-prepare for each interview. Show up will something approaching a full-on project/proposal/business solution. Focus on how you specifically can solve a problem the company needs solved.
 - Have someone help refocus the resume on the new field. If at all possible, someone IN the new field.

Good luck! Career transitions are a bit tricky!

stashgrower

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Re: How to find a job in a different career?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2016, 09:58:35 PM »
If you know someone in the industry you want to break into, can you ask for directions? introductions? offer a coffee convo?

DavidDoes

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Re: How to find a job in a different career?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2016, 12:41:47 AM »
I did this, and I'm looking to do it again soon.

How I did it before was possessing the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in a position higher than entry level, but being willing to accept an entry-level position.

I quit my job when I got my first offer. Haven't looked back. I miss the money that I made, and I'm not enjoying this new field as much as I thought I would (which is mostly due to my employer), and am working on making myself employable in another field.

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Re: How to find a job in a different career?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2016, 04:40:11 AM »
For big corporations, write a good cover letter that addresses any of the gaps between your resume and the job description and makes a persuasive case for them wanting to hire you over a new graduate.  Ask a good editor to review and edit the cover letters, before you send them off.

Wolf_Stache

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Re: How to find a job in a different career?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2016, 08:26:58 AM »
The program I got the certificates through has a job placement board, and they helped me revamp my resume. Its helped, but I can't do anything about the job titles, which clearly state my old career.

I have several big projects I did as side projects during my old career that  I talk about in my resume and I have examples of up on github and my personal webpage, but that has seemed to make zero difference. My boyfriend works in the field I'm trying to break into and has introduced me to lots of people and given me a ton of tips.

Guess I'm just looking for new insight.

Part of the problem is that I'm interested in the new field and much more passionate about the work than my old career, but I have this deep-set fear, since they are both office type 9-5 jobs, that when I do get a job it is going to be all the same problems I was having with my last career. Namely they want you to work 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, answer emails at 2 am, have 500+ hours of work to do per week, etc. I have a feeling some of that anxiety is coming off in the interviews I do have.

mozar

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Re: How to find a job in a different career?
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2016, 11:14:52 AM »
Quote
Part of the problem is that I'm interested in the new field and much more passionate about the work than my old career, but I have this deep-set fear, since they are both office type 9-5 jobs, that when I do get a job it is going to be all the same problems I was having with my last career. Namely they want you to work 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, answer emails at 2 am, have 500+ hours of work to do per week, etc. I have a feeling some of that anxiety is coming off in the interviews I do have.

I have found that issues like that aren't career specific, but job specific. If that was the thing that bothered you, surely there are employers that aren't like that? When i first started in my career I was expected to work 70 hours a week. I switched jobs every two years within the same field and I landed at a place 6 months ago where I only have to work 40 hours a week and I have a lot of autonomy.

I have also learned how to say no when an employer is pushing me harder than I want. For example, I don't answer emails after 5.

I also think that instead of only applying to entry level, apply higher up because you have a few years of work experience already, so it's more a matter of trying to prove how your skills crossover. You're not trying to get your first job.

Finally, it's just super hard to find a job. Employers still think it's the recession and they have an unlimited pool to choose from.

lifejoy

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Re: How to find a job in a different career?
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2016, 11:24:28 AM »
Maybe look on askamanager.org?

Also, if you could share some of your skills and what you don't want to do, maybe we could help you come up with a new way to sell your skills?

Wolf_Stache

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Re: How to find a job in a different career?
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2016, 08:55:52 PM »
Here is my skillset of things I've done on the job before:
Washington State CPA (expired), Advanced/Expert Excel w/VBA & Macros, advanced Microsoft Office Suite (including Access VBA), SQL, T-SQL, back end Database development, front end database development, report writing, report automation, SAP, Microsoft NAV, Peachtree, Quickbooks, installation and setup of multiple accounting systems, Sales Tax returns (all fifty states), Technical writing, Project Licencing, Project Accounting, Budgeting, Cash Forecasting, Monthly Close, Journal Entries, GL, Financial Statement & footnote creation, AP Entry, AR Entry, Payroll, reconciliation, bank statements, fish tax returns WA & AK, etc etc (basically if it is accounting related I've done it as most of my jobs have been for very small companies where you have to be familiar and able to do anything)

Skills I've developed, have certifications for but have never done on the job:
HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Java, C#, ASP.NET, and PHP

Other Skills I have:
Creative Writing (Novels and short stories). I have a few published novels and short stories, but I make less than $100 a month in royalties from those at the moment.

Ideally I'd like to write full time, but not sure how feasible that is. I'm currently looking for an entry level IT job. I really really really really really don't want to be doing accounting anymore. I honestly can say I absolutely hate it. If it comes down to me not finding anything I'd rather get a job at the local 7-11 than go back to accounting full-time.

I'm currently scrapping by on with my novel income plus about $500 a month income from helping out a local bar for about 5 hours a week with their till reconciliation, and even that is almost too much for me to take. However, I can't keep this up much longer as I'm making up the difference with savings (for example my portion of the rent is $870 a month, more than my take home pay atm).

JRA64

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Re: How to find a job in a different career?
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2016, 09:44:40 PM »
Is there a workforce center in your area? I've been surprised at how helpful they are although I've not successfully landed my next job yet. That's where the ideas I list below came from.

They recommend networking, targeting a company and doing things to meet people in the company to help get your foot in the door. For example, if you can't meet people through professional organizations, but they sponsor a 5K, volunteer to work at the 5K.

Do any of the small companies you've worked at need your new skills? Or would you be back in a place where you are expected to work crazy hours, causing you to burn out in the new area? Most jobs are created by small companies. Could you market your services to them, perhaps freelancing or working part time to get some experience and help your cash flow? I think there would be a lot of small companies that want a website but can't afford the big company rates.

If you weren't so opposed to accounting, I'd almost suggest taking an accounting job where you want to work, getting a good reputation there, then trying to move into the other area. It sounds like you are burned out enough that it is not an option.

Are you familiar with a combination resume (I think that is what it is called). List projects or results that highlight using the skills you want to use. In a lower section, list previous employers and dates of employment, one line each, so a hiring manager can see there is not a gap. Don't include job titles at all if they are casing you problems.

Can you volunteer to do the website for a non-profit (I think that's what your new skills have in common)? Even though it's not paid it is still experience you can put on your resume and point to.

letired

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Re: How to find a job in a different career?
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2016, 01:46:42 PM »
For IT/tech stuff, I've had the best luck with the networking/personal connections avenue. I can't emphasize meetups enough!

In addition to the resume revamp, make sure your linkedin is updated/spiffed up and focused on tech/IT. Recruiters on LinkedIn are more miss than hit for me, but if you can find one worth working with, they can also be helpful.

If applicable, Women Who Code chapters are really really great for networking and job listings. My local chapter has a Slack with a very active Jobs channel.

lifejoy

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Re: How to find a job in a different career?
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2016, 02:11:01 PM »
How do you feel about networking? One way to do it is this: make a list of fifty companies you'd be willing to work for. Then rank it in terms of preference. Then go through the list, and identify a person it would make sense to talk to in that company. Probably someone who has a job that you want. Connect with them on LinkedIn (if possible) and reach out with an introduction. Tell them that you're interested in [company name] because [reasons] and that you'd love to take them out for coffee to learn about how they were able to launch their career. Then, you buy them coffee and with your prepared list of questions you ask smart things. It is always related to learning and never "can you help me get a job?" But guess what - it will come out that you want a job but that you're a go-getter who is doing the hw.

Out of ten LinkedIn messages, you will probably get 0-2 Yeses. So you're sending out a lot of messages. But every person you meet with and win over, will be on the lookout for you for jobs.

Let me know if you want books on brushing up your social skills and I'll list 'em.

Treat these meetings like you would a job interview.

jjcamembert

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Re: How to find a job in a different career?
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2016, 11:45:12 AM »
It looks like you do have good IT experience working with back-end and database services. I'd highlight that experience and maybe downplay / remove the accounting experience and keywords. Basically you want a resume that looks like you have some experience working in IT and want to continue doing that. Maybe look up "skills-based resume" format like someone else suggested, list skills first and work experience last.

What kind of jobs are you looking at? I could easily see you fitting into more of a business automation type development job, unless you're trying to stay completely away from internal business offices. Maybe that's a good step where you could pick up more development experience.

 

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