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How do I get my foot in the door with a profession that is totally new to me?

Veteran

Christian Redmon Baton Rouge, LA

I've come across a variety of barriers when it comes to employment after graduation, specifically breaking through the traditional requirements of being on a journal or top percent of the class.

29 October 2020 14 replies Career Advancement

Answers

Advisor

Jordie Kern Amherst, MA

Network your way to "informational interviews" with people currently working in your chosen industry. Do them on Zoom, not on the phone or via email. Ask for advice, not a job and you'll get a better reception. Volunteer your time as an unpaid intern to build experience. Watch as many youtube videos you can that teach the skills you need. Good luck and call anytime if you want to brainstorm other ideas.

31 October 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Jeff Martin Ashburn, VA

I’d suggest that you network at the target company or industry. Use LinkedIn to find people already working there and reach out to them. Ask them the process they used to get hired and ask them to help you navigate the hiring process and if they are willing, ask them to submit you as a referral. These activities require much more time on your part but in my opinion would greatly increase your chances for success. Good luck!

30 October 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Matthew Anzalone Melbourne, FL

I would look into industry standard certification in what field you are pursuing and seeing if your qualified. Certifications are slowly becoming more valuable then degrees and its a good way to show your knowledge of the industry without any experience.

29 October 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Kang Bae Ridgefield, NJ

I'd recommend you reach out to the veterans working in the companies that you're interested in applying to via linkedin. Some companies even have veteran specialized recruiters who will be able to help you out in your application. Even non-recruiter contacts can get some insight on how they got their foot in the door, and referral if you're lucky.

Advisor

Karen Frank New Canaan, CT

Hi Christian,

Using your network is super helpful, particularly if you're wanting to go into a specific company. I've found LinkedIn is useful to find/make connections. Most often, even if you're acquaintances, people are willing to help. When I had difficulty getting my foot in the door right out of college, I contacted pretty much everyone I knew, and while none of them were able to help, they reached out to their network and someone from their network reached out to me.

The other suggestion is one that I posted on another question that I'll cross post here:
When thinking about a resume, people often try to replicate and translate in writing what they did (i.e., the activities) of their last job. I'd encourage you to think about transferable skills. Particularly as you're thinking of moving into a different type of job. For example, my first job right out of college was as a corporate event planner. It has zero to do with what I do today -- I was organizing events, handling high volumes of RSVPs, choosing font on invitations, menu selection, etc. Now, I'm advising senior leaders on what the people impact is on any changes/transformations they want to make to the organization and figuring out a way to change people's habits/behaviors. That all said, I take some of the skills that I've learned from my event planning days and apply them to the work I do today -- need for strong project management skills, attention to detail, thinking about a person's experience end-to-end, etc. It's those things that you want to call attention to when writing your resume, so that recruiters can easily translate your skill for fit to the job.

Good luck and hope this helps!

Advisor

Tooba Ali New York, NY

Hi Christian! I find that highlighting what education you took to show that you're prepared for the new role helps (is it a coding bootcamp? 50 hour Udemy course? a certification). Building a portfolio (through Git or a personal website or even Linkedin) showcasing some of the work is nice. And of course - networking - you never know who is expanding a team or has an opening available.

Advisor

Stephen Spaulding, of IBM Cary, NC

Hi there, what fields do you have in mind. In information technology there are various bootcamps and certifications there to help people transition from other fields.

Advisor

Bob Molluro Wilmington, DE

Christian your problem is that you are not trained to control an interview therefore you are subject to the interviewers skill level and your misconceptions on how to "Kill" an interview. I have personally trained 27 people on how to understand how to master the skill of interviewing. These people are vets who have transitioned; individuals applying to a new company; people trying to get into grad schools; individuals who are seeking a promotion. If you would like a free one hour consultation just send me an email to ramco1@verizon.com. I guarantee you will never use your current approaches once you see the flaws in your approach.
Warmly, Bob Molluro

Advisor

Matt Chaban New York, NY

I agree with a lot of the feedback here, that networking is essential. Almost every job I've ever gotten is because I knew someone.

That said, my first job and my current job I got through basically showing up at the doorstep and demonstrating genuine interest and a willingness to learn, listen and grow. Grit and determination can go along way, and I imagine, as a service member, it's something you've got in spades—and something most employers would highly value, since focus and execution can be so rare these days.

I'd also suggest being open to careers and opportunities you might not expect. I didn't think I'd like journalism until I started doing it, and the same has been true since my transition to marketing. Perhaps rather than focusing on a specific job, focus on your network, who you know, and ask them what opportunities are available. You might be surprised by what turns up.

Finally, don't forget to look for networking opps through your school. They should have career councilors who have networks and who can help you build your own.

Advisor

Christopher Bazinet Westbrook, CT

Hello Christian,

You have asked a fairly generic question about pursuing a position but encountering barriers. You mentioned that you have graduated, but didn't give any details. Also, it isn't clear what type of position you are pursuing, or what your experience is. Perhaps if you were to give us more details as to your capabilities and interests, we could give you more specific guidance.

Advisor

Joy Bloomquist Elkridge, MD

Hi! Make sure you are on LinkedIn with a solid profile and picture and start connecting with people you know and recruiters in the field you want to go into. Ask the recruiters to help you make connections as well as advise as to how to get into the specific field they support. Fell free to connect with me with LinkedIn @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/joy-t-6b2552169/
I can point you in the direction of specific places for you to look, actions once I understand what field you are looking to go into.

B/R Joy Bloomquist

Advisor

Noel Anderson Waltham, MA

A lot of great advice has already been provided, so I'll augment instead of repeating it.

1. Figure out what your target is. (Industry, company, geography, position at that company, lifestyle you want - define what is important to you and your family).
2. Look for people around that target. It might be one or two degrees away from what you want, e.g., a person who worked in that business, a company that supports that industry, etc.
3. Ask for help from those people. Not everyone will, but I've always found that the person 1-2 degrees away from the target is the most helpful in further defining option #1. It's "the guy who knows the guy", not the person who makes hiring decisions.

Advisor

Paul Tusting Salt Lake City, UT

Lots of good advice already given about networking with current employees, informative interviews, certifications, internships, etc.

All of these require engagement with outside parties, which may be particularly hard with Covid right now. An additional idea (as complement to list above, not in lieu of) is to create your own case study or capstone project in the field of interest. What I mean by this is figure out something you'd like to learn more about related to the field in question, and pursue learning more about it on your own. This can show prospective employers your creativity and being a self starter. Additionally, the process of researching it is a great way to meet new people in the field (often they will be particularly open, as it won't feel like you are just working a backdoor to a job).

Best of Luck, Paul

Advisor

Henry ("Dr. Hank") Stevens Fort Lauderdale, FL

Simply put, sell what you have: YOUR TALENTS. A good education means that you have the capacity to learn. Relevant experience means that you have demonstrated your interests with action in the direction of your vocation; but, talents cannot be learned or taught. Sell them.

Don't know what they are? IF you are not clear about what YOUR talents are, there is a great assessment tool (free) that will help guide you. They also have an on-site interpretation of the results that may point you in a good direction too.

If you have some difficulty interpreting the results and would like my off-channel assessment (also free), please provide me with the 4 letters and the percentage of each [should look something like I-42, N-8, T-45, J-50] to my e-mail address hlstevens42@gmail.com.

The web site for the assessment address is: http://www.humanmetrics.com/personality

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