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Updating a Resume When Changing Industries

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Cheezy the Wiz, Jun 6, 2014.

  1. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    I have a question to ask the professional folks on the forum. If you are not someone with experience or knowledge in this matter, I ask that you not try to answer my question.

    I'll be finishing graduate school soon, and am preparing to apply to various positions in my field. The problem is that I've never worked in my field of academic specialty before. I've always studied history, and both my degrees are in History and and Area Studies, but my only employment history is in food service: cooking, serving, and managing in restaurants. My question is: now that I am trying to enter a new vocational field, what information from my past becomes more or less relevant?

    These fields are not even related. I'm applying to colleges for adjunct teaching positions. Apart from proving that I have a history of sticking to jobs for a long time, I'm not sure that my food service or even leadership experience is relevant, outside of the ability to perform office functions. I suppose leadership might be relevant, because it could demonstrate that I can keep a group of people under control and on task...

    How have you handled this problem in your past? Please, tell me your stories and experiences!
     
  2. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    Being a recent graduate, they aren't expecting you to have any relevant experience unless you were a teaching assistant.

    But I think having management experience could be turned into a definite plus in your situation. I would include it on your resume along with enough supplementary information to show why you were promoted. It also shows that you worked to make ends meet while attending school. I wouldn't go into any great detail though, since it isn't directly related to what you now want to do.

    You might also want to consider gaining some relevant experience by becoming a substitute teacher. Or you could even volunteer to teach classes for a non-profit organization. Many of them have educational programs as part of their activities.
     
  3. nc-1701

    nc-1701 bombombedum

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    I'm in a somewhat similar position at the moment, finishing grad school for math, looking for work in finance/analyst type positions, but all my job experience is teaching/tutoring.

    What I've done is try to connect the experience (teaching) with work skills, so I highlighted that I'de managed dozens of students at a time. Or tutored multiple subjects in a lab simultaneously to demonstrate that I could multitask, etc. I'm not sure how helpful or relevant any of that is and it will disappear off my resume as soon as real work comes along, but you gotta work with what you have.

    As for an adjunct position, I'm not sure about in History, but as I understand they tend not to be super competitive. Did you not have an assistantship in grad school to get teaching experience? Because that's the experience you really need, without it teaching jobs will be harder to get in general. With your experience I would focus on any leadership positions, and if you ever trained new employees that's something you should mention and highlight.
     
  4. BenitoChavez

    BenitoChavez Whispering Walrus

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    I'd definitely put your previous job experience on your resume, even if it in a different industry. The very fact that you were employed for a long period of time shows that, well, you are capable of being employed. Meaning you show up on time, do the work that's asked of you, and don't cause any major problems. It seems like really basic stuff but you would be surprised how often employees don't do those things.
     
  5. luiz

    luiz Trendy Revolutionary

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    I handled it when switching from the steel industry to the oil industry, but unlike you I wasn't a recent graduate so it was a bigger problem for me. I don't think they'll expect you to have experience in the field if you just left grad school.

    What I did, and suppose you can do as well, is focus on the managerial part of things. Project management, business finance, etc., those things are universal.

    Buy you shouldn't have any problems, really. Nobody expects field experience if you just finished your studies.
     
  6. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Humans can't multitask! :gripe:

    Correct answer to any interview question regarding multitasking is to point out how clever the interviewer is to use such a trick question, since study after study has shown that multitasking leads to inferior results, and people who think they're good at multitasking are actually worse at it.

    The oil industry is brutal for preferentially hiring people with previous "oil experience", even with they have literally zero domain-specific knowledge advantage over other candidates.
     
  7. Gori the Grey

    Gori the Grey The Poster

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    While in graduate school, did you serve as a teaching assistant (or even a reader, or grader) for a course (or somehow shadow one of your professors)? If so, stress that. Make that or those experiences your central qualifications.

    You can even mention courses you've designed, but not yet had a chance to teach. You should in any case have (as follow up, not to be included as part of your vita) syllabi for all of the kinds of core survey courses you might be asked to teach in your field. Rough will do. Here's the books I'd have students buy; here's the sequence I'd have them do the readings; here's the core idea I'd like them to walk away with as a result of this content and arrangement. Your vita can include a one-line summation of those syllabi, i.e. of how you would teach such courses interestingly.

    Along these lines, and in your vita or cover letter, you can beef things up by having a (succinct) "teaching philosophy," two sentences probably. It shows that, even if you haven't taught yet, you've been thinking carefully about how you will teach.

    Now to your core question. You might have a section on your vita where you list "Other Employment." You of course have to have something from within academe in order to use that word, "other." Give the dates (as BC says, to show that you do stick with jobs and they with you), then, in one sentence per listed job, stress skills from that work that you think do bear on teaching. You're on the right track with "on task" (but don't say "under control"; humanities folks don't like talk of controlling other people). You're not changing industries; you're changing from industry to academe. (I know your subject line was just designed to elicit broader comment). Communication skills, organization skills, interpersonal skills.

    Good luck.

    Don't forget to mention that you've worked successfully with some of the most perverse, recalcitrant and closed-minded pupils imaginable . . . here on CFC:OT :D
     
  8. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    I've never had to switch industries, but I have had to update my resume multiple times.

    At one point it was 3 pages long, which eventually I decided was just too much. 2 pages max, sometimes 1, depending on the job.

    Some of it was *almost* like switching industries, .. but not really.. but I've had to modify my resume significantly before, due to the job I was applying to wanting a slightly different type of programmer or systems analyst type person. Some things just weren't applicable to certain jobs, so they had to be pruned.

    All in all I found it an exercise in balance. What goes and what stays? I think this exercise should be similar enough, whether you're switching industries or not. I would say some stuff, even if totally not related to the new field, might warrant an inclusion, especially if it's stuff that speaks of your generic skills with something or other that might be useful. For example, if you did something awesome that highlighted your organizational skills, or ability to work in a team, or whatever, and the new job really wants someone who can do that very well.. I would consider including it, even if it's a completely unrelated job.

    Is any of that obvious? I don't know, maybe, but maybe some of this will help.
     
  9. downtown

    downtown Crafternoon Delight

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    So first, I'd be wary of what almost anybody else here says, because the rules for resumes entering academia are different than they are for industry, and may vary again if you're looking outside the US. The first thing you need to do is talk to the career services department at your university, and then start talking to peers in your field of study. Your rules may be very different from somebody who is say, trying to get a job in finance.

    To be honest, even food service management is probably not going to be seen as particularly relevant. I think it is appropriate to mention them very briefly near the end of your resume, to demonstrate that you have been promoted or have managed before, and that a work history exists, but the bulk of your resume should focus on your academic career, and anything you've had published.
     
  10. luiz

    luiz Trendy Revolutionary

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    Yep, I was lucky that when they hired me they were desperately needing people with some specific skills that I had. It's certainly a very closed industry, usually you either join straight after college or you don't. I'm definitely an exception.
     
  11. Samez

    Samez Emperor

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    If you would switch from academia to industry I would clearly recommend mentioning former jobs. In Germany people who have never worked in a job outside academia are often seen a bit "otherworldly". So other jobs will show that you know how to work in the "real" world. At least that's the way it is here when changing form academia to industry.
    As mentioned before it also matters how much other qualifications you have and how important they are compared to the jobs you did before. Most people will at some point of their live have much more qualifications and certificates than any HR manager is interested in. (I've seen applications with 30+ certificates) The important thing is to find out which are relevant to the job you apply for.
    In your case you could just mention X years of experience in gastronomy (service and management) without adding too much detail. Of course you should be prepared for further questions when it comes to an interview.
     
  12. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    I've thought about that. Maybe I'll give that a try.

    Cool, I hope this thread helps you too.

    That's comforting.

    No, I never got selected to do anything like that.

    I really hope so. But a lot of the "entry" level positions indicate that they want or at least prefer work experience. Maybe that's just there to weed out easily-deterred people ( a pretty crappy practice if there ever was one, why shouldn't I be able to look at the job requirements and tell if I'm eligible or not, and reliably be able to "not waste my time" on something I wouldn't get?), or maybe it's a very honest statement, and they'll give me a chance to get my foot in the door because I look promising or something...

    No. I've never been a teaching assistant or grader or whatever. I tried, but I was never accepted. I've never been published (by something I would put on a CV, lol), never been invited to one of those conferences to present or whatever, just classes and degrees.

    All the "help" stuff I've ever found about this, as sparse as it is, basically just says "be awesome for the position, and you'll get it."

    ...

    That's a pretty brilliant idea! I've pondered that off and on over the years, I suppose I should get to work and do that!

    And this I have. I've been paying attention to my professors' different teaching styles ever since I started college, noting what I like and don't like, what works to keep people interested, active in the discussion (since if done wrong, history can be very dry and snore-worthy, and I've seen that too), and to remember the material, so I'll have to digest that into a more useable formula than "stuff I remember about my profs," lol.

    The bolded part is important, I think. Good to note.

    I've done worse than that: I've managed a few dozen high school brats whose daddies made them get a job because "it'll be good for them." :lol:

    Noted. As for now, I'm only looking at jobs inside the US. In most European countries there is no such thing as a community college, which is where I would have to teach, not having a Phd.

    I hadn't thought about that. I'll give them a buzz.

    :lol:

    This seems to be the consensus.

    Thanks guys!
     
  13. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    List your jobs, job titles, and dates worked for each.
    This is critical because if you’ve worked in an industry for a while you’ve probably had some advancement. If you moved up from an entry level position to an advanced position over time you will want to show that to all potential employers because it demonstrates that you have advanced in your previous jobs.

    Furthermore, you will also want to note all the jobs you’ve held in the last 5-10 years even if there are no relevant skills from those jobs to be listed. If you worked for a year at a gas station between, I don’t know, nursing assignments you will want to list that gas station job. This is because employers like to see continuity of employment. A hiring manager will ask about gaps in employment so it is better to get in front of the question and just say you worked at a gas station for a year.

    When bullet pointing your stuff focus on skills instead of specific tasksWhen switching industries, you will want your resume’s bullet points to focus on general skills rather than specific tasks you performed. When possible, focus those skills that are relevant to your new industry. Saying that I reviewed customer fulfillment to ensure compliance with ad spending agreements is largely meaningless in the legal industry. Instead, my resume now focuses on my attention to detail which was a necessary skill to complete that task.

    Always list managerial and leadership skillsLeadership and management skills are always very valuable. Even if you have no future interest in management, your past managerial experience demonstrates that you are a good worker. You absolutely need to understand how to follow directions to be a good manager and hiring managers recognize this.

    Always list people and interpersonal skills
    In nearly every job, you’ll work with people. People skills are very valuable. List them.
     
  14. ywhtptgtfo

    ywhtptgtfo Emperor

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    Academia -> Industry convert here.

    I did my graduate degree in science and not history so things can be a bit different.

    In my field, a lack of (resume-worthy) publication for a Ph.D graduate is a stigma. If you are close to getting something decent published, consider making that your top priority. If there is none, then you still should try to find something to put there. Even unpublished materials can occasionally be spun as "Submitted to [Insert journal]" which may give off an impression that it is a publication-in-progress.

    TA experience and conference experience are kinda secondary on a resume (except for fields like CS where conferences are more glorified)... They are good things to brag about in interviews but their absence is likely not huge at a resume level. However, you do miss out on a lot of useful skill development by missing out on being a TA or presenting at conferences.

    If you really have no other worthy experiences to speak of, that management at food restaurant is something you must put in the resume since something is usually better than nothing. And to fill up the void, consider making a portfolio of your work, upload it on a well-designed website, and include the URL in your resume. Charismatic web podcasts and well-written articles on your most familiar topic can potentially boost your impression. It also gives you the opportunity to put in your stash of unpublished manuscripts (if any). Try to put yourself in your audience's shoes.

    And depending on what field you are looking for, you should consider boosting your knowledge in that area while you are searching for work. Stagnation is one of the greatest enemies of job searchers who are in a race against time. If you want to teach, then consider attending teacher's college. If you want to go to research, then consider tagging along at your prof's until you find a position.

    Lastly, go to YMCA or your school's career center to get help. They often have resume, cover letter, and interview training as well as job banks that may contain useful listings. I got my first job from my school's career center.

    When did you change your mind about doing your Ph.D?
     
  15. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Management retreats are valuable exercises.
     
  16. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    That's a tough question. But if you are applying for positions that imply using a C.V., then how you earned your daily bread can probably be conveniently left off. If you are applying for positions that imply a resume (e.g. non-academic, non-government) then I suggest you DO include all work history, since it will demonstrate some work ethic, practical experiences and especially if it explains any time 'gaps' (e.g. you took a year off from school to work to earn money for stuff----that should be on a resume).

    I keep a C.V. and a resume to help with the two categories of job applications.

    When writing a resume, always tailor it to the position description, in a favorable light, so you can easily write your food service experiences as customer service / interpersonal interaction, etc... that will be good to have for some job positions. E.g. you are trying to become a guide historian for a national historic site---your CV might still be helpful, but so would describing your ability to comfortably interact with the public to provide satisfactory service.


    Bottom line when you write documents, interview, etc...: think competitively. You want them to want to hire you more than the next person.


    Kind of funny because professing the ability to multitask is really common on many government position applications, and it usually is listed in job descriptions. I've even been over-asked that in interviews (e.g. like nearly 3 times in a row). I sometimes think they are implicitly asking 'do you have trouble focusing on tasks / Attention deficit deficiency'?
     

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