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April 8, 2011 10:21 AM   Subscribe

Trying to enter the field two years after completing my masters: How to spin/represent my unrelated work experience since then?

Trying to enter the field two years after completing my masters: How to spin/represent my unrelated work experience since then?

I finished my Masters in Social Work from a reputable university spring 2009. I moved to a different city and state shortly after finishing that program, received my license (LMSW, not LCSW) from that state, and unsuccessfully looked for work in my field (which, for those who care, is NOT clinical—I had a macro concentration, so have been looking more for roles in the ‘project coordinator’ and ‘program developer/evaluator’ vein of things) for almost a year before taking other, unrelated work to make ends meet.

The work I have had has been spotty and not reflective of my education or career goals (two temp jobs in fashion accessories manufacturing and fashion marketing, US Census enumerator, personal assistant, and waiter). Due to the unstable nature and scheduling of my jobs (currently I am just waiting tables) I have not been able to effectively find consistent time to volunteer or take classes, or develop myself professionally in any way over the past two years. I am attempting to try again to enter my chosen field by re-starting the job hunt after what has now been a six-month hiatus (I just wanted to work and live my life for a little while without having to deal with constant rejection in the midst of a horrible economic climate).

What is the best way to represent the fact that I have had very little time or opportunity to work or volunteer in my field or develop myself professionally on my resume (if necessary) or in interviews? The only answer to the question “so what have you been doing for the last two years” that an interviewer might ask is “well, I’ve been trying to pay my bills by taking whatever work I can get”. And that just isn’t going to cut it I’m afraid. As an interviewer, what would you want to hear from an applicant who hasn’t done any work in the field or isn’t able to demonstrate any pro-active efforts to develop themselves professionally (despite her desire to)?

Thanks for your help!
posted by greta simone to Work & Money (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Any employer worth working for understands that the economy is terrible and that new graduates have been hit the hardest. But if you can, I'd start doing some volunteer work now. Even if it's not directly in your field, just showing your continued commitment to public service will help.
posted by decathecting at 11:13 AM on April 8, 2011


Instead of focusing on the field, focus on the skills you have developed in all these jobs that will serve you in the one you're now seeking.

In that vein, if you've never heard of it (I hadn't until a year ago), you sound like a good candidate for using a functional resume rather than a traditional chronological one.
posted by solotoro at 11:34 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


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