Career Crisis- How to get hired after only 2 months at current job?
September 22, 2013 10:58 AM   Subscribe

Hello, Metafilter! Long time lurker (10 years), first time poster. To sum it up- after a failed stint as an AmeriCorps VISTA (6 months) following graduation from the University of South Carolina with a degree in International Studies and a minor in Economics- I have spent a year unemployed, a year as a bank teller, another year unemployed, and over a year as a server and a tax season as a tax pro at H&R block. I went back to school during the time as a server to get enough credits to sit for the CPA (one computer apps class away from obtaining accounting certificate at a local community college). Moved back to SC and spent from 07/12-06/13 as an Assistant Service Manager at a car dealership (hated it because A, I have asthma and missed a ton of work due to complications from working outside, B, I knew nothing about cars, and C, I am not a fan of Customer Service/commission pay).

I quickly took a job as a Customer Solutions Coordinator at a call center for a large cable company in July, as a latch ditch effort. I have a lot of student loan/cc debt so staying out of work was not an option. Once again, I am stuck in a job I detest in a customer service/sales role where the only way to make decent money is to be dishonest. How do I break this vicious cycle? When applying for jobs I want, do I include this job on my resume? Would applying for jobs with a functional resume be a suicide mission? I really want to work in the nonprofit or government sector. I was so close to a position at United Way, but got passed over for someone who had worked for them for a decade. I feel like I doomed to a career in customer service. Any career/resume advice is appreciated!
posted by nicolemariecherie to Work & Money (3 answers total)
Sounds like taxes are a good direction to go in. I certainly paid my chartered-tax-whatever-not-a-CPA guy a nice wage to deal with my past tax issues, so you don't necessarily need a CPA to get out of the Customer Service world. Self-employed people need to pay quarterly taxes, so (you may know) tax preparation is not just a February-April gig.
posted by rhizome at 11:38 AM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

The question will likely come up, and probably in a broad format.

"So, why are you looking to leave your current job.?"

Answer something like this. "I love the people there, but now that I've got my CPA, I'm looking to move into something that meets my career goals. They couldn't move me to accounting, but your position looks ideal for me."

And depending on the size of your former/present employers, it may be easier to move into the accounting department than it is to get a job at a new organization.
posted by Mad_Carew at 1:44 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

You're asking for ways to talk about a few-month stint in customer service and phone sales, while applying for jobs. If you're applying for other service/sales jobs, they there would be some concern that you're not staying in any such job for very long. However, if you're applying for very different jobs (call this job X), then your reason for leaving is pretty clear - you have past service/sales experience, you're reasonably good at it, but it's not your real career goal, you'd much prefer to be doing tasks like JobXtasks.

A functional resume (where you list service/sales jobs, tasks you've done, and employers you've done that for) might be a great option for you, but less so if you can't create a category that includes the jobs/tasks that you're applying for as a summary header. If you're doing that type of resume, the best way to approach it is to list the skills requested in the job ad, and sort all your previous experience to support the idea that you have those skills. If you're applying for jobs that don't do sales, you might end up with your sales experience listed under "customer communications" or something. The problem, then, is if this approach tends to highlight that you don't in fact have explicit experience in the things they're hiring for; in that case, you'd be better off listing the jobs, slanting the job descriptions to sound as relevant as possible, and explaining your enthusiasm for a change of direction in your cover letter.
posted by aimedwander at 7:48 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

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