How to switch into a more exciting career?
October 12, 2006 1:40 PM   Subscribe

How can I switch into a more high-tech career?

I graduated a year ago, have a great job in sales, but it's all boring industrial stuff. I had some neat internships-- one doing PHP/MySQL stuff and the other working in Japan. I graduated with a degree in marketing with minors in electrical engineering and Japanese. The only problem, school-wise, is that I only had a 3.0 GPA. No matter how many times I try applying to jobs online (as entry-level as I can find), I don't ever seem to get any responses. Most of the jobs (of course) say they want a few years experience, but where do I get it? I currently make 45k in Atlanta, GA and would HAPPILY cut that to 30 if only I could get a job doing something more exciting-- at a startup or some cool enterprise hardware/software company. ANYTHING!
What advice do you have? I'm very much a people person, so perhaps if I could just get my foot in the door someplace, I could swing and interview, right? I know a lot of you have faced similiar problems and have far more experience than me, so please help! I wouldn't mind working for a cool Japanese company, either, since I could use some of my skills, but I can't seem to get any responses there, either....
posted by phaedrus441 to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Go buy "What Color is Your Parachute?", which specifically talks about switching careers. (You can get a used copy for $.01 on amazon.)

The author points out that applying for jobs online is a notoriously BAD way to get a job, and suggests better alternatives. If nothing else, it will get you thinking about other approaches.
posted by IvyMike at 2:00 PM on October 12, 2006

90% of tech jobs go thru staffing/consulting companies at first (at least for larger companies.) They find you via and then call you every ten minutes for weeks.
The rest of the cool tech jobs (at least in my experience) tend to be found at random. I found a great ecommerce development job by calling a guy who knew a guy that I knew when i was 12 years old. That guy knew a girl who was dating a guy who was looking for a developer.
posted by muddylemon at 2:06 PM on October 12, 2006

I keep saying this in response to these types of questions, and it's because it is working for me.

Use your school's alumni network for all that it's worth. You should have access to it online or through their offices, and it will tell you things like who is working where in what positions, what they graduated with and how long ago. Some schools will have volunteer "career advisors" or such indicated, who have specifically chosen to help those looking to get into their industry, their company, etc. Though sitting down for lots of informational interviews may sound tedious and useless, it pays off as you refine your goals, your elevator pitch, and your knowledge.

Also, alumni are often eligible to participate in their university's career fairs and even on-campus interviews. Don't be shy about it, even if you don't fit in the typical box.
posted by whatzit at 2:08 PM on October 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

also, i was going to email you with a couple company and contact suggestions specific to your marketing/technology/Japan bent, but you have no email in your profile. Being easy to contact makes job hunting easier!
posted by whatzit at 2:09 PM on October 12, 2006

Online tech job app pointer: Your cover letter should be very to the point. Include your technologies, main organizational skills, and desired wage in one or two sentences.

I'm still a bum student and I'm not even studying engineering (lit) but I do ok with the tech jobs. I'm pretty sure the short cover letter is like 80% of what makes me attractive to recruiters and etc.
posted by shownomercy at 2:13 PM on October 12, 2006

I'm a web developer with a degree that has nothing to do with Computer Science. I also had a minor in Japanese. Anyone with a college degree can get a job teaching English in Japan, though maybe not for 30k right away, but that's one option.

And having gone through a similar experience of trying to get into the tech industry with only informal tech experience, I'd be more than happy to pass work your way now that I'm in a position to have too much at times. The only problem, from my perspective, is that I have no idea if you're really qualified. Do you have a portfolio? If not, start making one. I got hired on the basis of interesting projects I was working on in my free time.

There are plenty of jobs for PHP/MySQL people on MeFi Jobs. Are you contacting them? I often get the impression I'm the only one responding to those posts.
posted by scottreynen at 3:22 PM on October 12, 2006

Response by poster: Wow, you guys are great... I went ahead and Amazon'd the book mentioned above-- I've always heard people talk about it, but I've never been one for self-help type stuff, so I thought it was kinda bogus. Here goes! As for being an actual developer, I don't think it's quite for me. I did it for about 2 years off-and-on and now that I've had a taste of B2B sales, I think I much prefer it (as long as you're selling a product that you believe in, I guess). Anyways, thanks for the great responses so far!
posted by phaedrus441 at 7:55 PM on October 12, 2006

« Older Boy how'd you get your grill that way and how much...   |   Where to Find International Legal Disputes? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.