Remember the letter-writer in December who was having trouble moving from retail into a professional career? Here’s the (great) update.
I wrote to you three months ago for advice on trying to move from retail to a more professional job, with only retail and child care experience. I so appreciated your advice, as well as that of all the commenters. I worked on improving my resume and cover letters, as well as tailoring them to specific jobs. I grouped my numerous nanny jobs together under one heading as Child Care Provider, and focused on how I marketed my services to clients and managed scheduling, records, etc. I highlighted my accomplishments at my current department lead position at a major retail chain, which recently included being awarded Employee of the Month and acheiving the number one sales ranking for the entire division (280+ stores) for 2015.
I spent evenings searching online job boards and company websites, and applied to everything I was closely qualified for: retail banking, insurance agencies, call centers, receptionist positions, and even a few teaching jobs (as I do have a degree in education). I received a lot of form rejection emails, but kept at it. I also reached out to friends and former child care clients for networking opportunities, and was referred to several job openings I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Meanwhile, things at my current job have gotten progressively worse (poor direct management, unprofessional behavior, low morale), although the upper managers all love my work.
I eventually began to receive calls from employers and landed two in-person interviews. The first was for a chiropractic office receptionist position that I heard about through a friend, and I didn’t get it, but was told I was one of the top candidates. The second was for a teller position with a local credit union, and I was nervous but had a good rapport with the interviewers and was able to mention that I know someone who works there when there was a natural opening. It helped to prepare as much as possible (thank you for your free interview guide!), and to dress and feel like a professional – I had to interview on my lunch break and didn’t want anyone at my current job to suspect I was interviewing, so I ended up shimmying into pantyhose in a McDonald’s bathroom stall!
Today I was offered and accepted the teller position! The pay is 25% more and the benefits are better than my current job, I won’t have to work every weekend and holiday anymore, and there’s room for advancement down the road. I want to encourage anyone struggling with finding a new job to keep trying, be open to advice and to changing/improving your methods, and read this blog! It has helped me learn a lot about professional norms and expectations. Thanks again!