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TraptPatriot

Switched Careers, Change Resume?

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Last October I was laid off from my job as a crane mechanic at multiple rail yards, and with nothing really being available my wife convinced me to go to school for a degree with computers. I just finished my first semester for my Bachelors in CIT, though I have not had any classes in that direct field yet because they are only available in the fall. Anyway, a friend of mine who recently graduated with the same degree has put in a good word for me with the universities IT department, and they want me to submit a resume with what computer/technology experience I have. I asked if I could list personal experience, as I have no job experience or actual training, and was told that personal experience would be accepted as well. Specifically, operating systems, hardware, networking, etc.

 

Currently, my resume lists information regarding my experience in regards to heavy equipment. I am trying to figure out what kind of information I should put in place of what I already have. I was thinking of cutting out one of my previous jobs and adding a section for "Computer & Technology Experience". In there I could include every Windows since 2000, building and repairing hardware, home networking, etc. Obviously, you guys don't know exactly what I could do, but I am trying to see what would be some viable experience to list. Any tips/advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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Removing your non-IT jobs would create gaping holes in your resume, leaving them to wonder what you had been doing all that time. Don't remove your real-world experience. Instead, either minimize how detailed you go into them and/or try to correlate them to skills that would help you in other jobs, such as IT (eg. leadership).

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As a consultant before I landed a pretty good gig at AIG, I had a very long list of work history on my resume all the way back to my time in the military. I actually have 2 sets of resumes that I send. For the file name, I just put my name + "resume" on the short one that's one page. I also send and explain that I have a second "expanded" resume that details my "relevant" work history, note that the positions were as a contract or full-time employee (in case they wonder why I worked at a place for such a short amount of time). If you don't have any job in the past that has any relevance to the job you're applying for, don't put any details in it.

 

The goal of a resume is:

  • Keep it short and concise. Some of the people reviewing resumes will skip it if it's too long because sometimes they have to review over a hundred resumes a day.
  • Get you setup for an interview. Let them know what you know, and prove it during the interview.
  • Have it custom-tailored for the job. The team usually writes the job descriptions. They're looking for keywords that they put in the job description when scanning through their list of resumes, so make sure if it's something you know or have, put it in your resume.

 

Here's a sample resume from a year ago (not my "expanded" resume):

http://imageshack.com/a/img838/2949/c88p.png

 

In your case, instead of an "expanded" resume, you might either want to write a cover letter, or put together a digital portfolio. If there were projects or assignments during school that you did, that's what you would put in your portfolio. That stands out when selecting interview candidates. 

 

If your job history isn't that long, you can put more details in it. You just don't want to clog up your resume with non-pertinent information, as it wastes time for the person viewing your resume. I know a lot more software than what I specify in the resume, but for the job position I'm applying for, they don't need to know that I know Python, Perl, Windows Batch Scripting, Powershell, AutoIT, Javascript, C++, etc. Those are things you can mention during the interview. I basically match what the job description says that they're looking for. If I know it, I list it. If there's an alternative Tool or Language you know if you don't know the specific one they're looking for, you can then put that in, instead.

 

It's time consuming, but you need to put effort into every job submission. You need a resume that's custom-tailored for that job and position, if you really want to get selected for an interview. I've gotten selected to a lot of interviews at a lot of high-profile companies, so I'm pretty good at presenting myself with a resume. Going through the interview process and negotiating salary and benefits is a different story. :)

 

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Thanks guys. I took your advice and cut out the details for the previous jobs that do not relate to the IT field. I tried to keep it one page, so I had some previous jobs (not all) and I included a part for what computer/tech experience I do have. I tried to not get into anything too specific, just a general overview of what I can do from being self-taught. I do not have the experience with programs like Python, etc, like you do Capitan, but since the position I am being considered for is entry-level in IT I am hoping my basic knowledge with computers and networking will be sufficient.

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I do not have the experience with programs like Python, etc, like you do Capitan, but since the position I am being considered for is entry-level in IT I am hoping my basic knowledge with computers and networking will be sufficient.

Yeah, good point. You also don't want to be "overqualified" for an entry-level position. :)

 

Just be an upbeat version of yourself in the interview, and you'll be good. Having a friend giving a good word for you should already give you an edge over other candidates.

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Well after submitting my updated resume, I received an email back that they have other applicants with more experience so an interview will not be given to me. *rolls eyes* Since when did experience become so important for an entry-level position, which I thought was to gain experience. Lol

Edited by TraptPatriot

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I hate when "entry level" jobs require experience in the field. If it requires that, it's not entry level. :lol:

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Hi Trapt!

 

I think it is more or less an offer and demand based problem. By what I can read of your reply, they seemed to have received a bunch of applications.  If they take someone who is already familiar with the configuration of commercial switches and such gear, they won't have to train him.  So someone with more formation than you (in some specific field) just shaved the grass under your feet.  You have got to be keeping on posting, maybe in some factories that you have done crane repairs they could be looking for IT services as well.

 

As well, senior technicians will always be aware of stuff grads won't know, even if they have more certifications. Network security is a big topic and if you are in the know, you will eventually find something.

 

Good luck

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