Q. I am trying to enter the job market. I have been a nanny for the last five years, which is on my resume. I am looking for office work, but I am not getting any calls. What should I do?
A. Changing jobs, careers, functions or industries all present the same challenge. Your example is one many career changers can follow. You need to get people to see experience, skill, ability, positive attitude, and problem solving style which they can relate to their organization. Convey these messages with a resume, through an interview, or through a recommendation. There are some broad steps that will be very useful for anyone trying to make a career change.
Focus – on the skills your potential employer would want to see. Highlight all of your technology skills, experience with all kinds of software, and your organizational abilities. Show responsibility and ambition. Make sure your education is complete, including any classes or certifications you have. Your resume needs to showcase this information.
Identify – who values the current experience you have? Your nanny experience would appeal to employers involved in almost any kind of child services. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can generate. Consider pre-schools, public or private schools, publishing companies who specialize in children’s books, a pediatrician’s office, a children’s hospital. If you expand your target organizations, it may help you to connect with people who have a better understanding of the work you have done and your skills.
Network – with your contacts, and then ask for more contacts. If you have friends who have “office jobs” ask them to introduce you to an office manager, or a human resources person at their employer. Ask the people for whom you have been a nanny to make introductions for you. Ask other nannies that you know who may have had jobs like those you are targeting, and ask them to ask their employers.
Be pro-active – and make calls. You will need to apply on-line, to job boards, and work your network. You will also need to be pro-active and make calls to potential employers. If you don’t get a call back in a reasonably short period of time, take action. Make another call. People will be impressed with your assertiveness, and willingness to take risks. You might connect with a supportive receptionist, or administrative person, or a person looking for office support at just the time of your call! There is certain serendipity in all job searches, especially when you are taking action.
Commit – to meeting with a certain number of new people per week. Persist and be creative with your efforts to expand the targets of people who value your most recent experience. A new job will happen with time, creative energy, and dedication to a proven process.