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How to use experience in one field to look good in a different field?

by Jim Callihan
(Vancouver, WA)

Any tips for translating experience in one field (market research) into qualifications for a job in a "new" field?

Took a Masters degree in Sociology in the early 1980s after 3+ years in grad school. Special emphases included medical sociology, sociology of science, and the sociology of aging.

Left academia feeling it wasn't the best place for a young sociologist to spend his time. Spent next 20 yrs building small businesses in healthcare (til early 1990s) and market research (ongoing).

There's a job opening at a highly respected local community college for a part-time sociology instructor. Want it really bad!! It's an enormously exciting opportunity and I'm struggling a bit with how to take all the experience of my professional career and show how it applies to the teaching position. It does - tremendously well - just not sure how to best go about it.

When leaving academia years ago I had imagined that in a perfect world the opportunity to teach would present itself at the end of whatever career I happened to be concluding. This is that opportunity.

ANSWER: Jim... What you're talking about is transferable skills and every job/career has them. To some extent, you can show these skills in your resume, but you may also need to "sell" yourself a bit in your cover letter. Anticipate any objections and offer evidence of how you'd overcome them. I have no doubt you can do this. I'd emphasize how things you did in your healthcare business career might relate to skills that are needed as a teacher. Also show how you've kept up in the field of sociology.

To your success,

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