This may not apply to new graduates but at one point in life we all face the same question. For all I know I faced it multiple times:)
I did not study IT or even anything related to office work. My only encounter with technology was a course on MS Office applications. One would have never guessed this 3 month class would have such an impact on my life.
After college I wanted to find a job close to my home so started working in Finance. It was quite surprising to see that all I needed was Excel and common sense. It found the job quite dull, so I decided to focus more on Financial Data Analysis and databases during my work.
I went up the corporate ladder in Finance, but after a while I wanted to do something different and decided to apply for Data Analyst roles. I rewrote my Resume focusing on my data exposure, not daily Finance responsibilities. I talked about analyzing Financial Data, keeping data secure, handling confidential data, creating reports, identifying data gaps…I left out all management related tasks of course.
To this day my favorite task has always been working with data, so writing about it was not at all an issue for me.
Few years down the line I needed to find something else and wanted to work as a BA for an ERP project. Again I had to re-write my Resume this time focusing on my Finance ERP knowledge, working with business and gathering requirements, writing documentation, management reporting…Because I pretty much stayed within the same domain it was quite easy to streamline my Resume and use my real time experience as base-lining various experiences.
Well of course few years into BA, the next logical step was becoming a PM which I always truly hated. I still have no clue why PM is seen as the step up from BA roles since it is a mindless secretarial job in most organizations. Anyway, I had to update my Resume now this time with my tasks that are related to PM roles, you guessed it meetings, steering committees, updates, oh yes more meetings and more updates, scrum meetings, Agile ceremonies, MS Project, JIRA…This time I also included my management experience from my Finance days.
We all wear many many many hats at work. Its important to identify how your work can be categorized and be used in the future. Most of techno-functional folks will have an umbrella of responsibilities that spread across multitude of job titles. Do not ever get stuck with what your job title says, think through your day to day roles and responsibilities. This often happens with BAs. Though most of them have the title of BA, their day to day job may vary from Financial Analyst to Data Analyst to PM…it all depends on the company and their budget. If they have an approved budget for BA they will get a BA and have them do DA tasks…titles mean nothing. That is why in Financial world everyone is a VP;)
So as you can see it is not that hard to change careers and streamline your Resume within similar functions, especially in back-office roles. Obviously if I wanted to become an artist or teacher or dentist most of my experience would be useless, but still I could talk about client service, problem solving, record keeping, mentoring, documentation, management, Excel (that thing is used everywhere!)…
Even when things seem unrelated there is always tremendous value in having professional experience and being able to pinpoint how you contributed and worked as a team will help you stand out. Do not ever think your experience is unrelated and/or irrelevant, just find commonalities and focus on them.
Read my other articles that may be useful for career changing folks:
I have no relevant job experience, so I simply won’t list anything on my Resume…
Telling your story… Streamlining your Resume