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Career rut/expat prejudice

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I'm in a bit of a career rut at the moment. I moved to Pittsburgh PA just over a year ago and don't know what to do in regards to my career.

I have a degree and an excellent resume and am currently working as a receptionist. This position bores me out of my mind because I am capable of so much more. However that is where all my work experience is (apart from a couple of years as a reporter) so how can I justify going for anything else?

Also, I am trying to get a job I can get to on my own at the moment as I don't drive and have been applying for many admin/reception jobs and haven't even been getting a call back! I just don't understand it, my resume is absolutely flawless in every way - I've had it evaluated by many professional people and they have all told me there is absolutely nothing that could be improved upon. Should I take my degree off my resume? That is the only thing I can think off that might be putting off potential employers maybe they think 'this woman has got a degree and is way over qualified so why does she want a job as a receptionist?'

The problem is I don't really WANT to be a receptionist but what else can I do?

I have recently made friends with another green card holding British expat who says she has had similar problems getting employment; do you think there is some subconscious prejudice there towards foreigners?

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I missed out on a job once because they saw my degree and said i was over-qualified and that they were afraid that i would move on after a year. It took you all that time to get your degree so i don't see why you should take it off your resume.


Are you making sure you address the criteria in your cover letter? Most job websites etc. suggest that you tailor your resume to each individual job application, and to take off the irrelevant stuff.


I don't understand why you are not applying for jobs in your field though?


One way of changing careers is to get the same sort of job in the field you want to work in so then you can move around the company into different positions as they become available.


Oh, and you justify going for other jobs by trying to gain entry-level positions. I am older than you and i have had calls back for entry-level, so you can too. You just state in your cover letter that you are eager to work in that industry and say what you have to offer.


In relation to prejudice towards foreigners, i am not sure... but it could be possible. Is there any way you can leave this information off your resume? Perhaps they want to know you are serious about the job and about staying in the country. From what i can gather, the recruitment process is expensive, so company's are reluctant to take on short-term prospects.

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It may very well be you are overqualified. Unless you are going for Executive Assistant positions or Office Manager positions, they may feel that you are too qualified, and apt to get bored, or be too costly in the end for them to keep on.


I suggest you either change your resume a bit, or....a better idea in my opinon....you build some confidence and just go for some of the more challenging jobs that may be more in your field but you are afraid you won't get. Try going through hiring agencies even, as they are very good at getting you an in. I don't really know why you are NOT applying for more positions in your field or more suited to your talents just to get your name out there, network and you may just find something great.


Or, perhaps go back to school part time to get some extra courses to better qualify you for jobs that are more challenging (and less boring!) and more in your field. Even if it means starting at entry level.


Sometimes I think we get ourselves stuck in a rut as we are too afraid to move forward, and take those risks. We are our biggest enemies at times for things like this, and we convince ourselves we will do no better.


Your friend can not say for sure the reason she did not get employment was due to her being an immigrant honestly. It could of been many other reasons that she is not even aware of! My family is all immigrants, minus my generation, and all them were able to find great careers with some hard work and determination. Don't underestimate yourself.


Work experience does not pigeonhole you into something unless you let it. Those skills can be applied to totally different jobs. Break out of the rut.

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Thanks you or your responses, you've made a lot sense. I suppose my problem is that I never had enough confidence to go for anything better for fear of being laughed out of the room.


I would love to work in Media as a researcher but Pittsburgh isn't exactly a hotbed for production/TV companies unfortunately..

Any ideas of where else I could try for a position of that nature?

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Thanks you or your responses, you've made a lot sense. I suppose my problem is that I never had enough confidence to go for anything better for fear of being laughed out of the room.


I would love to work in Media as a researcher but Pittsburgh isn't exactly a hotbed for production/TV companies unfortunately..

Any ideas of where else I could try for a position of that nature?


I can't comment much on the media position, as that is definitely out of my expertise, however I just wanted to say I know how you feel. It took so much for me to muster up the courage to apply to go to Law school a few months ago. I knew it would mean a LOT of change, after years of being out of school. I knew it was a risk since I was going to lose income, and have to go back to student mode. I knew there was a risk in that I was taking on more debt, more stress, I would be delaying having children, vacations, all for a career that I still knew I did not want to make my entire life, just the ability to have a private practice eventually and reasonably flexible hours but that provided me a bit more challenge and more to my level. But all it took was enough confidence to write the LSAT and send in that damn application. Once I mailed it, I could be as unconfident as I wanted until I found the news out....and it was WELL worth it. I was terrified I would be rejected....but I wasn't. And it was well worth it.


Now, it is not the same as your situation, but it IS changing out of my comfort zone, breaking my mindset of "I can't do it" and going for it. It will still require change, and will be a new experience for me all over again, and I am sure scary at times, as I am a creature of my routine and am just used to just going along at my job Monday-Friday with little challenge and a regular paycheck. I also hate changing my passions/hobbies around again (ie training - I hate the idea of how I am going to have to juggle my workouts and training around school, rather then the other way around again!), but I think in doing something for ME, that means breaking out of this mindset that has me stuck doing something I hate, there is a lot of growth.


You won't be laughed out of the room. I promise. There are so many people I talk to in HR whom do a lot of hiring, and believe me, they would gladly take on someone with a degree, some working experience (even if unrelated directly!), and with a passion for it. Some of the people that walk through their door may have the experience, but they are severly lacking in other areas that are necessary.


Change is good, donkey.

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Try New York City or even Philadelphia. Though the former would be a better bet. With the great public transportation system out here, you can live miles away and still within commuting distance without a car.


Unfortunately that won't work because I married a Pittsburgher and just bought a house so moving really isn't an option...

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