General Question

Haleth's avatar

How do you jump from one type of job to another?

Asked by Haleth (19518points) February 22nd, 2011

I’ve been looking for jobs and just found one that I think would be an ideal next step. In my last job I was a food service manager; this job opening is a customer service rep position with one of our vendors.

Here’s why I want it: these guys sold us our coffee, and I love coffee and hopefully get bonus points for being familiar with their product. I’ve always wanted to go into something related to gourmet food/ drink, but store management was wearing me out. It’s a 9–5 position which would allow me to go back to school. The pay is a bit better and it’s a much shorter commute. It’s a local company, and I dig the idea of working somewhere that’s part of the community.

I think I can get in touch with the sales representative who worked with my store. He often visited us for training and to introduce new promotions or to fix the coffee equipment. If I use him as an introduction or a reference, how do I word that in my cover letter? I think this job is mostly administrative/ sales; what kind of questions should I prepare for if I get an interview? Any other advice?

Thanks a bunch, in advance.

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6 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

Ask the sales representative. If they have a bonus system for finding new hires, he could get rewarded for recommending you.

SuppRatings's avatar

This is going to sounds like bad advice, but I promise you it is true in the real world. The simple answer is to lie and embellish.

In any regard, go into the interview with a confident, surefire and ‘can do’ attitude and you will be set.

Jeruba's avatar

Give some good thought to transferable skills and to the ways that you could draw upon the experience of your first job in situations that would come up in this one; for example, that you have a clear grasp of the customer’s point of view and can relate to the customer’s needs and concerns, that you’re able to offer innovative marketing suggestions for the product, and that you already know the territory.

You might ask your former sales rep for advice on how best to position yourself for this opportunity. Appeal to him as a kind of mentor. Who can resist an urge to help an energetic and ambitious youngster get ahead?

And, as before, show your enthusiasm.

bob_'s avatar

I’m trying to do the same thing: getting a job that is related to what I do, but, well, different.

In my case, from investor relations to equity research.

Some pointers:

1. Talk to your contact. Tell him that you’re interest in the position, and that you’d really appreciate any advice he could give. As @Jeruba said, people tend to be very open to that. He might say that he doesn’t have time or anything to say, but you don’t lose anything by trying.

2. Learn the most you can about the job you’re looking for, and be prepared to explain why you want to make the switch, and how your current job has given you skills that could be useful in the new one.

3. Do NOT lie. There is a difference between embellishing one’s résumé and lying, and it is not difficult for experienced people to notice if you’re not being honest. If you have a weakness, work on it. You could even sell it as an advantage: “while _______ is not my strongest area, it is something I am working on, and I believe I can learn quickly, and since I’m not used to do things in a certain way, I would not have trouble getting rid of bad habits.” Lying might get you the job, but it won’t help you keep it.

4. If you don’t get the job, keep your hopes up and try again.

Let us know how it goes. Good luck!

SABOTEUR's avatar

Looking past the words, I get a sense that you’re really passionate about the work you intend to do. Considering the fact that we often spend more time “exchanging energy for money” than we do with our loved ones, we may as well be doing something that we love doing.

I don’t think you’ll have trouble reaching your goal(s).

Just be cautious of losing your passion in the process.

elia's avatar

If I was the coffee vendor, I would greatly value your knowledge and experience as a coffeehouse manager. You’re on the frontline of their industry, helping them to achieve their ultimate goal—selling their product and making money. You’ve had direct contact with customers and know their coffee preferences, product criticisms, buying habits, etc. You probably know about the vendor’s competition, as well. If they hired you, you could promote their product/services to new customers based on first-hand experience as a former customer. Unless I’ve totally misread the scenario, I’d say you have very strong potential.

It’s a tough job market out there, but never lose sight of your value!!! Also, make absolutely sure the company you’re interested in has a good reputation for taking care of its employees. Lot’s of folks expend much time and effort to get into a company, only to be miserable after they get the job; magazines, websites, etc. that target working mothers provide great company rating info. About using the company sales rep for a reference… always be cautious about using a current employee as a potential “bridge” into a company. If you’re sure they’re valued by the company and have some influence, great. It’s equally important to be sure you know their real impression of you. Sometimes, current employees can be part of the competition.

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