Business World Doesn’t Welcome Teachers?

Kristin writes:
After teaching in public schools full-time for five years I have completed my
MBA and am ready to change fields. Unfortunately I am finding that the
business world does not value former teachers. It seems that the fact that
I have earned an MBA doesn’t really catch employers’ eyes since I do not
have any work experience in business. Do you have any suggestions as to
what types of companies I should target when searching for a job or how I
might word my cover letter and resume to better attract the attention of
potential employers?

The Career Doctor responds:
I am so sorry to hear of your situation but unfortunately with the vast number of MBA
programs around the country yours is not an uncommon problem. As educators
we have focused so much on getting our undergrads to gain work experience through
internships that many forget that MBA candidates often need to gain business experience as well.
I had a client a few years ago who had NO work experience. She was a music major
as an undergrad and went straight into an MBA program. Near graduation she was
losing job opportunities to students who were only earning bachelor’s degrees in
business — because these undergrads had several internships and could be
hired at a lower salary.
The key for you is that you DO have experience… maybe not in running a company
or managing a brand but five years of teaching does give you solid experience. And
part of the problem may be that you are downgrading this experience. You also don’t
tell me what you want to do with your MBA and that lack of focus could be another
of your problems.
So first decide what you want to do with your MBA. An obvious choice for a former
teacher is to go into human resources into some sort of corporate training position
but perhaps you are looking for something completely different than teaching. You
first must sit down and determine a career goal. Once you completed this task
you can start looking for prospective employers.
The combination of your years of teaching and your MBA should really provide you
with some rich skills to put on your resume and cover letter. From teaching identify
all those transferable skills that you mastered that apply to the corporate world –
things such as time management communications leadership etc. Then examine
all the projects and cases you completed for your MBA and pull out relevant skills
from them — financial analyses problem-solving strategic analysis communications etc.
Finally of course you are going to need to use your network to get interview
opportunities. Networking works for all job-seekers but it is especially important
for career-changers.
Get all the tools you need in this section of Quintessential Careers:
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