Lack of Experience and Lack of Skills: 3 Steps to Get on Track

Loretta writes:

I live in a small closed community and across the river is a big city. I got my BA in art eight years ago and have been working in fast food instead of in my degree field. I have been searching for all kinds of art jobs but have been turned down because I either don’t have the computer knowledge or the work experience in the art field.

I have tried starting my own freelance business with out success either and had to return to fast food as a means to survive. I just taught myself HTML (even though I already knew BASIC and some computer skills) and still get told that I don’t have enough computer knowledge.

I must be doing something wrong. I’m bankrupt and can’t move to where the job would be.

The Career Doctor responds:

Loretta I have a three-step program for you to get your career more on track.

First find out exactly the types of computer knowledge you need for the types of jobs you want to get. Make sure you examine any other requirements that you do not currently have. Then go out and see if you can take some classes (locally online etc.) to gain those skills.

Second volunteer at night or weekends at an art museum or other establishment – so you can get some experience. While you are doing this you should also be able to develop some key contacts and build a network of people in the art world. (See Quintessential Careers: The Art of Networking for lots of resources and strategies for networking.)

Third try creating a version of your resume in a chrono-functional resume focusing on your skills. While working in the fast-food industry does not automatically relate to the art industry if you sit down and look at the skills you’ve gained and can apply you might be surprised. These are called transferable skills and you can learn lots more about them by visiting Quintessential Careers: Transferable Skills. Be aware that many employers disdain any kind of functional resume so if that version doesn’t seem to be working for you revert to a chronological version but consider getting professional help with it to make sure it’s the best it can be. You can find help with your resume at Quintessential Careers: Resume Resources.