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Discussion Question

How can I explain why I am applying for a position unrelated to my degree, and how can I explain gaps in my employment history?

Hello all,

A year ago, I moved to a new state with my family. I struggled to find work for the first three months after moving until I found a position as a marketing assistant/listing coordinator at a local real estate company. Unfortunately, the owner of the company decided to sell it and I was laid off after just one month of working there. I struggled again to find work for another five months after that before I found a job at a print shop as a graphic designer (I earned my BFA in graphic design a little over two years ago). In all honesty, I can say that I do not enjoy doing graphic design where I currently work, and I think I would rather it be more of a hobby and less of something that I do full-time professionally. I went to school thinking this would be a good option for me, but I quickly found out after graduating that it's just not what I thought it would be.

I worked as an administrative assistant for three years while I went to school, and I've found that I really enjoy having more responsibility like that. I enjoy helping others, working with clients, and providing general support. After college, I worked as an office and account manager for a small start-up company where I assisted clients, handled billing, and provided general administrative support to the CEO, sales team, and software development team for two years before moving.

I recently applied for a job as an administrative assistant at another local real estate company, and I have an introductory phone interview tomorrow. From reading the job description, I know I would really love having the job. I really wanted my previous real estate job to be something that would be long- lasting and I'm looking for something similar. I became more interested in real estate and received a limited amount of real-estate specific training too.
I'm nervous about my interview for several reasons, and I am seeking advice and answers to some of my interview-related questions:

1. I've had job interviews for office manager/administrative assistant positions recently, and the employers have all expressed concern that I will leave the position very shortly after being hired in order to pursue a career in graphic design. This is frustrating because it seems that nobody will give me a chance because of this. How can I make it clear that I would rather not do graphic design full-time any longer?

2. Should I even tell the interviewer that I'm currently working as a graphic designer where I started my job in October? (when I applied for the administrative assistant job, I left my current position off of my resume)
If I do tell the interviewer that I am currently working, what should I tell her if she asks me why I am leaving a position after only working there for four months?

3. My current job as a designer is very boring. I often spend the majority of my day changing names and numbers on pre-designed business cards, not really designing anything. I also cannot give my clients the quality and creativity that I would like to due to time constraints. I really enjoy taking on more administrative duties, such as handling invoices, payments, scheduling, answering questions, preparing documents and reports, and supporting a team. I enjoy multi-tasking and I enjoy the challenges that roles like the one I am interviewing for present. How can I possibly explain these things to my interviewer and really get the point across that I would love to have the position I applied for and would fully intend stay with their company for a very long time?

If anyone can give me advice on how to answer some of these questions, I would greatly appreciate it! In addition to the fact that I will enjoy the variety job duties more, the job I am interviewing for will also pay more and will offer more benefits than what I currently make. I really want to stand out and make an impression, and also ease any concerns regarding my past experiences that my interviewer might have.
Thank you so much for reading!

Fairygodboss member NuclearPumpkin

  • Fairygodboss member

    I can relate because I was a graphic designer and I really tried to pursue a career in design but the area where I live is just not a good place to be a creative designer. I would have to travel 4 hours a day to get a job in the city and that just wasn't an option for me. As a designer you can easily make a change to get into advertising or marketing and mentioning that you have graphic design experience is a huge plus. There are so many different types of marketing jobs out there and nearly every company needs marketing people. Some are creative, some analytical or a mix of the two. Your earning potential would probably be much higher than office manager as well. Just a suggestion but either way tell them that you are looking to make a career change.

  • Fairygodboss member

    Everything you have said in terms of your explanation makes sense to me. I would not go into a lot of detail when you explain why you (a) want to leave your current position, and (b) that you don't want to work in graphic design just because you studied it. I think many people work in areas that they didn't get a degree and its based on your job experience and the job description itself (including the pay) that you'er interested in it. I wouldn't worry so much about telling people you currently work in graphic design either. You can just explain that you took a job because you needed to take a position but your heart is in the administrative world and you believe you're a better fit for it because of the experiences you have had. I suspect that sometimes people will tell you a reason you were rejected for a role because they are looking to give you a reason that makes sense. If you are honest and to the point and keep on trying, I think your explanations (again, I'd keep them relatively short and concise) are logical and compelling. Good luck!

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