“How Do I Get Employers To See Past My Job History?”

Miranda's motivation has reached an all-time low. She enjoys some aspects of her role, but the environment isn't working for her. How do you move sideways when your experience is pointing you back to where you don't want to be?

What's your career history and current job?

I'm a government researcher in public global health.

I've worked in North and Central America, Europe and Africa.

My career has involved a variety of roles in large, overseas government posts as well as small non-profits. Previously I worked for the UN.

I have extensive experience with data collection, data management, and data analysis of survey data.

How do you feel about your work?

I love the variety and I love working with people.

I really like the fact that in my day-to-day role I get to collaborate with people with different levels of education, experience and across different sectors.

My day can range from meeting with village workers in rural communities, to working with the minister of health or the US ambassador.

The trouble is that there can be so much down time, because every little thing needs to go through ten people before it gets approved and before you can actually do anything.

I know this is the same in a lot of international organisations but it's such a frustrating time suck.

Nothing gets accomplished quickly or efficiently. It makes you so much less motivated.

When I worked in a small team before this, we were able to do things quickly. We worked really well together.

Maybe working for the government or a large organisation isn't the right place for me. That's what I'm trying to figure out.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I know I love working with people, and I know I love doing research.

Helping people is what drew me to this work and to this field in the first place. I would still like to stay in some type of health role and in the same genre of work.

I've thought a lot about consulting, working with an agency, where I could work on projects for a set amount of time and not feel stagnant the way I do now.

I have friends who work for all sorts of different consulting firms, from really big ones to small boutique ones. They're all really happy with the amount of work they do, the oversight they have, and the balance they enjoy between teamwork and working alone. That appeals to me.

I'm also open to opportunities anywhere in the world. I like the idea of moving to a new country and establishing myself there.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

My CV isn't opening any doors.

Without any experience in consulting I find it's hard to make a strong case on my CV as to why an employer should hire me, as opposed to someone who is already based with a consulting firm.

After seven years in the field, I know I have the experience and I know I would be able to do the job.

But I don't know how to get that across to a future employer.

My biggest fear is that I don't match up to what consultancy firms want.

People who go into research consulting do it when they come out of school rather than transitioning into it from a large employer.

How can I spin the experience that I have in a way that enables me to compete successfully?

How can I get a foot in the door?

Can you help Miranda?

  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • How do you think Miranda could move her shift forwards?
  • Do you know anyone she could talk to?

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