Don't Give Up

I have worked in retail banking for the past 10 years. I'm currently a manager of a branch of a mid-sized community bank, the second community bank for which I have worked. The job is not challenging, and the work I do has so little impact on people’s lives that it depresses me. I've been looking for the past five years for a position in another field and I am having no luck. The standard answer I get is that I don't have the experience they are looking for, however, I have experience in sales, operations, training, community outreach, etc, pretty extensive experience actually. I've gone to job fairs, volunteered for various organizations, taken advantage of referrals from friends, and made sure to conduct continual follow-up with prospective employers. Nothing seems to work. I am most recently interested in the not-for-profit sector. I am even willing to take a slight pay cut. Do you have any suggestions? I am at my wits end and I need to locate and secure a new position soon - working a job I hate is having a severe adverse affect on my life in general.

Wow! It sounds like you are making a strong effort to make a change. It is hard to assess where in the process you need to change or adjust what you are doing in order to be more effective. I would recommend, though, that you look at how clearly you are presenting yourself, how targeted your message about your qualifications, and how strong your 30 second speech as well as your resume are. They all need to be targeted toward a specific direction - many people use too broad an approach and it becomes difficult for others to help them. You might also look at what first impression you are giving - since your current situation is so difficult, I'm wondering if you are coming across a little too desperate. It is important to convey the image that you are moving "toward" something, rather than "running from" something else. Working with a career counselor may help you work through some of these issues and create a more effective search. The not for profit sector is huge and offers many opportunities - at many levels. You will need to think about your motivation to move into this area and educate yourself about the areas where your skills would transfer, learn about the salary ranges (which are usually lower than in the for profit sector), re-brand yourself and create a resume and personal presentation that will highlight those skills. Check out the excellent article on informational interviewing. The Directory of Human Services (available at the library) will be a valuable resource as you explore further. Don't give up!! You are on the right track! The Career Experts @

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