Originally Published: Saturday, 29 January 2000 Author: Jobs Staff
Published to: interact_articles_jobs_ask_staff/Ask the Jobs Staff Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Ask the Jobs Staff: Changing Career Fields

Dear Jobs Staff: I've been working as a bartender but I've been playing with Linux, Apache, PHP3, Perl and MySQL sort of in my spare time. I want to get more into the web programming and administration kinds of jobs since they're more stable, but I don't have any real experience to put on a resume.

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Dear Jobs Staff:

I've been working as a bartender but I've been playing with Linux, Apache, PHP3, Perl and MySQL sort of in my spare time. I want to get more into the web programming and administration kinds of jobs since they're more stable, but I don't have any real experience to put on a resume. Do you have any ideas about where or how I can get "resume experience" without having to quit my day job? Well, actually, it's more of a night job, but you get the idea...I'm just tired of working with all the drunks night after night and depending on tips that don't add up to much. It's also depressing to think about the jobs I want to have but can't apply for 'cause I don't really have anything to put on a resume. But still, this job does pay my bills and I don't want to quit it until I actually have something better to do...

Dear Bartender:

We have some good news, and some bad news. The bad news is, it can take time to move yourself into a new job field. The good news is, there are a lot of ways to get resume fodder even in your spare time. Some of them pay a little, some of them don't, but the way we see it, if you're not getting paid to play with Linux now, volunteer-type work might be just the thing.

<shameless plug> The obvious example is to apply as a volunteer here at Linux.com by going to http://www.linux.com/volunteer/, reading the information, and filling out the application. Of course, we have several coders already, but you never know. And don't let the application form intimidate you! Working on Linux.com is indeed a privilege, but no one here is going to put you down for wanting to expand on the experience you've got and help out the community at the same time. </shameless plug>

Another option is to just build yourself a website or websites with some of your best work and maybe even make your source code available. That way, you've got URL's of your work to point out to a prospective employer, and besides: there are free web hosting services all over the place, not to mention inexpensive web hosting services who offer MySQL and PHP3 as well as CGI access. Solicit work from family or friends and do web work for them...this gives you even more examples you can point out.

Check the job boards, especially http://Linux.com/jobs/ and look for contract work, or even apply to local ISP's or web host companies to see if they've got part-time positions available. Smaller web hosting companies and ISP's might be glad to get someone who knows his rear end from a hole in the ground when it comes to Linux. Believe us, there is always a shortage of people who can even spell Linux, Apache, or even PHP3.

Even if you don't have a resume yet, it doesn't hurt to ask these places for part time work. The worst they can do is say no, and at the least, you'll have another application done. Of course, you might be surprised and be offered a real job just because you run Linux at home! Don't laugh: one of the staff here once applied for a part time phone support job and was offered a full-time systems administrator position for little more than spelling "Unix" correctly.

Just remember that it doesn't hurt to try, but if you don't try, then it's back with the drunks forever, and none of us want that. As you build up either volunteer or paid experience, add that to your resume. If you absolutely need a resume, put down the skills that you have already, and just don't be tempted to lie about experience you don't have. As we said, it can take time to get into a new job field, but if you keep working at it, it can be done. Good luck!

---- Got a question for the Jobs Staff? Email jobs_staff@linux.com.





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