Getting first IT job without related experience: How?

Pratt2Pratt2 Member Posts: 66 ■■□□□□□□□□
I am jumping into IT as a second career. I went to law school because, well, I wanted those Benjamins, but I really just can't stand it and being depressed is not how I'd like to live my life. To add insult to injury I'm not making bank either.

So here I am in NYC with a J.D., 3 years of crappy contract legal positions on my resume, A+ and Net+. I have zero professional IT experience. If I could avoid desktop support I'd be a happy man. My realistic ideal position would be as an entry network admin.

The real problem is drafting a resume that has something on it. Should I include my legal work? Should I just not mention the J.D.? Would it be better for me to have a huge black hole in my timeline than fill it with my 3 years of law school? I have been sending out one of several resume versions with varying emphasis on my legal education/experience depending on what job I'm applying for but have yet to even receive one rejection letter. What's really frustrating is "entry level" jobs requiring 3 years of relevant experience. Seriously? Sigh...

Anyway, if anyone out there has successfully transitioned into IT from a completely unrelated field and/or with a completely unrelated graduate-level degree, I'd be interested to hear your story.

Comments

  • Mike-MikeMike-Mike Member Posts: 1,860
    i can't imagine you would jump right into a net admin position..... but maybe it's possible...

    and I also can't imagine going to Law School ever being a bad thing to put on a resume...
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  • Pratt2Pratt2 Member Posts: 66 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Mike-Mike wrote: »
    i can't imagine you would jump right into a net admin position..... but maybe it's possible...

    and I also can't imagine going to Law School ever being a bad thing to put on a resume...

    Thanks for the reply. Maybe I should change "entry" to "assistant."
  • ehndeehnde Member Posts: 1,103
    Definitely put law school on there and include your legal experience. Any employer would be impressed with this and someone would take it into consideration. If you made it through law school this indicates you're smart and motivated.

    I could see a future for you in something like I.T. forensics. Ever thought about that? No idea how you'd break into that....but your expertise would apply here.
    Climb a mountain, tell no one.
  • xenodamusxenodamus Member Posts: 758
    The possibilities of getting an admin type job, even a Jr. level, will be pretty slim with no experience. Honestly, the skills you gain doing desktop support type work are both useful and valuable in admin level positions. I wouldn't be so eager to skip over all that. I'm basing this on the assumption that have have -zero- IT experience of course. If you do have some level of helpdesk/desktop support experience a Jr. level position may be doable.

    On the bright side, I see law school as a plus as well. I think the fact that you completed it says something about your level of committment and determination as a person.
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  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    ehnde wrote: »
    Definitely put law school on there and include your legal experience. Any employer would be impressed with this and someone would take it into consideration. If you made it through law school this indicates you're smart and motivated.

    I could see a future for you in something like I.T. forensics. Ever thought about that? No idea how you'd break into that....but your expertise would apply here.

    +1 to all of this.

    Some sort of legal IT forensics job could possibly be a good place for you to make the transition to IT. While security is something that usually requires a good bit of previous IT experience, you may be able to get on doing some lower level work due to your law background. Or maybe a hybrid legal assistant/in house IT guy for a small firm to get you some IT experience on the resume.

    I haven't worked at either of those types of places though so take my advice with a grain of salt.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • Cisco InfernoCisco Inferno Member Posts: 1,034 ■■■■■■□□□□
    im in nyc also, and while browsing dice.com recently there was a law firm looking for desktop support/helpdesk people. and one of the requirements was Legal Experience in a firm.

    im sure youd have no problem supporting a law firm. I can see your experience and JD being very respected there. keep your chin up man! you did law school! /whew
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  • erpadminerpadmin Member Posts: 4,165
    I can almost guarantee you that if you put your law degree on your resume...you will probably get interviews for whatever position you apply for. You may even get those jobs...but it will have nothing to do with IT skills....

    Who wouldn't want to hire a lawyer? Admin skills can be taught to anyone...especially one who passed the bar and has a slight aptitude for IT. Most of us have gotten into some legal trouble in one form or another...rather than your potential boss shelling out thousands of bucks for a lawyer, who do you think he's going to turn to first? Not to mention your colleagues....that's right, bucko....you. Good luck telling your boss to go punt when he asks you to set up a blind trust...lmao.

    It may be advantageous/disadvantageous to list your law experience on your IT resume, because you may end up fielding more legal questions than learning/doing your IT job. Also, I can't imagine you wanting to support a law firm from an IT perspective...I think the last thing you'd want to be around are people doing what you initially set out to do.
  • NinjaBoyNinjaBoy Member Posts: 968
    Pratt2 wrote: »
    ...The real problem is drafting a resume that has something on it. Should I include my legal work? Should I just not mention the J.D.? Would it be better for me to have a huge black hole in my timeline than fill it with my 3 years of law school? I have been sending out one of several resume versions with varying emphasis on my legal education/experience depending on what job I'm applying for but have yet to even receive one rejection letter. What's really frustrating is "entry level" jobs requiring 3 years of relevant experience. Seriously? Sigh... .

    Yes, include your work history and do not leave a black hole in your CV. It will not/does not look favorable.

    The problem that you're currently facing is that you as an unexperienced person (in the IT field) is that when you're applying for IT positions you're still facing competition from experienced IT Professional that were made redundant from the recession.

    Frustrating, Yes... End of the world, No. Getting rejected, at any stage, can be made into a positive thing - a learning curve if you will...

    Ask for feedback from your CV/application, see if the prospective employers can give you pointers for your next application. It may be that your CV isn't up to stratch or your cover letter wasn't that good, or it could be that both are great but someone with experience got the job.
    Pratt2 wrote: »
    ...Anyway, if anyone out there has successfully transitioned into IT from a completely unrelated field and/or with a completely unrelated graduate-level degree, I'd be interested to hear your story.

    Yes, in a previous life I worked as an Administrative Officer (in other words an Office Admin) and I worked in the Healthcare sector. It took me 5 years to get into the IT field, and 9 months away from getting my degree, and that was years before the recession. Now I'm an IT manager, so yes it is possible :)

    Another thing, have you considered volunteering at any place that has IT equipment to gain experience?

    -Ken
  • rogue2shadowrogue2shadow CISSP, GXPN, OSCE, OSCP, OSWP, eMAPT, CEH, CNDA, A+, Network+, Security+ Member Posts: 1,501 ■■■■■■■■□□
    im in nyc also, and while browsing dice.com recently there was a law firm looking for desktop support/helpdesk people. and one of the requirements was Legal Experience in a firm.

    im sure youd have no problem supporting a law firm. I can see your experience and JD being very respected there. keep your chin up man! you did law school! /whew

    Def +1 to this.

  • Pratt2Pratt2 Member Posts: 66 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the advice guys, I appreciate it. I did look for volunteer positions but the few opportunities I found required applicants to be current students and/or have an IT-related degree. Honestly though I didn't put a lot of time into it.

    I just need to stay motivated and positive.
  • Mike-MikeMike-Mike Member Posts: 1,860
    im in nyc also, and while browsing dice.com recently there was a law firm looking for desktop support/helpdesk people. and one of the requirements was Legal Experience in a firm.

    im sure youd have no problem supporting a law firm. I can see your experience and JD being very respected there. keep your chin up man! you did law school! /whew


    agreed....


    and i just got an IT job with little to no real IT experience, I worked for AT&T mainly dealing with POTS line, but it still worked in my favor that I had strong work experience, regardless of the industry
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  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    Pratt2 wrote: »
    I am jumping into IT as a second career. I went to law school because, well, I wanted those Benjamins, but I really just can't stand it and being depressed is not how I'd like to live my life. To add insult to injury I'm not making bank either.

    So here I am in NYC with a J.D., 3 years of crappy contract legal positions on my resume, A+ and Net+. I have zero professional IT experience. If I could avoid desktop support I'd be a happy man. My realistic ideal position would be as an entry network admin.

    The real problem is drafting a resume that has something on it. Should I include my legal work? Should I just not mention the J.D.? Would it be better for me to have a huge black hole in my timeline than fill it with my 3 years of law school? I have been sending out one of several resume versions with varying emphasis on my legal education/experience depending on what job I'm applying for but have yet to even receive one rejection letter. What's really frustrating is "entry level" jobs requiring 3 years of relevant experience. Seriously? Sigh...

    Anyway, if anyone out there has successfully transitioned into IT from a completely unrelated field and/or with a completely unrelated graduate-level degree, I'd be interested to hear your story.

    List all your education. Consistently analyze your resume and make changes. Use your strengths, which I assume to be your ability to speak and write. Did you use Word a lot while in school? Did you use any technology at all like Excel or some reporting program? Anything like that you want to mention. And don't be afraid to stretch the truth.

    :)

    Hope that helps.
  • SteveLordSteveLord Member Posts: 1,717
    im in nyc also, and while browsing dice.com recently there was a law firm looking for desktop support/helpdesk people. and one of the requirements was Legal Experience in a firm.

    I too have seen these types of positions once in a while.
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  • Cisco InfernoCisco Inferno Member Posts: 1,034 ■■■■■■□□□□
    SteveLord wrote: »
    I too have seen these types of positions once in a while.
    well we got our man.
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  • eMeSeMeS Member Posts: 1,875
    ehnde wrote: »
    Any employer would be impressed with this and someone would take it into consideration. If you made it through law school this indicates you're smart and motivated.

    I could see a future for you in something like I.T. forensics. Ever thought about that? No idea how you'd break into that....but your expertise would apply here.

    +1 to all of this.

    Some sort of legal IT forensics job could possibly be a good place for you to make the transition to IT.

    Seriously?

    Ok, I'm only pointing this out because I think you guys are actually smarter than this.

    I think this is an example of why advice on the Internet is mostly bad and poorly thought-out.

    There's only about a million different legal areas that someone with a JD could have studied and specialized in. In the absence any clarifying information from the OP, why immediately jump to the conclusion that a JD qualifies someone for a career in digital forensic science? In fact, it's probably highly unlikely that he studied much that was specific to this area.

    It's kind of like saying that someone with a CPA would make a great IT auditor, or an auditor period. That's not true. What makes a good auditor is someone trained specifically to be an auditor.

    What qualifies someone to do digital forensic science is being specifically trained in digital forensic science or sufficient experience in that area gained in other ways. There are degrees in forensics.

    It's as if at times the contributions on this site are heavily enamored with obscure aspects of security. This doesn't seem to really do anyone any good. What is the real demand in this area? Does anyone know, or does it just sound cool to say "computer forensics"? I'm guessing the demand is there but it's probably highly competitive and wrapped up by a few people who've been doing that work for a long-time and are well-established in their field.


    To the OP, I would state that it's clear that you have a soul, as you've decided that the legal field is not for you.. :) However, what areas of law did you study and what did you find the most interesting? That should guide some of your decision-making.

    In spite of the advice given above, which I believe paints you into a really tight career corner, you might have better luck looking into roles related to IT that focus on vendor or supplier-related acquisition of services and products. I would think what you learned in law school would be much more applicable and readily accepted in that area. This of course is if you have any coursework or experience in contract-law...

    MS
  • Pratt2Pratt2 Member Posts: 66 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Since graduating my positions have focused on intellectual property licensing. Contract drafting, reviewing, negotiating, archiving. I've worked most often with contracts covering software, photography and written works. My resume shows a demonstrated interest in technology and intellectual property. Courses in contracts, copyright, patents, software law, economics, legal writing. I also have some experience with technical editing. Only problem with acquisitions/sales related positions is that I have no sales experience. Experience working with clients to resolve problems, yes. Experience trying to sell or buy anything, no. I've been looking for opportunities where I could sort of bridge the gap between legal and IT functions but those tend to be few and far between, not to mention they tend to require more experience than I have. My simplified story is that I've always loved computers but various kinds of pressure pushed me toward pursuing a legal education.
  • eMeSeMeS Member Posts: 1,875
    Pratt2 wrote: »
    Since graduating my positions have focused on intellectual property licensing. Contract drafting, reviewing, negotiating, archiving. I've worked most often with contracts covering software, photography and written works. My resume shows a demonstrated interest in technology and intellectual property. Courses in contracts, copyright, patents, software law, economics, legal writing. Only problem with acquisitions/sales related positions is that I have no sales experience. Experience working with clients to resolve problems, yes. Experience trying to sell or buy anything, no. I've been looking for opportunities where I could sort of bridge the gap between legal and IT functions but those tend to be few and far between, not to mention they tend to require more experience than I have.

    We have a winner.

    Search for things like "vendor management", "supplier management", and "contracting and purchasing".

    All IT departments purchase goods and services from suppliers, and are heavily focused on what those contracts with suppliers specify as well as managing the suppliers effectively against the stated terms of the contract.

    Did you take/pass the bar? How would you rank your law school against others? As you know, that can make a huge difference in the legal field.

    Whatever you do, don't paint yourself into too thin of a career corner...

    MS
  • Pratt2Pratt2 Member Posts: 66 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the advice, it really helps. I'll definitely start searching for the types of positions you mentioned. I went to a top 20 school and passed the NY Bar. People might think it's a ticket to easy street but they would be confusing 60 years ago with 2010. A lot of people I went to school with would gladly sell the degree that cost them $120k for around 10.
  • eMeSeMeS Member Posts: 1,875
    Pratt2 wrote: »
    Thanks for the advice, it really helps. I'll definitely start searching for the types of positions you mentioned. I went to a top 20 school and passed the NY Bar. People might think it's a ticket to easy street but they would be confusing 60 years ago with 2010. A lot of people I went to school with would gladly sell the degree that cost them $120k for around 10.

    Yeah, legal work, at least early on is a high-washout career choice. They expect a lot for very little return.

    But, you have a couple of things going strongly in your favor. First, you didn't get a degree from a questionable school. That's especially relevant with law degrees, and something that in general gets missed in much of the advice you see given on this site, which is mostly around undergrad degrees.

    Second, since you've passed the bar, it won't look like you just gave up. You're actually licensed to practice, so I think that should help you a lot. Express this on your resume, because as you know there is a significant difference between simply earning a JD and passing the bar.

    I would focus on the bigger companies in your area, which shouldn't be a problem given where you are located. Also, you might look a bit west into NJ; the area that I'm most familiar with is the Morristown/Parsippany area where there are many large companies headquarted. But that might be a little far west for you to travel for work...still, I actually know people who travel travel from NYC to there, and at least one person who goes from just outside of Philadelphia to Morristown every day.

    MS
  • erpadminerpadmin Member Posts: 4,165
    eMeS wrote: »
    I would focus on the bigger companies in your area, which shouldn't be a problem given where you are located. Also, you might look a bit west into NJ; the area that I'm most familiar with is the Morristown/Parsippany area where there are many large companies headquarted. But that might be a little far west for you to travel for work...still, I actually know people who travel travel from NYC to there, and at least one person who goes from just outside of Philadelphia to Morristown every day.

    MS

    From what I can think of, in that area, you got hospitals, ADP (real big in that area) and some financial companies.

    If Jersey is of interest to the OP, he should try Jersey City and Newark. Prudential is based out of Newark and there has always been good IT demand there. Jersey City you have many Wall Street companies that have their support personnel there as well. Much less travel time to go to either location.
  • eMeSeMeS Member Posts: 1,875
    erpadmin wrote: »
    From what I can think of, in that area, you got hospitals, ADP (real big in that area) and some financial companies.

    If Jersey is of interest to the OP, he should try Jersey City and Newark. Prudential is based out of Newark and there has always been good IT demand there. Jersey City you have many Wall Street companies that have their support personnel there as well. Much less travel time to go to either location.

    You forgot Mennen!!!

    There's some others out there...not sure what it is, but something attracts companies to that area.

    I agree about Jersey City...that area has exploded in the last few years. Lots of big insurance companies.

    About the only thing I do in Newark is land there and get out of it as quickly as possible. I guess I still think of it as the seedy underbelly of the seedy underbelly of NYC. (Yes, that wording was intentional). Sounds like that might have changed...

    MS
  • SteveLordSteveLord Member Posts: 1,717
    I lived in Jersey City and worked in Newark for 2 years. I survived!

    But sigh.....I miss Stadium Pizza and the Collonette diner.
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  • erpadminerpadmin Member Posts: 4,165
    SteveLord wrote: »
    I lived in Jersey City and worked in Newark for 2 years. I survived!

    But sigh.....I miss Stadium Pizza and the Collonette diner.


    Collonette changed the name to something else....we still call it that though.
  • ehndeehnde Member Posts: 1,103
    eMeS wrote: »
    Seriously?

    Ok, I'm only pointing this out because I think you guys are actually smarter than this.

    I think this is an example of why advice on the Internet is mostly bad and poorly thought-out.

    There's only about a million different legal areas that someone with a JD could have studied and specialized in. In the absence any clarifying information from the OP, why immediately jump to the conclusion that a JD qualifies someone for a career in digital forensic science? In fact, it's probably highly unlikely that he studied much that was specific to this area.

    It's kind of like saying that someone with a CPA would make a great IT auditor, or an auditor period. That's not true. What makes a good auditor is someone trained specifically to be an auditor.

    What qualifies someone to do digital forensic science is being specifically trained in digital forensic science or sufficient experience in that area gained in other ways. There are degrees in forensics.

    It's as if at times the contributions on this site are heavily enamored with obscure aspects of security. This doesn't seem to really do anyone any good. What is the real demand in this area? Does anyone know, or does it just sound cool to say "computer forensics"? I'm guessing the demand is there but it's probably highly competitive and wrapped up by a few people who've been doing that work for a long-time and are well-established in their field.


    To the OP, I would state that it's clear that you have a soul, as you've decided that the legal field is not for you.. :) However, what areas of law did you study and what did you find the most interesting? That should guide some of your decision-making.

    In spite of the advice given above, which I believe paints you into a really tight career corner, you might have better luck looking into roles related to IT that focus on vendor or supplier-related acquisition of services and products. I would think what you learned in law school would be much more applicable and readily accepted in that area. This of course is if you have any coursework or experience in contract-law...

    MS

    The first thing that came to my mind in this situation was chain of custody. Never hesitate to call me out on something, I always appreciate a good chance to learn.
    Climb a mountain, tell no one.
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