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Q:

I am an Administrative Assistant for a law enforcement agency and as much as I love law enforcement I am starting to think that it does not love me.  I have been with my organization for three and a half years and I have applied for at least seven positions to no avail.  I am also working on my third boss.  My first boss quit, the second was demoted, and now I have another.  I currently have an Associates in Criminal Justice, and a BS in Security Management.  I am ready to make a career change/move but with nothing but an Admin background, I feel my options are few.  To further complicate matters, many of the duties that I started with are now being handled either online or in another state. 
 
I am really interested in Global Security, and Project Management, and am familiar with the fields, but I lack the hands-on skills, and certifications to get in the door.  I have applied for everything, networked on LinkedIn, and outside of outright asking someone for a job, I don't know what to do anymore.  What are my options with two degrees and no skills?


a:

​First off, you have skills. You have managed tasks and assignments and, no doubt, seen them to completion. Talk with someone in your organization you respect and ask them what skills you should highlight in your resume and your LinkedIn profile. You already have a strong educational foundation so you should have obtained the core knowledge in criminal justice and security management. Sell that in your resume and when you interview.

Don't be negative about the changes in your organization – bosses will always come and go.  Have you tried to identify a mentor in your organization?  Look there first and if you can't find one there, look for mentors through ASIS groups, such as the Women in Security Council.  Don't apply for every job that comes up. Your lack of success could suggest that there were specific skills or experience required and you did not have them. Don't set yourself up for failure by putting in for a role that would be – to put it kindly – a big stretch.

It may be time to look outside of law enforcement.  Three and half years is a good amount of time and you could find a substantive junior level security role in the private sector.  Use indeed.com to push job postings to your in-box.  Network with members in your local ASIS chapter to hear about roles and identify employers.