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I am currently transitioning from one field to another. Network administration to web development to be precise.

While my CV will show my record in IT, I don't want to be misleading about my lack of experience in web development specifically.
I thought about being very implicit by placing "novice" or "inexperienced" somewhere in my resume, but on the other hand, I don't want to come off as a complete beginner (or maybe I should?).

I want to be honest about my inexperience while not devastating my chances at getting an interview.

What would be a good approach to this?

EDIT

Just to clarify, I didn't just start transitioning out of the blue. I've invested the past 12 months in acquiring the relevant skill set for a junior web developer (this includes studying various programming paradigms, MVC, RESTful design, OOP and functionality, working with different frameworks and libraries, working with databases, writing secure code and of course I worked on a portfolio).
But obviously, I'm still starting out and I want that to translate the best way possible.

  • What is the significance of trying to show this exactly? Wouldn't you rather show value to the company and that you have some skills they would like to use you while paying you $x/hour to use them? – JB King Jan 20 '14 at 23:29
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    Hey guest, and welcome to The Workplace! What problem are you facing that makes you think you need to add this? Has an employer come back to you and told you that you should add it? Is there some reason you personally believe that you should be adding it? I'm having trouble figuring out what problem you're trying to solve here. – jmac Jan 21 '14 at 1:37
  • @jmac Imagine receiving a resume and by looking at work experience you can immediately tell the applicant has no prior experience. Wouldn't that put you off? So I thought a different approach would be so say, I am new to this field but here are the skill sets I have acquired, here's how I can contribute to the company and this is why my background in the IT world can be beneficial to this position. Now I sincerely ask, does this only make sense in my head? Is this a bad approach to a resume? – user33 Jan 21 '14 at 10:52
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A résumé isn't for showing inexperience. It is for showing experience.

Be honest with what you have done. Try to emphasize any professional training or certifications you've achieved towards being a web developer.

In my opinion, a 2-year stint as a network administrator should be REQUIRED for anyone who wants to be a developer. A 6-month run on a help desk wouldn't hurt either. If you came to me with your experience, and I had someone else applying who'd studied web development but had no work experience, I'd have a hard time choosing between you.

  • if I got an interview with you, and you were to find out during that interview about my little experience, wouldn't that reflect badly on me? Alternatively, I could implicitly state my inexperience on my resume and sort of "let you know in advance" that I am new to this field, or would you in that case, skip my application all together? – user33 Jan 21 '14 at 0:05
  • Your résumé shows your experience, and the lack of it in certain areas. Knowing how things "do" work is more valuable than knowing how things "should" work. That's where your admin experience is valuable. I'd put you through a skills evaluation, but I would seriously consider you. – Wesley Long Jan 21 '14 at 0:23
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    Even if you have no proven experience (= work) from a given technology, it doesn't mean you don't know about it through personal projects and experience through observation. Sometimes a hobby project will make you more skillful than work experience would, depending on how immersed you are in it in your hobby projects. – Juha Untinen Jan 22 '14 at 14:13
  • @JuhaUntinen - I absolutely agree. But hobby work wasn't part of the post, so I didn't address it. – Wesley Long Jan 23 '14 at 16:08
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You have to show both

  1. Your experience in the field you're leaving, in the form of abstract things accomplished (teamwork, projects, generic improvements, etc.), leaving specifics of that field completely out. No jargon (no technical keywords), just imply that you know them.

  2. Your attempts at the new field. The humble courses, the simple experiences based in youtube vids, whatever. It's hard to word these things professionally, but not impossible. Finally, and this is the key, put the jargon in, both of what you already experimented with, and with what you aim to learn next. Be earnest, but be determined.

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If the past twelve months' study hasn't been in a formal setting (degree or certificate program) or been done as part of your current job, I'd list what you've done in the "education" section of your resume and indicate it's been independent study, as well as list in an "objective" portion of your resume that you're interested in a career transition. If prospective employers are looking for cover letters, that's certainly an opportunity to expand on the additional work you've done to build those new skill sets. I don't know if you're working with technical recruiters or directly submitting your resume to companies, but if you are working with a recruiter they should be able to point you in the right direction; and considering they make money on candidates that get hired, will state your case to a prospective employer if they understand what you're going for and think you'd be a good fit.

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What skills may transfer from one field to the other? What kinds of tasks may exist in both fields that could be useful to note?

Configuring a "hosts" file is something I've done as a web developer that may be something some administrators do.

Investigating issues may be something you've done in a network administrator role that would also apply to web development.

While there is the side that you'll be starting in more junior positions, I'd be careful about undervaluing what parts transfer over here.

  • I added some clarification about this transition, just to point out I didn't simply decide to change profession. But the question remains, how would I go about showing my inexperience on my resume? – user33 Jan 20 '14 at 22:34

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