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Background to my question:

I am 22 years old, and am enrolled part-time in school (still in my first year of classes as well). I was previously working full-time at a professional position, as an office assistant in a 2 lawyer law firm. Prior to this, I have absolutely no "professional" work experience, and had been working in customer service-slash-retail positions (gas stations, convenience stores, etc). Getting this position was due to family connections and that my employer was willing to train me literally from scratch because she was so desperate for help. I devoted myself to learning as much as I could absorb in this position as I'm studying for a paralegal degree and I was excited to be working in the law field so early in my schooling. When I was let go, I had been working there for less than a year (10 months total). I am on good terms with my previous employer, but am uncomfortable approaching her with a "do you know where/how I can look for work based on our work scenario?" kind of question.

So, my question is:

What are a few steps to take to continue working in this field with my current experience level?

I want to go about applying to similar positions, perhaps not in a law firm, but looking for professional office positions. I know that with my age, my schooling, and my experience, I do not have a leg up on other more experienced candidates, and if a company tells me that, then I can accept it. However, I do feel that I learned a lot during my first foray into the professional world and workplace and would like to continue this trend. I know this means I should be looking for companies willing to train "entry-level" people in this field, who would be willing to "bear with me" so to speak as I continue to learn.

Is there a set of standards when first breaking into a field that I should follow when drafting a resume/cover letter or being interviewed, that allow me to convey this professionally?

I did take a look at this question and this question, but I don't feel they appropriately answer my scenario, as there are no "steps you can take" kind of standards for when breaking into a new field and knowing you are in need of continued training. I also checked out this one to get help in building a resume with both non-professional and professional experience. If there are any others that I missed, please feel free to direct me.

Additionally, answers like "wait until you are further in school" or others that involve me staying unemployed or earning experience in any unpaid manner are not an option in this scenario due to financial reasons. Telling me to "just go get a customer service job" is also not helpful, as I can and will do so, but would like to know if there is a way to give me a better chance in the professional field as I continue job hunting.

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I was in the same situation a few years ago, and I suggest to you the same advice that was given to me.

Visit your school's career advising center. I brought my concerns to the table with them and they helped me find a path that I did not know existed with my low level of expertise at the time.

Not only did they help me find a job, but they also helped me build my resume and take classes that were not only important to gaining my degree, but to also help build up my resume where I was lacking in experience. Also. they helped make my resume look awesome and taught me how to write a cover letter.

Lastly, the career center might be able to match you up with a mentor in the fields that you want to work in.

I know this isn't the exact answer that you are looking for, but it's the best that I can suggest.

-A 22 year old Transportation Manager

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Your best bet would be temp agencies. You can gain experience on temporary assignments and learn new stuff. Potentially, the agencies will have contract-to-hire positions available that offer a step between temp employment and perm positions that give an employer a chance to see how well you work before committing.

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Sadly, I don't know what the best answer is. The previous two I feel are are pretty solid answers, but as a third possible solution to consider.

Highlight your schooling and your chosen path on your resume, then list out everything you did and learned while employed at the Law firm. Omit things that you don't think stand out then go from there with it. You don't want a super long list, but something that shows you can learn, and have already learned a great deal.

Your goal in my opinion is to get in front of a recruiter and show them you are a long term bet, that will pay off for them.

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