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Due to the experience on my resume, many potential employers feel that I would be a better fit in analytics rather than an engineering position. This is usually communicated to me either during the interview or through e-mail prior. However, I would strongly prefer to do software engineering (hence why I am applying for that job). What is the professional way to communicate this fact?

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    if you're sending cover letters along with your cv you could put emphasis on how interesting you find software engineering and try get across that it's what you want to be doing. this could stop it all together if employers see how motivated / interested you are towards the role you are applying for. – RyanIG Sep 7 '16 at 17:27
  • I agree with RyanIG - a statement like "while I have considerable experience in analytics, I am looking to focus on software engineering and further increase my not-inconsiderable experience there" - also, you need to make sure that your resume/CV focuses on software engineering experience and skills, and simply brush over the analytics. – HorusKol Sep 7 '16 at 22:28
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When people suggest that you are better fit for a different position, they are generally saying one of two things:

  • I have a job that is harder to fill and you are qualified for it and may not be aware there is an opening.
  • I don't think you are as strong a candidate as other people I have interviewed and are not likely to get this position but I like the way you think and There is something else you could have a greater chance of being the top candidate for.

While the polite response, of "Thank you for considering that but I am currently only interested in engineering positions." will be acceptable to reasonable hiring officials, you are not likely to get the job if you are in the second group.

It's still the best thing you can do in the interview or pre-interview stage when faced with the suggestion.

Another tactic is to tell them that you are interested in moving to engineering, but would be willing to consider the other job to get your foot in the door if there was a specific plan for how you could make the transition in six months or so. This might be the most effective if you are truly a much stronger candidate for the position you don't want and are not likely to get offered what you want immediately anywhere.

What you also need to do is think if there is some way to improve your chances of being the top candidate for the position you want rather than the top candidate for the position you don't want. Maybe you need to stick with your current position for longer or get additional qualifications or education. Maybe you need to do a better job of demonstrating that you have what they want for the position you want. Maybe you need to weed out the things you don't want to do from your resume.

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    I kind of cringe at the idea of taking a job in a field you don't want with the promise of moving to a field of your interest. There are dozens of questions on here about taking an IT job because the employer said that there would be development work that went with it then getting no experience in their desired field. – Myles Sep 7 '16 at 17:58
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    It is also effective if you really aren't qualified for the job you want. If it is the only way to get your foot in the door, you take it. I used this as a way to transition to SQL Server database work. It can work, it is not for everyone though. I threw it out as a possibility. – HLGEM Sep 7 '16 at 18:12
  • I like this answer save for the same issue @Myles has with it. Yes it can work to move from what you don't want in a company into something that you do, but I don't think it's as easy to go from one discipline to a completely different one. Also, how many years are you willing to 'hang in there' doing something you don't enjoy on a hope that they will follow through with your requests? – Ethan The Brave Sep 7 '16 at 18:51
  • Thanks, this helps me too. I got recently asked this in an interview, and I politely replied that I would not have applied to the more technical position they mentioned if I had seen the vacancy, because I'm more interested in staying in management. I will definitely make sure to hold back about my technical skills in future interviews. In retrospect, I focused too much on my technical achievements. And no, I didn't get the job I wanted. – daraos Sep 7 '16 at 19:34

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