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Resume Help/Online Presence for Career Changer

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Question
Dear Expert,

I'm a young person who initially started my college education intending to become an artist. I have a degree in painting, which I enjoy and continue to pursue, but am now taking another direction towards becoming a software developer. I'm going back to school for this, doing quite well, and searching for internships.

The problem I have is that I'm not sure how to handle my online presence. I don't want to stop painting, and I'm sure I'll have a career as a painter during my life, but just in my free time and not full time. But in order to do this, I have to have a portfolio up, and all kinds of info about my work. At first glance, if you type my name into Google it shows images of my paintings and multiple links to portfolios - this is a necessity in order for people to see my work.

But I'm worried that such an overwhelming display of my artistic talent might appear to potential employers as a lack of commitment to being a software developer - and this is far from the truth. Is this something I should even be worried about? Maybe the employer won't even care about this. I am advertising my painting degree on my resume, and stating that I am changing careers, so would it be better to leave them up to show that I actually did something with that degree/those skills?

I'm just not sure how this will be interpreted by the employer, if it's something I should concern myself with, whether I should take down the portfolios, and whether it will be viewed in a positive or a negative light. Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

Thanks much!
-Aaron

Answer
Aaron,

First, congratulations for using your degree and sharing your artistic talents with the world!

I think you shouldn't worry about potential employers seeing your online portfolios so much. I think it speaks volumes of dedication to your craft and that employers will recognize this as a positive attribute. Think of it this way....When you are asked about what you have been doing, your response can speak to your work as an artist versus living with parents and playing video games all day.

Also, in today's economy, professionals change career fields all the time, so I don't think your career move is so uncommon that it would negatively affect your chances.

To further solidify your new career as a software developer, as you uncover internship possibilities, be sure to highlight those skills online as well, say in a separate website and be able to share these highlights with potential employers as well. Use that creative niche to your advantage and I believe you will have no problems soon hearing the words, "You're Hired!" upon graduation.

Claiming nothing but success in all of your career endeavors,

Torski
"America's Top Career Confidence Coach"

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Torski Dobson-Arnold

Expertise

I can answer questions in regards to resume development, career transition, career planning, salary negotiation, the interview process, networking in a job fair/trade show environment, telephone screening and practically answer issue as it relates to career planning. With 10 years of being on the front lines of the applicant and recruitment process as a strategic human resources professional, I have the "insider track" to what sparks the interests of hiring managers to what top ten things you need to avoid when applying for new opportunities.

Experience

10 years in private and public strategic, professional human resources roles. 2 years as a professional resume writer, career coach. Own and operate an elite firm specializing in resume writing and other career services, Your Career Confidence, LLC (www.yourcareerconfidence.com)

Organizations
NAAAHR (National Association of African-Americans in HR) NRWA (National Resume Writers Association) AORCP (Association of Online Resume and Career Professionals) SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management)

Education/Credentials
BA, Marketing Management, Mary Baldwin College, VA MS, Human Resources Management, Troy University, AL PHR certification (awarded in 2006)

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