Ask MCG: Interviewing for a Different Career Path

Moving to an unrelated career track? Scared to make the switch that you’ve been wanting to do because you’re scared you won’t make the cut? Here’s one reader who seeks help on the same problem and our advice.

From time to time, we get readers asking for career advice.  The gorgeous Ashley (really, look at her, she is gorgeous.) reached out to us via twitter (@mscareergirl), and she was nice enough to let us share our advice to anyone who is going through the same reluctance that she is facing. Read her story below:

Hello! 🙂

This is Ashley, from Twitter, who had reached out in a DM about some guidance in my job hunting woes. Just a quick background, I’m 28, and was laid off from MFG technician job after working there for 9 years. Never in my life did I want to work in that field, but things just happened. My true passion is doing receptionist/administrative assistant work and so I can’t help but feel a bit self-confident about switching careers and going into an interview confident. I worked on my administrative skills to boost my resume by playing a back up role as a receptionist at my last job and have done some volunteer work.

I do have an interview for a job I deeply want coming up, but I feel I also fail when it comes to interviews. I’m obviously too nervous and struggle with it!

ANY tips would help!

Thanks 🙂


I felt like in order to give her the best advice, I should consult my fellow Ms Career Girl mentors. With no hesitation, Kristina Mahar, one of our awesome career mentors and an experienced HR manager, offered some great advice. Kristina currently works in Connecticut at GE Capital supporting a team of IT CIOs. Prior to her role at GE Capital, Kristina has worked at an international hedge fund, a technology center of excellence, and as a writer. Although new to the world of blogging, Kristina has been writing since the moment she could hold a pen. (You can follow Kristina and learn more about her on Twitter @KristinaMahar.)


I love it when women support other women by sharing their knowledge and expertise! Read her advice below.

Dear Ashley,


Administrative Assistants are in charge of overseeing the operations of a workplace – whether it be setting up meeting rooms and ordering catering, sending out important emails, or arranging complex international meetings. It can be challenging, but it is very rewarding on a day to day basis.
Some things to help you prepare for the interview:
– Be familiar with the Microsoft Office suite, especially Outlook. Most of your email communication will probably come through Outlook, as well as any calendars you might manage. You’re going to want to know how to book meetings quickly and effectively! If you are familiar with these programs, highlight them in your interview and resume. 
Ask plenty of questions. Who will you be supporting? Is there a team you will be supporting additionally? Will you need to be available 24/7? What is a typical day like? What processes will you be responsible for – such as travel expense reporting, file management, etc. I would also ask about your day to day responsibilities and what will be expected of you. Be prepared with your questions as it shows you are interested and engaged in this position.
– Do your research on the company. You will want to know a general background of the company and how they gain capital. It’s always good to have a general background of the company.
– Be sure to collect business cards during the interview! You will want contact information to send brief thank you notes to the people who were interviewing you.
Above all, keep your calm! Stay engaged and focused, answer their questions to the best of your ability, and highlight what an asset you would potentially be to their team.
Wishing you all the best!
When you’re moving from one career path to another, it can get quite nerve-racking. The key thing to remember, to sum up what Kristina advised Ashley, is to be prepared and confident. An interview for a whole new career path should be treated as you would any other interview. Highlight the skills and experience that best fits the job that you want, know your goals and reasons for wanting to get the job, and above all, bring confidence to the table!

I hope you get that job, Ashley! Taking that leap is a brave step, but I’m sure it would be extremely rewarding.

We love hearing from our readers! Please do keep them coming.  Email me at and we’ll get that question answered for you!

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.