What Type of "Job" Could I Transition To?

I've been mystery shopping for five years and want to switch to full-time regular employment because of financial necessity. I have to find something other than retail or food service because I've got foot issues and can't stand for extended periods. I've looked at a lot of job ads and don't see any that call for the skills that this mystery shopper has developed. Any suggestions?

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Those are good ideas. You could look for jobs such as in-house claims adjuster or underwriter. Some companies will train and most want you to have some sort of degree. What other skills do you have or can you get? smiling smiley

The first step on the way to victory is to recognize the enemy. - Corrie Ten Boom
You may have to relocate. Is that possible for you to manage? You may have to accept an "entry level" job.

Assess your skills -- you have computer skills, or you couldn't submit reports. You have some writing skills, again, honed by reporting for five years. People who can write a paragraph that actually makes sense are in high demand. You definitely have an understanding of customer service.

If you're female (no clues in your post), have you even considered sales jobs? Sales jobs in male dominated industries pay well -- think cars, computers, tech.

Even editing or scheduling for MSCs.
I received the most helpful advice for how to tailor my resume from a temp agency rep. She got me a data entry job at a big insurance agency that would’ve been a great place to move into as a regular employee. They offered additional training and some catered lunches even for temps. So don’t discount entry level.

This is why I think it’s good to look at the kind of company you want to work for and then make a resume for the entry level jobs they have open. This could be in any field, but insurance, banking, medical groups, and universities tend to be solid areas. Also apply for every local government job.

Even if you can’t walk for long, you could probably work the Census. Take a folding chair for interviews. It’s a good transition job with good pay and you make the hours. Just don’t tell them about a disability upfront unless these accommodations do not work for you.

Your resume doesn’t have to include everything. I have had people tell me that my advice is to lie. It’s not. You need to edit to give the most relevant information. If you’re not going for a senior position, a lot of things don’t matter. Respond to the description in the job posting.

A lot of applicants don’t submit cover letters. That can also set you apart if you follow a simple format. I think 1st paragraph is how you learned about the job and a reason why it caught your interest, 2nd is your relevant experience, and 3rd is connecting 1st and 2nd.

For all of this, less is more. Make it easy for the hiring manager. And take interviews for jobs you don’t want. Those are practice. And apply for jobs you want but think you won’t get. Also practice but sometimes you get lucky.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/2020 07:59PM by 1cent.
Oh, and when you do score the interview? Send a thank-you note after!

I'm not kidding. It seems old fashioned, for sure, and silly to many.

But it still works.
Thank you all for the thoughtful responses. I'm especially intrigued by the claims adjustor and underwriter suggestion as I did a teeny bit of research and see potential. I hold a BA in English and am pretty experienced with MS Office and G-Suite. I also have experience editing mystery shops and am quick at it, but the pay is low and the work piecemeal. I wouldn't consider sales because it's just not my personality at all, unfortunately. 1 cent, I actually never considered what kind of company I'd like to work at, so it's time for me to do some reflecting.
I am told, but have not looked into it myself, that there are online tutoring jobs. With your degree in English you have skills and expertise that would work well with some of those jobs. Many people want to learn English. Pay is decent from what i hear. You would not be full time or get benefits probably but you could use that as a transition while you are looking for and finding a permanent position.
I have looked at a couple of thousand resumes, interviewed hundreds of applicants, and hired dozens and dozens. Your advice is outstanding, every bit of it.

@1cent wrote:

I received the most helpful advice for how to tailor my resume from a temp agency rep. She got me a data entry job at a big insurance agency that would’ve been a great place to move into as a regular employee. They offered additional training and some catered lunches even for temps. So don’t discount entry level.

This is why I think it’s good to look at the kind of company you want to work for and then make a resume for the entry level jobs they have open. This could be in any field, but insurance, banking, medical groups, and universities tend to be solid areas. Also apply for every local government job.

Even if you can’t walk for long, you could probably work the Census. Take a folding chair for interviews. It’s a good transition job with good pay and you make the hours. Just don’t tell them about a disability upfront unless these accommodations do not work for you.

Your resume doesn’t have to include everything. I have had people tell me that my advice is to lie. It’s not. You need to edit to give the most relevant information. If you’re not going for a senior position, a lot of things don’t matter. Respond to the description in the job posting.

A lot of applicants don’t submit cover letters. That can also set you apart if you follow a simple format. I think 1st paragraph is how you learned about the job and a reason why it caught your interest, 2nd is your relevant experience, and 3rd is connecting 1st and 2nd.

For all of this, less is more. Make it easy for the hiring manager. And take interviews for jobs you don’t want. Those are practice. And apply for jobs you want but think you won’t get. Also practice but sometimes you get lucky.
Since you have a degree in English, you could also consider working from home as a teacher of English to Chinese children via the computer with a webcam. This is a very legit job! The only thing is, depending on where you live, in order to teach Chinese children English, you might need to be able to be up and at your computer anywhere from midnight to 6 am your time to accommodate the children in China. But if you're interested, you can Google it and learn more.
LOL, NM. Same advice was given above,

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2020 01:37PM by callinectes.
Building on a general suggestion above,: What about enrollment specialist or instructor for an online education company? A well-known MSC has a shop for us to call an education provider, pretend to have a kid who might benefit from at-home education, speak to an enrollment specialist, and report our findings. The shop is a phone shop, and we have the option to follow along and view the website while the specialist describes its features to us.

The first step on the way to victory is to recognize the enemy. - Corrie Ten Boom
@WONDER wrote:

Thank you all for the thoughtful responses. I'm especially intrigued by the claims adjustor and underwriter suggestion as I did a teeny bit of research and see potential.
A church friend of mine was a claims adjustor. She also had a BA in English.

Being observant - which a mystery shopper must be - is very important to that job. If you notice discrepancies or oddities in the testimony of people filing claims reports, then that can be very valuable to an insurance company. My friend was great at that part. She constantly saw "holes" in people's cases.

However, due to cost-benefit analysis, often her big insurer (I won't name them, but they are one of the Top 3 biggest) would "let the person defraud" them. It would cost more to go to court to fight the case than pay someone ~$10,000 or less (over a decade ago, so today may be a different amount). The time, lawyer costs, research costs, etc. wasn't worth it. - not to mention they might actually lose in some instances. They typically had stacks and stacks of files/cases to go through and spending so much time on a "small" case would cost them more than paying. So, if you got into an accident and had a shaky case (although, not totally implausible) and refused that insurer's offer (if there was one) and threatened to go to court, her boss told her it'd be better to pay the sub-$10,000 claim - even knowing there was a high probability of the insurer being defrauded. HOWEVER, her boss told her she could focus those same efforts and use those same skills on the bigger cases: $45,000, $100,000...$1M...etc. That's how they could protect the insurer.

Observational skills and critical thinking are very important for that job.

@ wrote:

I hold a BA in English and am pretty experienced with MS Office and G-Suite. I also have experience editing mystery shops and am quick at it, but the pay is low and the work piecemeal. I wouldn't consider sales because it's just not my personality at all, unfortunately. 1 cent, I actually never considered what kind of company I'd like to work at, so it's time for me to do some reflecting.

Other jobs (besides insurance claims adjustor):

2.) Technical Writing - pay is usually quite good from what I've heard of fellow English majors/minors
3.) Editor - self-explanatory
4.) Paralegal - a friend with an English BA did this...said she was always yelled at by her suprioers and didn't like it LOL
5.) Teacher - cliche, but it's not hard to get a job. You don't even need a Master's in many places. But, becareful, b/c often the alternative credentialing districts are also hard to teach in.

The same goes with substituting. Practically anyone can substitute teach who has around 2-years worth of college courses in many states (no degree of any sort even needed). Pay is around $100/day. But, like alternative credentialing, you could find yourself in a very difficult school environment with kids who are violent, direspectful, and the like. This isn't always true, but something to be prepared for, as I've seen it happen many times to well-meaning people. They radically changed their views of teaching afterwards and wanted out ASAP (at least to a better district or school). The job was stressful and even dangerous (with students attacking staff).

6.) Teach English Overseas - pay is low, but it can be a good resume builder for something later in life and give you a chance to explore a foreign country. My college dormmate dis this in Japan and loved it.
7.) Journalism - research and write articles for a newspaper - online or otherwise.

I believe there are a lot of contract writer jobs.
8.) School administration - such as admissions officer (friend with English degree does this), university financial aid office (no financial literacy needed, as a friend does this and has no experience...she has a history and chemistry double-major), new student tour guide, etc.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2020 08:58PM by shoptastic.
Apply to a major university, or academic hospital, or even science, or tech companies as secretary, office coordinator, etc. You have a BA and it is basic what you do at some of the places. Especially large hospitals they have a lot of young grads who move out every 1-2 years from these entry jobs so they are always looking for people.
@KateH wrote:

Apply to a major university, or academic hospital, or even science, or tech companies as secretary, office coordinator, etc. You have a BA and it is basic what you do at some of the places. Especially large hospitals they have a lot of young grads who move out every 1-2 years from these entry jobs so they are always looking for people.

Agree. If one is looking for a job out of necessity, then the "hottest" job market areas rigth now are healthcare and education (the two most stable usually as well). Other areas may be contracting, but these are stable.

Usually plenty of jobs.

Lots of administrative jobs where you can have any degree practically. They are decent entry level jobs with full health insurance and a chance to move up within the system.

If you cannot move to another area easily, maybe a long-term "play" is to volunteer at your local hospital. That's a good way to get your foot in the door into a potential job there later. When openings arise (as they always do), hiring someone who has worked there already, has a good reputation, and experience with some of the work is helpful.

I saw this first-hand when I volunteered at my local area hospital (I worked E.R. front desk - in addition to other aras).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2020 11:41PM by shoptastic.
OP
You have gotten some great advice here. If you truly want to move away from mystery shopping than go that way.

I am just wondering have you tried to do mystery shopping full time. If so are there not enough jobs in your area. Can you travel outside your area and do day trips or even a overnight as route shopping. There are profits to be made as a full time shopper but it is work. These are things you must decide yourself but there our full time shoppers on here who make a good living myself included. I have never done video either.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Shopping Western NY, Northeast and Central PA, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia. Have car will travel anywhere if the monies right.
There are all kinds of factors we don't know anything about: availability of shops in the OPs area, competition, whether or not they have difficulty driving (for a myriad of possible reasons), and more. They obviously have their reasons for not wanting to shop any longer.
Many large hospitals have their own in house temp jobs. They hire people and then sent them for a week or more in different departments as secretary, administrator, when someone goes on vacation, or is on maternity leave, or need extra people due to lack of adequate permanent staff, someone quit abruptly, etc.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

There are all kinds of factors we don't know anything about: availability of shops in the OPs area, competition, whether or not they have difficulty driving (for a myriad of possible reasons), and more. They obviously have their reasons for not wanting to shop any longer.

Also OP said this:

I've got foot issues and can't stand for extended periods

So, getting in and out of a car numerous times a day, walking for long distances, etc might not be a possibility.

I shopped LAX and have a FitBit. I would easily do 5 miles of walking in a day.
Yes, I read that part. But lots of people who can't stand for long periods do still manage to mystery shop. Ceasemith, shop-et-al, and a few other regular forum members have issues with standing but manage to pull of shopping. I remember when I broke my second toe about a decade ago. Thank goodness it was my left foot not my right. I still whined a lot and it did limit my mystery shopping for a few weeks (because I am a big baby).

How's your foot, SCM? You feeling pretty good now?
@JASFLALMT wrote:

Yes, I read that part. But lots of people who can't stand for long periods do still manage to mystery shop. Ceasemith, shop-et-al, and a few other regular forum members have issues with standing but manage to pull of shopping. I remember when I broke my second toe about a decade ago. Thank goodness it was my left foot not my right. I still whined a lot and it did limit my mystery shopping for a few weeks (because I am a big baby).

Part-time maybe, but I know of nobody who has major issues that shops full-time as their only income. (Thinking of minimum $36,000 a year, but that would not cut-in in CA.)

@JASFLALMT wrote:

How's your foot, SCM? You feeling pretty good now?

Not feeling much of anything. It's immobile still for another month. We'll see how much pain I have once I can walk again.
@WONDER wrote:

1 cent, I actually never considered what kind of company I'd like to work at, so it's time for me to do some reflecting.

I don’t even mean industry, but just the quality of the company and the opportunities they provide. There are still places where you can move up from the mail room. I think others have shown that you have a lot to offer and should qualify for a mid-level position. Just don’t feel discouraged if you have to temp for a while or whatever. You’ll be networking from your first interview.
Now that so many knowledgeable people have chimed in, I wonder if anyone can recommend paths more directly related to mystery shopping. I feel pretty good going full time for now but I also feel the urge to firm up my skills and branch out.
Thank you all for the advice. I will print some specifics and tape them next to my computer. The list of reasons I'm not pursuing mystery shops is a bit long and I'd rather not get into it here. I've been a long-time lurker, and you all have been wonderful, so I'm grateful I reached out to this community.
PS While I hold a BA, I'm not fresh out of college. I'm in my 50s.
@WONDER wrote:

Thank you all for the advice. I will print some specifics and tape them next to my computer. The list of reasons I'm not pursuing mystery shops is a bit long and I'd rather not get into it here. I've been a long-time lurker, and you all have been wonderful, so I'm grateful I reached out to this community.
PS While I hold a BA, I'm not fresh out of college. I'm in my 50s.

It does not matter that you are not fresh out of college. There are thousands of people, especially women, who have been out of the job market due to raising kids and have limited "official"work experience. It is important that you have the BA as some employers, or the HR software they utilize to scan through resumes, can not see past this requirement.
@KateH wrote:

@WONDER wrote:

PS While I hold a BA, I'm not fresh out of college. I'm in my 50s.
It does not matter that you are not fresh out of college. There are thousands of people, especially women, who have been out of the job market due to raising kids and have limited "official"work experience. It is important that you have the BA as some employers, or the HR software they utilize to scan through resumes, can not see past this requirement.

Age/life experience can also be a benefit for teaching.

If you have lived through various life phases and can utilize that to impart valuable life lessons to students, then that is something one might have over a newly graduated 20-something teaching applicant. I have never heard of age being an issue in teaching.

In general, the labor market is very tight right now, so there is worker shortage and workers have good bargaining power.

At minimum, one can substitute teach any time (recession or booming economy), but there are also some districts/schools that would not require a traditional teaching credential. But, that's only if you're interested. smiling smiley Teaching isn't for everyone.

Agree with KateH on resume "key words"/search terms. Something to watch out for. So many companies these days use software to do their "first-run" scans of resumes to save time/money and the algorithms have what are known as "key words" (a technical term) that are used to screen out certain candidates.

If you DON'T have a key word on your resume for a particular type of job opening, then even if you're a perfect candidate, your resume may never make it to a human eye. Be sure to research which key words are popular for which jobs and have them on your resume for that particular application.

Good luck, OP!

(p.s. And, as noted earlier, volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door for hospital jobs, while substituting is a good way to also get your foot in for a later long-term teaching job if you're interested in either and don't find something immediately.)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/15/2020 05:53PM by shoptastic.
I wanted to chime in on health care. I retired from my job in a large medical center a couple of years ago. When I started working there virtually no assistants (they were called secretaries at the time) had a college degree but over the years things changed and the role of the secretary became quite expanded from taking and typing notes and making coffee. Now, even tho officially those jobs do not require a college degree I have seen virtually every outsider hired into those jobs having a college degree. But the other thing that is important these days for most any office job is computer skills. I am sure as a mystery shopper you have experience with computers but look at the holes you might have. Make sure you know word, powerpoint and excel or their counterparts with other names. If not, I would recommend brushing up and taking a course at your local library or junior college or where ever they give them or even practice with online courses. These are considered basic skills these days for many jobs so being able to say you have knowledge and experience is important.
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