Looking for a new job-Tips, please

msmagooMarch 25, 2007

After a couple of years of being unhappy at my job, I've decided to try to find something else. The thing is I've been at my current job for almost 20 yrs, have been promoted over the years and have been mostly satisfied, although the stress level has always been on the high side. New management took over about 6 years ago, slowly it has become extremely high stress, staff cutbacks, moral has deteriorated, it's progressively getting worse. There are 4 employees that are taking early retirement. Although I need to work at this point(kid in college), I've almost quit several times and I feel like I've put my life on hold (want to remodel out 80's house, but don't want to incur any more debt, for fear of "walking out" of my current job). At 43, no degree but tons of experience in business field I hate(& am also scared) to change, but DH says if it's not getting better, it's affecting my family life and health it's time to cut my losses and go for it.

Sorry for the length of this, I guess my question is when interviewing & asked why I am changing at this point, after 20 years, what do I say without being negative about my current employer? Any tips on resume, interviewing will be appreciated.

Also, if anyone else has been through something like this, I hope I don't sound crazy but, this has been a tough decision for me and at times I've really felt "beaten down" because of this situation.

Thanks to everyone.

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I'd look for a new career that utilizes your experience and the parts of your job that you like, and eliminates or greatly reduces the parts that you hate.

Lots of people change careers in midlife, and look on it as a sign of progress, growth and change. It can be revitalizing and energizing, and that's how I'd present it in interviews -- an opportunity for growth and to learn something new.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 1:58PM
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when interviewing & asked why I am changing at this point, after 20 years, what do I say without being negative about my current employer? Any tips on resume, interviewing will be appreciated.

I'd be straight forward and tell them straight. That way, there's no surprises later. They know where you stand and vice versa. I mean, you're not leaving a job you've had for 20 years because all is hunky dory!!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 4:58PM
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My job is as a Director of Human Resources, so I can give you some perspective from a professional point of view. In addition to that, I can relate on a personal level. I am 44, been in the same field for over 20 years, same job for 14. A year ago, I was going through the same thing as you so I decided to go back to school to get my masters in an unrelated field, but one that I thought I would enjoy. I've been taking night classes and working during the day. A few weeks ago I got a promotion at work that is taking me in a completely different career path. Life is funny... The important thing to remember is that you have options (even though sometimes it may not feel that way) I think your husband is right, you need to do something else- we only have one life- yet, from a practical perspective, plan your next step before you leave this job-just so you have the income. Re: cover letters and interviews, just say "I've been in my current field/employer for 20 years (a prospective employer will appreciate the consistency), but I find myself needing more of a challenge at this point" If it is a different field, there is nothing wrong with saying "After 20 years of working in the same field/employer, I finally decided what to do when I grow up." You should then make great eye contact and smile at the interviewer. Chances are, they will relate on some level or at least appreciate the humor. Take an inventory of your skills and abilities and think about what jobs you can apply them to. Many colleges have career counseling centers that you can use for free. here is always that standby book "What color is your parachute?" Don't let the lack of degree impact your confidence. Nothing can replace life experience. Good luck, be open to all possibilities, network, have a positive attitude, and start the search. Again, life is too short not to.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 5:02PM
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I left a company after ten years - it became unbearable a few years after the company was acquired. I was honest about why I left. The leadershp of the company had changed in such a way that my business values were out of sync with how things had changed - loss of focus on customer satisfaction, employee retention, etc. I figured it would be pretty hard for any company that was the kind of place I wanted to work to argue with that.

I agree - you can overcome the lack of a degree - as long as you can get past the resume screening process. There are plenty of idiots out there interviewing for jobs who have all kinds of degrees. I hire a lot of people and I like to see a degree especially in younger people - to me it's usually an indication they can persevere and get through some things they don't like. I'm leary of people who drop out short of a degree - indicates the opposite to me. For someone like you, you certainly have persevered.

The thing I'm concerned about with people who have worked for one company for a long time is how well they will be able to change and adapt to a new company. I also tend to think people who stay in one place a long time are risk averse - afraid to try something they're not "comfortable" with. You may want to be prepared to provide specific examples that show you are NOT this way - should it come up.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 5:37PM
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I started my second career (full-time anyway) about 10 years ago, at age 35. After 10 years at a stressful, fresh-out-of-college, climbing-the-corporate-ladder job, I decided to take some evening classes for fun, and to explore the job I'd dreamed of doing since I was a kid.

Then, I worked part-time (evenings and weekends) in the new *fun* field until I scored a full-time gig that paid enough to allow me to give up the old job.

I'll admit that working two jobs got old after a while, no matter how much I enjoyed those part-time positions. But, like you, I wasn't in a financial position to walk away from the old job.

Good luck. Keep us posted on the job search.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 4:14AM
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I think your husband is absolutely right; you need to leave this job if it is harming you and your family life. I think the other posters have given you lots of good advice. One other thought -- if you have acquired any skills doing volunteer work -- be it fundraising, marketing, webdesign or whatever -- include those skills on your resume. Listing such skills provides a more complete picture of you, and you never know when something on your resume will strike a chord with the folks doing the hiring.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 11:09PM
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Depending on the change, I would try to emphasize that you are applying the skills you have from 20 years of experience, in a different industry - not that you are changing careers.
Best of luck!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 1:54PM
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I think you have received great advice from lots of people. i just want to give you encouragement.

I left a job Iwas at for 19 years 7 years ago at age 49. I heard my 13yr old daughter say to her friend on the phone "My mom hates her job" I also had a 19 yr old in college I was telling her she could do anything!

I took a hard look and took a job that was a big stretch as far as learning curve. It was hard for a year but it was the best thing I have ever done!! It made me feel so powerful! Of course that was after the insecure scared inadequate feelings.

Two years ago I changed again and it was a peice of cake. I now feel like I can do anything if I set my mind to. Now that is the very opposite of how I felt at my secure 19 yr job.

I am now at a dream job that I am sure I will do until I retire. I still cant believe I took the leap.

The hardest things we do in our life is usually one of the best!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 1:57PM
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Thanks to all of you for your encouragement...I'm working on a resume..how long should it be 1 page or 2, as far as the work related seminars, week-long schools, employee of the year, type things how much of that kind of stuff do I list. I swear I am soooo rusty at this & I'm a terrible interviewee, I get so nervous!!!
Thanks to all!!!!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 2:33PM
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I think it's okay to have two pages if you have enough substance that you need two. One page is fine too. I usually decide how much of that other stuff to put on a resume based on how much space I have left to fill up. Ongoing training and education is an important indicator that you're into continuously learning new things. I'm usually less impressed with company rewards and recognition since you never know what the criteria are for those - unless it's related to attainment of sales quota or something like that.

Sometimes it can be helpful to get a few interviews under your belt for jobs you're not particularly interested in - just to get the practice on something that doesn't really matter.

Good-luck - this is exciting!!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 6:49PM
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A suggestion for the resume. Instead of just listing your job responsibilities, also itemize a few solid accomplishments that contributed to the success of your department/organization/sales, etc.

For example, this is from my resume:

- Drove promotional campaigns that achieved record total leads (10X increase over one year) and record qualified leads, resulting in rapid expansion of sales force and record product sales.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 12:12AM
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