Interview Tips When Starting Your Second Career

June 2017 Print-Friendly Version

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Interviewing for a new job can be an especially anxious process – especially if you’re looking to start a different career or restart your old one after a long absence. In this month’s Wealth Management Insights, we asked Sara Reed, career coach and founder of Moonstone Coaching and Consulting, what advice she gives professionals looking to start over.

What you should know:

  1. If you’re switching careers, be ready to explain how your professional experiences are relevant to a seemingly unrelated role.
    • Plan to talk about clear, relatable accomplishments – be they work-related or from a side project or hobby – that demonstrate why you’re qualified for this new position. The interviewer may have reservations about your qualifications, so make sure you fully connect all the dots on how your skills and background translate to the new role.
    • Make the case that your professional flexibility will be an asset in this new role. Give examples how your ability to be nimble and think “outside the box” led to successes in your career.
    • Have confidence and believe in yourself! If you express doubt in your ability to succeed in this new career, the hiring manager will pick up on it.
  2. If you’re re-entering the workforce after a long absence, expect to be asked about gaps in your résumé.
    • The longer you’ve been away, the more business processes and technology may have changed. Make sure you do your homework on how this role’s responsibilities are met today.
    • Don’t discount the skills you’ve acquired during your absence. For example, a parent rejoining the workforce after taking time off to raise children undoubtedly learned important lessons on logistics, time management and prioritization. Show how your new skills and accomplishments can apply to the new role.
    • A hiring manager may come into the interview with concerns over your readiness and commitment to full-time work. Make it clear how much resuming your career means to you.
  3. Workers considering a major career shift should consider refining their job search approach as well.
    • Networking is the single most important activity you can do, be it at professional networking events or even within your own circle of family and friends. While it’s still worth applying for jobs online, understand that not all positions are posted electronically.
    • Emphasize your exposure to different viewpoints, groups of people and ways of doing things. You can learn the skills on the job – your flexibility and big-picture perspective are your big selling points.
    • Always sell yourself and your experiences in a positive way, and remain open to new possibilities. A negative attitude will only impede your attempts to rekindle your career.

What you should do now:

Whether you’re considering a new career or picking up where your current one left off, mastering the job interview is essential to propelling your career forward. Visit May’s Wealth Strategies seminar, “Interviewing Workshop: Preparing the Right Way,” for more interview advice.