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A total career change: Silvia’s case study

The scene

Silvia (not her real name) owned a lucrative and busy import/export business for 13 years. At age 40, she took advantage of the market and sold her business. Over the next 2 years, Silvia took time out and moved to Canberra.

After her career break, Silvia wanted to re-enter the workforce, but with a total career change. She had her heart set on working in a small professional services company, in a senior executive role. Despite her passion, Silvia was worried she wouldn’t succeed because she had no direct professional corporate experience.

Silvia found face2face on LinkedIn and reached out knowing she didn’t have a network in the capital.

During her initial appointment with face2face’s Talent Manager, Silvia expressed concerns about winning her dream job. She knew she had great skills, but her career path was unique and her resume didn’t reflect the language the corporate world used.

How we helped

face2face’s Talent Manager read through Silvia’s resume before her appointment and formed ideas on transferable skills. Based on Silvia’s experience as a business owner, face2face knew she could cross over to a professional corporate environment.

To make this happen, the Talent Manager and an assigned senior recruiter worked with Silvia to couch the skills in her resume to ‘corporate speak’. We achieved this by working through several senior private sector job descriptions and relating them back to Silvia’s experience. We also helped Silvia emphasise the well-developed soft skills she had that would be valued in the corporate world, including the ability to analyse, solve problems, apply sound judgement, manage stakeholders and communicate with influence.

face2face reverse marketed Silvia to a professional services company with a team of 35 that was growing. We had been finding talent for this company for over 7 years, sending them candidates we believed fitted their culture, had a great attitude and were business savvy. The company was looking for candidates that would fit their vision and mission, believing that processes could easily be taught.

At the same time, we put Silvia forward for a not-for-profit wanting a detailed, experienced Client Relationships Manager.

face2face also worked with Silvia to make her resume scannable. Our research shows that 5 out of 6 employers spend approximately 35 seconds scanning a resume to decide whether to interview a candidate. Making resumes eye catching and scannable is therefore key.

When working with Silvia on her resume, we incorporated skills she had developed when running her own business knowing these transferable skills would suit the new career she wanted. This included:

  • problem solving
  • budget management
  • project management
  • leadership qualities
  • high-level communications
  • working with a team to achieve financial targets
  • stakeholder engagement
  • resource management
  • interpersonal skills.

face2face also worked with Silvia to create a great LinkedIn presence and coached her on how to respond to behavioural questions during interviews (very similar to the government’s STARR methodology).

We also directed Silvia to expert article on how to prepare for an interview:

The result

Within a few weeks, Silvia had two job offers on two consecutive days—a Corporate Services Manager role from the professional services company and a Client Relationships Manager role from the not-for-profit.

face2face met with Silvia to discuss each role. As the professional services company consulted to government, which would provide a wealth of knowledge and experience, Silvia decided this was the position for her. face2face helped Silvia with salary negotiations and salary packaging options. We also read through her letter of offer and contract to make sure it was all correct.

Lessons learned

Silvia learned to think laterally and creatively about skills candidates can transfer from one sector to another. She now understands there’s no limit to possibilities when looking for a new career.

face2face demonstrated to Silvia the importance of considering both hard and soft skills when developing a resume and thinking about interview questions and cultural fit.

Silvia also learned the value of thinking through options with the support of a recruitment agency, as opposed to accepting the first offer. In her case, this meant earning an extra $20,000 a year, enjoying added perks and working far fewer hours required than when she ran her own business.

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Whether it’s your first job, a new job, a career change, a promotion or re-entering the workforce after a break, we’re here. face2face will help you create a winning resume, boost your interview skills, and support you to find your perfect position.

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