Career break/too over-qualified.

(19 Posts)
PirateBay Mon 25-Feb-13 16:24:01

Hello all,

I am going to change direction in my career this year, I really need to take some time out and consider all options. I may even go back to study, so this is a big deal for me and my family.

I have been working in a high stress level senior management position, regularly travelling away from home and often working 60 hour weeks; and have built up lots of experience in one particular sector, but I now realise that this isn't for me anymore.

Whilst I am considering all options, I want to take some local work in an office or a shop, nothing too taxing, walk to work etc; allowing me to focus my time and thoughts on research and planning for the next chapter. I can keep things ticking over at home, as long as I can earn around 20k.

I have applied for a few jobs, but am not sure how to approach the CV and covering letter to imply that despite my experience, I really want more of a low key job. I have had 'too over-qualified' feedback, which is fair enough.

Can anyone give me some advice please, on how to tailor my application to suit these types of positions?

Phineyj Mon 25-Feb-13 16:28:18

Try to get a meeting first, so they can see you are friendly & approachable -- your CV will probably be off putting if that's what they see first? I think you do need some kind of story as to why you want to work in that office or shop, even if you have to bend the truth a little. I mean, no-one likes to hear that they're the 'low key option' particularly if they think you'll be off as soon as something better comes up!

Bonsoir Mon 25-Feb-13 16:31:59

An office will probably be more congenial than a shop if you are used to a desk job. I worked with retail companies for a while and the CEOs always complained that middle-aged women left their jobs as shop managers (at which they were very good) for desk jobs which were less tiring and better paid!

MerryMingeWhingesAgain Mon 25-Feb-13 16:32:14

Honestly, an entry level job in an office or a shop is not going to get you a 20k salary. And while you may have transferable skills, you will be less qualified for those positions than someone who has been an apprentice in an office or a Saturday assistant with till experience.

I'm not sure what the answer is - perhaps some voluntary work to update the skills that will help you into a different kind of role? Charities and support organisations need admin people too.

You need a different CV format, not the traditional chronological one but a functional CV (google it). This highlights your skills and experiences rather than your jobs and qualifications. You need to be able to convince employers you're not going to jump ship the minute something better comes along.

Bonsoir Mon 25-Feb-13 16:34:35

Maybe look for a maternity cover in a local office?

PirateBay Mon 25-Feb-13 16:34:57

What you say is all true, I have thought about it from the employers perspective, I used to recruit people in my job.

I think with the shop work it would matter less, we live in an area where there are a lot of retail options, mostly with a high turnover of staff, they are used to having people who are students/temps/seasonal.

I like your idea about getting a meeting, perhaps the CV content would be less interesting if they met me first.

Yakshemash Mon 25-Feb-13 16:41:55

Don't underestimate how stressful low-paid, seemingly 'easy' jobs can be. If you're used to being top-banana, it can be exceedingly stressful to lose your status overnight and go back to being treated like an idiot by people who would have had to doff their caps to you in your previous job.

I'm sure you've thought of this. But these nice little local office/shop jobs can be a lot harder than they look.

And I echo the poster who says you'll be very lucky to get anything like £20k. You might have to start on minimum wage.

Sorry to sound so negative - but I've done the career downshift thing, at a time when the economy was in way better shape than it is now.

chocolatemuffintop Mon 25-Feb-13 21:49:57

Shop jobs around here (South East) are currently paying £6.19 per hour. Admin slightly more at around £7 per hour.

A £20k admin job isn't going to be stress free. Companies are employing fewer and fewer admin people so you'll probably find that you're doing the work of four people and are trying to 'help' a team of forty. Pulled from pillar to post springs to mind and if you are used to calling the shots it could be a shock!

NeverMindOhWell Tue 26-Feb-13 04:39:37

I did this last year (went from bring a company MD to working PT in a shop). When I applied, I went in with my CV, handed it to the manage a d said "I know my CV may look as if I'm over qualified for this role but I would really love to work here as I'm looking for something completely different". Not sure if that's useful but it worked for me!

NeverMindOhWell Tue 26-Feb-13 04:40:21

^^ sorry typing on my phone.

Rockchick1984 Tue 26-Feb-13 10:06:59

Agree re the salary - when I was a retail manager I was earning slightly less than £20k (this was 5 years ago) and it was min 6 days per week, highly target driven, and stressful. A cashier's role paid minimum wage and they were still pressured with targets although obviously not to the same extent!

When I left retail management I was looking for an admin job however I really struggled as I didn't have admin experience and so many applicants did.

jamielondon Tue 26-Feb-13 19:19:58

Piratebay I would certainly agree with all the comments that retail is definitely not a less stressful option these days and as an ex Assistant Manager in a small store I was on just £18k. Yes there are stores that pay more but they will expect the experience to go with it. A better option may be for you to use your current experience and work part-time, then study the rest of the time. Good Luck!

Tubegirl Tue 26-Feb-13 19:27:33

Can you type? If so you could apply to be on panel for transcrption services such as Accuro and work from home. You'd be self employed and have to buy the equipment but it only costs about 180 quid for the kit and software. They like experienced people who understand the language of what they are typing - less likely to make mistakes from ignorance.

Doingthestats Tue 26-Feb-13 20:17:52

I earn 21k a year and work in admin. Here is a list of some my duties

Compile questionnaires and then process all the statistics, presenting reports on these aforementioned statistics that are picked over with a fine tooth comb

Proof read articles

Book travel and arrange meetings between people that work remotely

Organise and assist at conferences that are based in other cities

Liaise with the press

Personally you feel pretty powerless as an assistant

My colleagues on similar salaries are equally stressed particularly as you are constantly being told what to do and have very little influence over your own duties. We are not paid to think we are paid to do.

The entry level jobs where I work are 13k pa.

pixi2 Tue 26-Feb-13 20:21:19

I second the powerless option. Be careful. Can you save money instead to fund some time out? P

bidibidi Wed 27-Feb-13 07:26:02

I find £13-£15k for entry level jobs too.

thesecretmusicteacher Mon 04-Mar-13 22:08:14

Surely it would be better to become a consultant to the kind of company you used to work for.?

fossil971 Mon 04-Mar-13 22:21:36

Could you go for a sideways move in your current company and go down to 2 or 3 days a week? Or as said, consultancy, leave and then freelance back for a few days at a time? Maybe go out of management into a technical role, training, R&D, something less project or deadline driven?

Another thing is to try and get a year's sabbatical and do some voluntary/charity work - that could be in a shop or cafe type job so would get you a bit of experience/contacts but without burning your boats. It makes a better story to explain you are doing a career break.

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