Howard is regional director at Michael Page Hong Kong and oversees a number of disciplines including sales, marketing, digital, procurement & supply chain, retail & sourcing, finance, and HR.
Mature student being back to work after 47
I'm a 47 mature student, just finished my 4 year-study in a master of business, and getting back to work - retailing (my most experience field).
But over 8 months job hunting, I have sent out almost 1000 application letters and emails to all listed retail companies in HK, but only gained a few interviewing chances. Too often, these interviewers just took 5 minutes then jumped to the final question and said "go home" waiting their calls.
Conversely, some took almost 1.5 hours for writing their assigned business proposal tests and spend 1.5 hours oral tests, which seems checking any uncovered things from my CV line by line. Totally exhausted and stunned for these prolonged interviewing and job hunting, so painfully, I haven't get any feedback so far. I understand to wish for change will change nothing, to make the decision to take action right now will change everything! But what actions that I can go and what kind of job that should be more suitable for a mature returned worker - like me! Thanks in advance for your reply.
Howard Chan - Career Doctor
Posted Friday 9th August 2013 11:32:00 PM
Hi Geegoo, It’s important to remember that job hunting can be a challenging and lengthy process and may not always immediately yield results. Whilst a Masters Degree in Business adds clout to your academic credentials and may be attractive within industries such as banking or professional services, it may not necessarily be regarded as essential for clients in the retail sector. For example, for front-line sales roles, relevant and practical work experience and the brands with which the candidate has worked supersedes academic qualifications. This is due to the fact that market trends change frequently and product life cycles are much shorter than before, hence, companies would rather hire candidates with more practical work experience over theoretical knowledge. In terms of your job search, it is better to have a more targeted and defined approach instead of a generic or mass approach. One tip I can give you is to identify the key strengths (technical skills and transferable skills) that you have acquired throughout your career, and choose a career or job type that best matches those strengths. This could be retail sales, visual merchandising, buying, etc. The key here is to choose the strengths that are the most transferable to the prospective employer and to apply for jobs that are aligned with your core competencies. After you have identified the roles that you would like to apply for, make sure that you customise your resume to meet the requirements of the role that are outlined in the job advertisement. This item can be overlooked, but I cannot stress enough the importance of submitting a tailored resume that not only highlights your career history and responsibilities, but also draws attention to your achievements, product and industry knowledge, networks and qualifications. For example, if you are interested in applying for a retail sales role, it would be useful for you to highlight your sales record and the diverse range of categories you have been exposed to. To reach out to the right employers and market your credentials in a more proactive way, I would suggest that you expand the channels you use for job hunting. While it is a good start to submit applications to listed retailers in Hong Kong, it is also ideal to consider other mediums such as job boards, agency websites, classified section of newspapers, social media and networking events. When you are called in for an interview, it is important to acknowledge that the interview process may vary between companies and the length of the meeting may not necessarily dictate how well you performed. An important piece of advice for the first interview with a potential employer is to leave a lasting first impression to ensure that you stand out among other applicants. For example, giving a firm handshake, having a good posture, and maintaining eye contact will set you apart as more confident and engaging. When answering questions, I recommend that you give examples to illustrate your abilities. It’s also a good idea for you to prepare two to three key questions for the interviewer that are related to career development and growth to further show your interest in the company and the role. Finally, don’t forget to follow up with a thank you note to the interviewer to maintain dialogue and leave a positive impression. Best of luck. Howard.
Posted Tuesday 23rd July 2013 12:48:00 AM
Have anyone told you job hunting is like match making in heaven. If you can't find any company suitable as your partner, this calls for plan B - self employ. Too many at this age group is facing mid life crisis where the company they work either went under or stuck in no opportunity for career growth. I am sure you will find many in similar situation. Those well qualified and experienced ones end up as freelancer, insurance agent, realty agent etc. Who cares of the days where you have an elephant title but with a mosquito pay. At the end of the day it is a matter of survival.
Posted Monday 22nd July 2013 05:51:00 PM
What type of positions you're applying for?