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Seeking Midlife Career Change to HR

by Lynn
(Miami, FL)

Most sites do not address human service based professionals (social workers) like me regarding resumes. Here are my questions:

  1. Can you suggest a resume format for me?

  2. HR requests college transcripts to see the year graduated. How can I disguise that?

  3. Some sites suggest that job seekers should not go to the job site to drop off resumes. What to do?

  4. I want to transition into HR- is this realistic at mid-career? There's a specific position at a local newspaper that would be an excellent fit.

Any ideas?

Its clear from your tone and style that you have a good heart. I enjoy your style- clear,concise and practical. Thanks.


Mike Petras comments:

Hello Lynn-

Thanks for your email. Here are my thoughts on your questions:

1. Resume format for social workers - I don't have any first hand experience with this. I believe my outline of a resume can be adapted to your profession. Here is the actual sample resume, and here is the same sample resume with my notes to explain the logic of my resume format.

If you don't think my free resume example will work for you, here is a professional resume writing service that may be able to help you.

2. College transcripts - Very few companies request college transcripts anymore. So, I wouldn't worry too much about this. If this is part of the vetting process used by a company, you don't have a choice but to go along with it. In my experience, the few companies that require college transcripts as a condition of employment are very large multinational corporations. Most of them are pretty good about work place diversity and won't age discriminate.

3. Not dropping off resume at job site - If a job posting specifically instructs you not to do something, don't do it. If you ignore their request it could eliminate you as a candidate. Having said that, always try to network to see if you can find a connection to someone who may work at your target company; then ask them to present your resume to the hiring authority. The easiest way to research possible inside contacts is to open a free LinkedIn account. If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, I provide some tips and advice about how job seekers can best use LinkedIn in my newsletter: 3 LinkedIn Secrets.

4. Transitioning to Human Resources from a human service based profession - This may work for you and I would certainly encourage you to apply. Here are the questions they may have about your qualifications. Make sure your resume and cover letter answer these concerns.

  • HR professionals are not social workers and have to do tough things like firing people or issuing reprimands. Can you handle this?

  • Depending on the size and scope of a company, HR professionals may be expected to have experience with union avoidance, union interaction, communication and enforcement of company discrimination policy, sexual harassment issues, interviewing, creating written job descriptions, recruiting, benefit program administration, and maintaining written files on employees. Do you have experience in some of these areas?

  • HR professionals are usually swamped with lots of projects, interviews, documentation, and training. Are you good at multitasking? Can you survive and thrive in a demanding work environment of constant interruptions, tons of emails, and a fair amount of chaos?

I'm not trying to discourage you at all. You might be perfect for an HR role and the local job opening you mentioned. But I want you to know what HR will be thinking when they read your resume. If you convey in your resume and cover letter that you not only meet their minimum job requirements, but like to work in a fast-paced, multitask environment, they will probably invite you in for an interview.

Best of luck with your job search and interview.

Mike Petras

P.S. If you, or someone you care about, has been unemployed for 6 months...or new book could provide you the breakthrough you've been praying for. Click on this link to read the introductory chapter and the table of contents: Why Don't They Call Me?-Job Search Wisdom to Get you Unstuck.

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