Using my catering skills and my sales skills

31 March 2003 by
Using my catering skills and my sales skills


I am 46 years old and following my redundancy from a large City institution six years ago as a catering manager, I decided after 22 years in catering to move into sales. I took on a position with a major foodservice company and proved that I could do the job with excellent results. I tried to move up the ladder after almost three years but was unsuccessful. As a result, I moved to a smaller company where I thought I could progress.

Unfortunately, after 18 months the receivers were brought in, making me redundant in November. I am seeking a sales position, as I know this is where my future lies, but am finding it very difficult to find something suitable where I can use my catering skills with my sales skills.

What the expert says

Chris Sheppardson, managing director, Chess Partnership

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It is always very difficult to provide advice about sales positions without actually knowing the person that you are advising, but with your background, you sound like a promising job candidate. It is not easy to find your ideal job, which I assume is running a sales team. I appreciate that you have a lot of experience managing operational teams, but running a sales team is very different, and potential employers will want to see a proven track record in this area. The old adage "people buy people" is true, especially in a market that is in recession or facing a downturn. People will buy from those they trust and believe will deliver great service on their behalf. With your experience, you must have a good network of contacts that would be of interest to potential employers. I suspect you are wondering whether your age is a factor in your lack of success so far. This is Unlikely because an employer's first priority is to employ those who will deliver on a consistent basis. This is a very competitive market and employers cannot afford to be biased against age. However, in the current market there are fewer jobs on offer. The key factors in helping you secure a job will be your network of contacts, your enthusiasm and your combination of skills. I suggest you join a few recruitment agencies so that you can discuss exactly what you want to do and get some advice from consultants. In the meantime, keep looking for jobs on the Internet and in catering magazines.
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