31 Jan Stories of Inspiration: Caroline Mensa Finds a New Career After 50
After many years with the same company, Caroline Mensa was part of a workplace downsizing that left her in a mid-life career transition. On August 16, 2022, she realized that her previous job search method, which included applying for a job she had heard about through someone she knew, would now rely on a fully digital process. She wondered how she would navigate this new search and hiring method.
“Here I was 56 years old, and looking for a new job,” Caroline recalled. “I never thought I’d be in that space again. I had responsibilities and worried about meeting them. The old school way of doing things would not work now. I needed more.”
She decided to take a couple of workshops through the NCWorks Career Center that are offered at no-cost to job seekers in Mecklenburg County. First, she took an online resume class and gained an understanding of the importance of resume structure, keywords, and how to properly submit a resume. “Like other seasoned job searchers, Caroline is intelligent and hard-working, but she was a little intimidated when facing a job search for the first time in many years and learning about technology,” Workshop Facilitator Sheila McKinnon explained. “Resume tracking systems and online searches can feel overwhelming. “
After taking the resume class and a one-on-one in-person interview class, Caroline was more confident, ready to apply for jobs, and eager to put her new resume to the test. While scrolling on social media, she saw a post about a new museum, so immediately emailed her resume. “I wanted to see if there were any openings because, at this point, I had nothing to lose and I wasn’t expecting anything,” Caroline said. “The next day I got an email from HR asking if I could do an interview.”
Caroline was patient while the opening of the museum delayed her interview date, but after her in-person interview, she was hired. Four months to the day of becoming unemployed, she was offered a job with the new Museum of Illusions in Charlotte.
Not only did Caroline secure a job in her field, but she also leveled up in her potential earnings and benefits. She credits Sheila for showing her how to design a better resume and improve her interviewing skills. “I am excited about the job and wanted to email Sheila to let her know about it since I start next week,” Caroline remarked. “What I gained through the classes was helpful, comforting, and even reassuring.”
Sheila believes the most success comes from job seekers ready to learn new ways of doing things. Hands-on NCWorks career workshops, such as the one for utilizing spreadsheets, have shown to give job seekers an edge over the competition while offering them a chance to brush up their resume and gain confidence in key areas of today’s workforce requirements.
“I would say to seasoned job searchers like Caroline, be confident with the knowledge that you have,” Sheila stated. “Know it is valuable, marketable, and unreplaceable. I encourage job seekers to take advantage of the services offered at NCWorks. You never know where it will lead you.”
Charlotte Works empowers job seekers by supporting their employment and training needs. Through our NCWorks Career Center, we provide job seekers with career information, guidance, and access to education or training. To get started, visit our My Career page.