So you have been working in the same industry or maybe even the same company for the last ten to twenty years and you are thinking about a career change. Maybe your line of work is no longer satisfying or life circumstances have changed and you need something more suitable for your lifestyle.
Change is often difficult and for those who are looking for a career change after fifteen or so years more challenges may be present. However, changing careers is not impossible and with the right tools in place change can produce successful results. There are many opportunities for mid-level career professionals and several reasons why an experienced employee adds much needed value. Below are a few tips that may be helpful when changing careers or jobs as a mid career professional.
Networking plays a vital role in changing careers, especially for those who have ten to twenty years in the workforce. Use your professional and personal networks you have acquired over the years. Let everyone know you are searching and do not be afraid to put yourself out there. Attend networking events, chambers, industry associations and support groups.
Take advantage of online networking such as LinkedIn to announce your new career direction and search for others in the field you are considering. Using online tools such as creating a website to showcase your work and qualifications can be valuable. Online discussion forums are helpful to learn more about your interested field and also to connect with other people in similar careers. Once you find these people be sure to follow up with emails, phone calls and even face- to-face meetings. Be prepared to dedicate several hours a day toward networking and do not leave out the most important step which is taking action!
Exploring new opportunities through various means may be your first step in searching for the right job or career. You do not want to quit your job without fully assessing if a new opportunity is going to work for you. Do a “test drive” to see if this new job or career fits in well with your situation. For example, work part-time, volunteer, temp, job shadow, intern, consult, talk to others in the field and research the industry. Seeking out opportunities at your current job may also help bring more insight into a new interest. For example, if you are in sales but are thinking about going into the IT field, you may want to check into some opportunities at your current employer that may be able to provide you with more information about IT.
When creating your resume it is vital to showcase the depth and strength of your experience. Your resume should display a combination of both “hard” and “soft” skills. Outlining key strengths that will demonstrate your ability to overcome new challenges and ability to solve business problems will help highlight your potential. Be sure to emphasize your strongest and most recent career accomplishments signifying why you are unique and what you have to offer. This is especially crucial when standing out against younger more inexperienced professionals.
Now is the time to upgrade your skills or inquire about additional education. After researching your field of interest find out what level of education is required. Are there certifications you can obtain that may help you stand out? Classes you can take at a local community college or online may also help upgrade your skills. Be sure to research the latest developments in your field and take any additional steps to help ensure you are on the cutting edge. Employers are looking for up to date skills especially in more experienced professionals.
Interviewing can be tricky when changing careers especially if you have been out of practice for a while. You may now be interviewed by younger colleagues and feeling defensive when asked certain age related questions or when they are quick to make assumptions. Be sure to discuss your recent accomplishments in both work and non work related experiences. If there were areas where room for improvement was needed talk about what you would have done differently if encountered with the same problem. You have the experience and can view problems from a different perspective than your younger counterparts, be sure to highlight this advantage. Using examples as much as possible is another benefit especially when describing how you can solve business problems and make major contributions for the company.
Allow for a transition period. Switching careers or jobs takes a lot of time, energy and emotional reflection. Be prepared for the ups and downs and get things in place to compensate for the changes. Family changes both financially and emotionally can take a toll so be sure to enlist the support of family members. Keep them updated and check in frequently. Be sure to take care of yourself during this transition. Find ways to relieve stress and allow some time to focus on you.
Erin Suess is a life and career coach and creator of [http://www.lifecoachingdesigns.com] She works with individuals who are seeking to enhance their personal and professional lives through gaining clarity and achieving goals. She also offers MBTI and Strong Interest Inventory testing on her site. If you are ready to live your best life then contact Erin. You can go to her website at: [http://www.lifecoachingdesigns.com]
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