Making a midlife career change can be exciting but also a time filled with many changes and adjustments. However, if you are certain you need a change in your professional life and the right opportunity arises, then take the necessary steps to make a change. The following are steps that you can take in order to make a successful career change.
Take a Realistic Evaluation of Your Professional Career
The first step to follow is to realistically evaluate your resume. What have you done in your professional life up to this point? What are your strengths and weaknesses? The Myers & Briggs Foundation offers tests which examine your specific personality type and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Taking such a test will better enable you to ascertain your current career aptitude level. Evaluate all of your skills and seriously consider what type of career change would be the best fit for you. This is also the time for you to consider your financial situation. Do you have enough savings to cover your monthly expenses if you took some time off for educational purposes? Can your financial situation handle it if you need to take a pay cut at your new job? During this first step, always remain honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to ask an objective mentor to step in and give you advice on your resume and professional skills.
- Be realistic in your self-assessment
- Consider your financial situation and make a plan
- Have a friend or mentor evaluate your resume
Develop an Action Plan and Be Sure to Stick to it
After you have evaluated yourself and professional career state, you need to work on developing an action plan. This is the time to start setting your immediate, short-term and long-term goals. Developing an action plan can seem intimidating, but it’s an important part in succeeding in your goals. Career Tests Guide is a valuable online resource for those seeking to make a successful midlife career change. This website offers free career tests, career aptitude tests and career interest surveys for mid-life workers. Another idea is to volunteer a few hours a week at an organization of your choosing where you can intern, or shadow someone in the field you’d like to work in. This way you’ll have the opportunity to learn new skills and add more experience to your resume. After doing your internship or pro bono work, you’ll be better able to ascertain if this new field is something you truly want to get in to.
- Write out your immediate, short-term and long-term goals
- Take a career aptitude test and online survey
- Volunteer your time at an appropriate organization
Learn to Paint the Best Professional Picture of Yourself
Workers in their forties and fifties—who are in the job market whether they had been laid off or have decided to make a career change—need to learn how to paint the best professional picture of themselves in their resumes and during interviews. Don’t feel that being considered “over the hill” is necessarily a bad thing. It is true that many employers seek younger workers who have recently graduated college or university. However, this is usually because they’d rather pay less per hour or salary than they’d have to pay to an older, more experienced worker. If you think that your experience as an older worker is a negative thing, that will be translated into your resume and during any interviews. To become successful in your midlife career change, you need to believe in yourself and see your years of experience as a good thing. Learn how to leverage your experience and create the best resume which showcases your professional experience. The best advice is to list your college degrees but you don’t necessarily have to list the dates you were awarded them. Employers only need to see your job history from the previous 15 – 20 years. Be sure to update your resume with the current jargon and terminology as it pertains to your new career field. Midlife Career Change lists some helpful tips on how to update your resume when seeking to enter a new career field.
- Embrace your professional experience and see it as a benefit to future employers
- Learn how to properly update your resume with the correct jargon and terminology
- Research resume building websites to assist you in your updating process
Activate the Action Plan and Follow it Each Day
The final step in your journey is to activate the action plan you created and be diligent to follow through each day. Begin networking on professional social media sites like LinkedIn. Laura Hale shares how to utilize social media sites to find a job. Begin to attend various professional networking meetings and always have business cards ready to hand out. If you cannot afford to have them professionally printed, Vistaprint offers 250 free business cards and you only pay for the shipping. However, the free option requires you to have their logo on the back of your cards. Think outside the box and apply to smaller companies which are more prone to be flexible in their hiring procedures. These companies tend to hire more mature workers with years of experience.
- Activate your action plan and be diligent to follow it each day
- Become a diligent networker both online and at professional meetings
- Think outside the box and apply to smaller companies
In order to make a successful midlife career change, you need to be open to follow certain steps. Remain honest in your evaluation of your professional skillset. Make an action plan and be diligent to follow it. Embrace your professional experience and don’t be afraid to become an active networker.