There are several things that can instigate the desire to switch careers. You may fancy a change of pace, wish to take on new and exciting challenges or convert your passion into your profession.
At 50, you’re an employer’s dream as you have plentiful work experience, many marketable skills and intellectual and emotional maturity. However, many people feel hesitant to shift careers once they’re past the big fifty.
Preconceived notions such as individuals over 50 years of age not preferable for jobs by recruiters and unable to keep up with younger candidates who are more tech-savvy, often keep people stuck to their current jobs, even when they are not happy.
Nearly 80% of people who are over 45 years of age consider switching careers but only 6% of them actually go ahead with it.
The truth, however, remains that around 82% of individuals aged 45+, who do make career changes, are successful because employers value baby boomers who possess decades of experience.
Here’s how you can make a smooth switch to a career of your choice:
1. Identify your new path.
A career change at this stage in your life will have a huge impact on your financial commitments, your retirement plan and even your lifestyle. Therefore, take as much time as you need to work out the details of your career shift.
Talk to friends and loved ones or reach out to a career counselor who will be able to give you an unbiased opinion regarding your situation. They will help you view the bigger picture and will also give you the emotional support and encouragement you need to make the change.
When identifying your next career move, it will serve you well to find a profession which will allow you to capitalize on your current skill set. While jobs tend to differ on technical aspects, there are several skills such as time management, professionalism, networking, communication and team work, etc. which are easily transferable between professions. So enlist your skills and try to identify a profession that will allow you to use these skills as your strengths.
2. Consider further training.
Whether you’re aiming for a related profession or have your heart set on a completely new industry, you should first ensure that you fulfill the qualifications and requirements of the field. Based on the nature of your aspired role, you may need to acquire certain certifications, licenses or even a 2-4 year degree to kick start your new career. An in-depth understanding about the qualification and requirements of your preferred field will also help you in assessing whether a career change will be worth the effort and financial capital invested in it.
3. Re-invent yourself in line with your new role.
Acquiring requisite knowledge is just the first step in landing your ideal job, the next step will encompass marketing yourself in line with your new role. Here are a few necessary areas you need to lay emphasis on:
a. Job preparatory material:
You’ll need to compile industry-specific job preparatory material including a cover letter and resume where you state your experience in a way that adds value to your new domain. A functional resume will help you, as it specifies your abilities and skills. Moreover, it will enable you to state the various capacities you have functioned in to show employers the technical expertise you possess.
For example, if you’re a human resource professional aiming for the performing arts, you can highlight the creative aspect of your job role and frequent presentations in front of large audiences to indicate that you are creative and comfortable addressing a large crowd.
You’ll need to put in extra effort to show recruiters that you are up-to- date with latest industry trends, energetic and eager to have new experiences.
b. Digital presence:
You will also need to revamp your digital presence, as a huge percentage of employers now recruit via online platforms. You can develop profiles on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter that will help employers learn more about you.
4. Search vacancies:
Equal opportunity employment act requires companies to post jobs using a variety of channels including newspapers, corporate and recruitment websites as well as social media platforms. Therefore, you need to be in the lookout for vacancy announcements made via these mediums.
Moreover, a strong network of contacts is something that fresh graduates and young professionals do not possess. You can capitalize on your personal and professional contacts, by letting them know that you are open to new job roles and also ask them for advice for securing a job.
A career shift often means a relatively junior position, smaller paycheck and an altered lifestyle, even if for a short while. Therefore, you need to remain flexible and open-minded while considering vacancies and carefully pick a position which will offer you a suitable and secure alternative to your current job.
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