It is Monday morning at 7am and your alarm clock begins to ring as it has day in and day out for the last few years. This morning feels different. The ringing of the clock seems louder than before, almost as if it is trying to tell you something rather than just wake you up. You have been harboring thoughts of a midlife career change for awhile, but the notion of leaving your steady paying job and starting over in a brand new field has proven to be more intimidating than a schoolyard bully sporting a sleeveless leather jacket, a Mohawk, and a tattoo on his arm that simply reads “PAIN” in big bold letters. But do not fear, the way is clear. The bully is merely a figment of your imagination whose legend has grown more frightening over time by way of exaggeration and hearsay. So for those of you looking for a midlife or late life career change, below is some helpful career advice for adults in your position!
You may be thinking that a midlife career change will entail a complete starting over from a knowledge and skills standpoint; that your years of quality experience in another industry will have no bearing on your ability to transition into a new career. In most circumstances, that is simply not the case. For instance, you may have a background in selling cars. Over the years you have fine-tuned your two-step, your dip and your twirl, and all the other moves associated with the elegant (and often competitive) dance of sales. You have learned when to push and when to back off, and most importantly you have learned how to form deep and meaningful professional relationships. So how could it be that these skills will not serve you well in another filed of work? The answer is, they WILL, and they are probably not the only ones. Most career advice for adults will highlight the importance of taking an inventory of all the skills and experiences that might serve you well in your next career. When doing so, be prepared to explain confidently to a hiring manager how these skills will expedite your success!
This is a tip that takes a little research on your part. It may be research you can do on-line, or it may come by way of networking and speaking to professionals in the industry that you want to break into. However you choose to do it, each industry has it’s own lingo and the quicker you can familiarize yourself with the way people talk in that industry the smoother your midlife career change will be. For instance, in the tech field acronyms such as SEO and CPC are frequently used and discussed. In sales and marketing, people may be gathered around talking about their B2B strategy. These acronyms by the way stand for “Search Engine Optimization”, “Cost Per Click”, and “Business To Business” respectively. And how impressive would it be if the new kid on the block could dive right in and contribute to a conversation about any one of these? So when making a career change, make sure you are not the person in the room wondering what everyone else is saying. Build confidence in yourself and trust from your peers by learning the language of the industry. If you do, you will surely hit the ground running!
It is safe to assume that if you have been working in one career for a while you have probably made some quality contacts. But now that you are making a midlife career change, you will need to start building your network of professionals in a new industry. You can do this by attending networking events, trade shows, and even asking your current network to make introductions that help you branch out. Some find the process of meeting new people exhilarating, while others find it overwhelming, but the hard work you put into expanding your network will pay dividends as you aim to show productivity early into your career change. Joe Cocker famously sang, “I get by with a little help from my friends”, and ain’t that the truth. As it turns out, that is pretty solid career advice for adults. Preach on, Joe!
Regardless of your age, making a midlife career change is a big decision with many factors to consider. The good news is it is possible, and there is plenty of career advice for adults that can help ease the transition. At Candid Career, we have a large collection of videos that can set you on the right course. You may never “thank” your alarm clock for waking you up on a Monday morning, but there may be an alternative to dreading going to work each day. If you find it, don’t be afraid to take the leap!