The decision to change careers, or vocations, is not a decision to make quickly or lightly.
The more prepared you are for the shift in career focus, the more control you have over the impact it poses to your finances, health and personal relationships. Taking a step back after you make the decision to change occupations is the smartest strategy. Many factors must be considered and assessed before making the leap.
Some of those factors include your knowledge of the new industry in which you plan to enter, your skill set and training, transferable skills and what comprises job satisfaction to you. If you are 50 years of age or older, you may have heard the job market is dire. The current trends do not seem to support this. In fact, older workers with vast experience have advantages to leverage.
Job searching techniques have changed over the last five to 10 years and you must be willing to embrace the new technology, including social media to network and find a new career. Go into the transition with your eyes wide open and you will find it was worth the time and effort you took to make it the right fit for you.
What to Know When Making a Career Change
The first thing to assess before making the transition is yourself. Take a frank look at yourself and ask yourself some tough questions, such as:
- What made you want to make a change?
- What are the pros and cons of making a change?
- What do you want to be different in the new occupation?
Included in asking yourself these questions is asking your family members for input. Your job change is going to impact them as well. Having everyone on board goes a long way towards motivating yourself to move forward on days when you do not feel inspired.
Next, consider the job market of your intended industry. The U.S. Labor Bureau maintains an exhaustive and detailed listing of all occupations and their potential for growth over the next 10 years. It is free to access and worth the click to visit. Before launching into a new occupation, consider the following questions:
- Is there growth potential in this new field?
- How much competition is there in this industry?
- What qualifications do I have that match others in this field?
- Can I afford to start as an entry level worker in this new industry?
It is critical you do your homework and research before making any kind of decision to change your job. One of the best ways to do this is to shadow someone in the industry in which you are interested. Ask around on social media if anyone would mind you visiting them at work, or meeting with them to discuss what a typical day is like. Find forums designed for workers in transition as there may be additional avenues and job leads you find helpful in this transition.
Do not discount a personal reference from your circle of friends and acquaintances. If asking for a reference does not cause disruption to your current job, utilize this resource. Social media, even private messenger or chat is a great way to reach out to friends for an introduction. Places such as LinkedIn, HubSpot and any industry specific group site offer good research and networking opportunities as well.
Identifying Transferable Work Skills
Ask yourself whether the skills and training you currently have transfer easily to another occupation. Former teachers often find they make great corporate trainers. When reviewing job descriptions, pay attention to any similar skills between the job you are interested in and your current job.
Understanding how to identify work skills that are transferable is critically important when it comes time to construct your resume. Having already identified your strengths and weaknesses, assessing your skills helps to make your resume stronger.
Compare your current resume to those who are already in the industry in which you are interested to see how the skill sets line up. To compare, find sample resumes online. If you find you lack certain skills or training, then you still have time while at your current job to learn those skills, work with a mentor or volunteer to obtain additional experience.
Changing Careers After Age 50
In eras past, workers found a job and stayed with it their entire lives, but the current climate looks vastly different. Now, the average American worker changes jobs, even occupations, often. Many of those changing jobs do so later in life. Interestingly, many workers who are 50 years of age or older often find shifting careers bolsters their retirement security more than if they had stayed with their original career.
One of the reasons the 50 years of age group is increasingly opting to change careers is a shift in priorities. Switching from a strict focus on the financial to personal satisfaction and the attainment of professional lifetime goals is common among people in this age bracket. One thing most seasoned workers understand is finding job satisfaction in a career with growth potential often means the financial rewards follow.
If you plan to change careers and are 50 years of age, now is one of the best times to do so. You must be smart about it and have a plan to achieve success.
How to Use Social Media to Advance Your Career
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and even Pinterest are viable venues for making more money and advancing your career. Not all social media platforms are created equal, so understanding what each offer, and do not offer, is crucial to utilizing them in a way truly benefiting you. Use several key factors to understand how to set up, use and benefit from social media accounts as you plan to change careers.
Practical Tips for Changing Careers
Americans love change, and careers are not immune to this desire for new horizons. Those who successfully recreate themselves and their careers are often willing to share this knowledge. Use strategies already developed and successfully implemented by those who have gone before you to make your transition faster and easier.
How are you going to transition out of your current job into your new one? How do you assess your finances during the change? How can you optimize your new job applications? What is the best practice when constructing a resume or cover letter? Finding assistance and straight answers for these questions, and more, helps you make an informed decision.