Tips for Making a Successful Mid-Life Career Change

10-22-2015 9-35-12 AM

Sometimes changing careers or jobs is unexpected. Downsizing and layoffs are no longer rare but common practice. This can cause you to start to doubt your abilities and value in the workplace, especially if you are an older worker. What must be remembered is that your skills and talent are needed and wanted by employers. The following 8 steps will help you make a successful transition:

1. Meet with a career professional. Schedule an appointment as soon as possible so that you can begin developing a new career plan. Even if you do decide to take some time off before starting a job search.

2. Focus on your strengths not your weaknesses. On your resume show how you brought value to the previous role by quantifying your accomplishments wherever possible. When interviewing let the employer know through examples how you brought value in your previous position.

3. Show that you are always learning new things. This can be demonstrated on your resume by including any current education and training. When networking or on an interview mention relevant volunteering or hobbies that give the impression that you are active and vibrant. Employers want people that are not afraid to learn a new task or take on a new role.

4. Use social media. Tweet, friend and connect. According to AARP 94 percent of 1,855 recruiters and HR professionals surveyed in one study credited LinkedIn as the essential source for recruiting.

5. At a minimum you should have a LinkedIn account. There are tutorials and YouTube videos available to help you understand to set up and use your account.

6. Take care of your health. You may have more time now to focus on exercising and healthy eating. Make sure that you getting enough rest and keeping stress to a minimum.

7. Network with everyone. Don’t overlook contacts. You never know where your next job lead will come from. Meet casually with friends and family, including those outside of your inner circle. Take every opportunity to get out socially.

8. Develop your 30-second commercial. Perfect it until it becomes second nature. So when you begin putting an elevator pitch together, nail down the best way to describe your field and the type of job you’re pursuing. Until you can clearly explain the type of position you want, nobody can help you find it or hire you to do it.

Rhoda Smackum is a UMUC Career Advisor for the office of Career Services.