Why You are Not Too Old for a Career Shift

Career Shift

Career ShiftWith today’s job market, the thought of leaving the relative comfort of your current work to pursue a career in an entirely new field seems insane. What more when you are starting to get on in years? Yet there are plenty of people who have exactly that, and have experienced considerable success.

Even if you are well past your prime, experience and work ethic definitely count for something. Furthermore, today’s globalized and tech driven society makes it much easier to successfully pull off a late career change. Here is how to make it work.

1. Find parallels – At first glance, there are probably few things that connect your current job with your dream career. Yet the two might be more related than you expect. Find ways to translate those abilities; did you work as a secretary for over a decade? Then you likely have excellent people, time management, and organizational skills, all of which are strongly in demand in many fields.

2. Train and study – Even with those parallels, though, you probably have a lot of catching up to do. Fortunately, technology makes this easy. There are plenty of online resources where you can learn from, and even receive certification. Train to be a web developer at Treehouse, or study to become a paralegal at The Center for Legal Studies; the opportunities are right there for the taking.

3. Know how to apply – This is the hardest part, and why most people never attempt making a late career change. Unfortunately, the traditional methods like mass sending out resumes or going through recruiters are no longer that effective for you. But there’s hope yet; if you can get the attention of an open minded manager who can see your value, the odds greatly increase in your favor.

If you have a strong network that can help, then great. Otherwise, create a cover letter that emphasizes your excitement and strengths, along with how your experience can specifically help the company. Send it directly to the hiring manager, and there is a good chance you will at least get a response.

With any luck, you will one day be able to land a good position in this entirely new field. Your challenges are just beginning, of course, but it’s better than to work for decades more at a job you hate.

3 Comments

  1. Joseph B. Benavides January 6, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Seconding the sentiment that you are never too old to switch careers. I spent many years in accounting, but I never had any passion for it, and every day was a bore. Taking a pay cut and going into sales was one of the best decisions I ever made. It almost doesn’t feel like work.

  2. I don’t know if I would ever do this, at least not without a huge nest egg to support me in case things don’t work out. Starting over is definitely not an option when you have young kids, too.

  3. Managers should never make age a factor when hiring – it’s just the number of times you’ve gone around the sun. Skills and attitude are a thousand times more important.

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