Switching careers is a big step. It may seem difficult in this economy, especially if you are older. The reality is that there are opportunities in growing industries, and that your experiences in life will help you get ahead.
Make a midlife career change happen. Check out our 5 Tips for Midlife Career Change Success. Use our career change advice to get the job you dream about.
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1. Know the marketplace.
It will be much easier to find a job in an industry with plenty of opportunity, rather than one that is shrinking. These employers will be motivated to fill roles with capable, proven professionals, regardless of age. Growing industries include business marketing, business finance, computer and information technology, education, and healthcare, among others.
Business marketing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects high growth in certain occupations, such as market research analysts and public relations specialists.
Business finance. There will be approximately 3.8 million job openings in business finance through 2020. Employment opportunities for financial advisors and financial analysts are especially promising.
Computer and information technology. National employment in the computer and information technology field is expected to grow at a greater than average rate, adding 758,800 new jobs through 2020. Software developers and database administrators in particular will continue to be in demand.
Education. Teaching opportunities (kindergarten and elementary) will grow at a rate of 17%. Opportunities for instructional coordinators—the people who conduct professional development training for teachers and advise on instructional methods and materials—are projected to grow by 20%.
Health Care. There is a high demand for health care professionals—from nurses to health services managers to dieticians—and this is expected to continue through 2020. The industry is growing at the rate of 33%. That’s significantly faster than any other industry, and translates to millions of jobs.
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2. Lay the groundwork.
What career change training do you need? Take stock of what skills are necessary, and then lay out a plan. It may involve volunteering in the industry you want to join or going back to school.
[Get a thorough look at all your options from another student who went back to school later in life.]
You can continue in your current role while you prepare to make a career change, even if returning to school is necessary. Earn your degree online, on your own schedule. It shows employers you are serious about changing careers, that you are organized and determined, and that your knowledge is current.
3. Assess your experience.
To give yourself an edge, focus on the skills you have developed so far in your career. Communication skills and leadership ability, for example, are transferable from one industry to the next. Draw from your experience. Are you a good negotiator? Were you the go-to person in your department and if so, why? Look for skills that you can take with you.
If you have been working for years—in any industry—you have valuable skills that can help you make a career change. Younger candidates can’t compete with this, as they just don’t have the years or experience necessary.
4. Network strategically.
Social media tools like LinkedIn can help you identify the people you know who can advocate for you. Again, your experience is an asset. Your working life and experience translate to more connections than someone just starting out.
Make a list of the companies that you want to work for. Search your network to find people who have worked at those companies, or are connected to someone employed there. It’s especially crucial to connect with decision makers.
[Get 5 tips from LinkedIn’s very own Brendan Browne on Enhancing your LinkedIn Profile.]
5. Be ready with your elevator pitch.
Keep it short and sweet, using industry-specific language. It should highlight what you offer and why you’re a good fit for your target employer. Remember to include transferable skills, gained from your years in the working world. Make your qualifications clear. There should be no doubt that you have researched the industry and company that you wish to join.