You are well past your twenties and thirties. Right into midlife, at around the age of forty, you find yourself considering a rewarding second career. You may also cherish a dream to start your business at midlife. Midlife career change is a fairly natural occurrence. More and more women are taking the plunge to pursue a career they love. These are people who have the necessary skills and resources to consider or opt for midlife career changes. If you are confident of honing your skills, possess the energy and the desire for rewarding second career; donít put it off any longer. Read further to find out how to emerge victorious while making a midlife career change.
Midlife career change - driving factors
Midlife career change is not mere change of jobs. It involves looking for an entirely new career option. For some, it is a mere impulse, a drive to cut away from the routine trappings of present career. Other reasons for midlife career change:
- To create a new work identity
- To keep pace with economy changes
- A shift in interest, desire to explore beyond the present responsibilities
- A dream career, connected to dreams, desires and youthful aspirations
- Return to work, to pick up career where it was let off (for the sake of family or health reasons)
- In order to achieve work-life balance
- The need for a challenging assignment
- As a result of mental illness (separation/death of near and dear ones)
- Inability to continue present career due to illness
- Unhappy with the current work situation (incompatible boss, unpleasant atmosphere, declining career prospects)
- Corporate downsizing
Compared to men, the changes middle-age crisis brings about in women are bigger. Make this your advantage. Be it the first time to enter the job market or a radical change, itís possible to plan and start an entire career midlife. To emerge victorious, begin with accepting the changes that have taken place within you and in the job market over the years. For instance, personal interest, talents, geographic preference, brand name and the pay packet drove the initial career choice. You may have landed on the job by accident, which subsequently became a career. Not anymore. Also, the job market has changed a lot since the last time you looked for work. Hence, it is all the more important to consolidate your professional experience and maturity with dreams or aspirations towards meeting realistic expectations.
Take away time from the routine and initiate a self-analysis. Ponder over these points; gear yourself to take the right decision.
- Is it the right time to change?
- Do you like the current job, what is your dream job?
- Educational qualification and experience you have
- Is it a wild dream, realistically achieveable?
- It is time-consuming, can you afford to wait?
- Does it require leaving current job?
- Is there a mentor to look for suggestions?
- Is it for better prospects or for soul fulfillment?
- Can you afford to relocate, if need be?
- The financial aspects associated with midlife career change
- Can you maintain the current life style with a lower pay?
- Are you physically fit for the job of your dream?
Midlife career change plan
With answers to these questions, proceed to the next step in planning for a fool-proof midlife career change.
Stock taking: Take stock of skills and competencies. Recognize unique talents or knowledge you possess. Focus on what you can do and the relevant qualifications and experience you have. Relate this to what you want to do. If there is a gap, investigate educational opportunties, the need to qualify further or update by enrolling for a short course at a local college or attend a one-day or weekend seminars. Meet up with an industry specific professional for ideas and recommendations. Write your mission statement; include time frame within which you wish to accomplish.
Evaluate: If employed, evaluate current job satisfaction. Analyze the aspects of the job you like and dislike for it points towards your strengths and weaknesses. Do you enjoy working in a team, feel satisfied helping others accomplish task successfully and motivated in achieving targets- find answers to job related questions. Take a step further and go beyond job tasks as well. May be you did organize a social event not part of job profile which showcased your organizational skills. Check with colleagues and friends and list the strengths as they have perceived. Make a note of the apprciations you receive from people as well. This kind of an evaluation serves as a compass and is an indicator of your other capabilities.
Opportunities: Having determined the carrer you wish to pursue, itís time to find out if opportunities do exist. Create a list of career options. There are various ways like an internet research, enrolling with a professional head hunter, online CV registration, checking the classifieds etc. Enroute you will also learn to narrow your focus, whether it is worth an attempt, if it requires modifications, prospects to expand and develop etc.
Networking helps: Make more of your network of contacts; renew contacts or work towards creating fresh contacts.
Refresh CV: Craft an interesting CV that will undoubtedly create a positive impact. Donít overload with past experiences, fill it with your key strengths. Take help from professional resume drafters.
Face the interview: Much different from the initial stages of career search, face the interview with confidence. Remember not to oversell. The interviewer is likely to much younger to you. Your maturity level is also put to test. Strike a cordial note, relate how keen you are keen to contribute and support.