Changing Careers Over 40
Changing Careers at Midlife
I spent the weekend with my brother recently. We always enjoy getting together and talking about life, kids, parents, and our careers. This discussion was a bit different. My brother told me he was going to change careers from retail and move into software sales. This is a big career change at midlife with lots of risk. He has two children, a wife, and a house that is worth less than he paid for it. As I thought about his choice, I couldn’t help thinking about the most effective ways to pursue a career change.
If you are like my brother, you’ve been working for years to support your family, but your life and your interests have changed. You’re looking for something that offers security and longevity, renewed interest, more meaning and less stress. How do you make the important jump to a new career after 40? While many people over-40 fear trying to change job, when presented in the right light, age and experience offer an attractive bonus to employers who are looking to get more and better work done with fewer problems. At 40+, you’re the perfect candidate!
To get started on your over-40 career, create a functional resume that highlights experience, training, accomplishments and accumulated education and expertise. Get rid of any references to out-of-date technologies you may have worked with, and limit your work experience list to the last 10 years. Make sure you present your ability to work without supervision and to solve problems through a well-rounded, knowledgeable background.
Renew your interview skills! Be ready to interview with people younger than you! Call attention to your experience in a positive way, without drawing conspicuous age lines. Let interviewers know you enjoy working with teams that utilize and draw upon diverse experiences. Emphasize your passion for learning and discuss how you stay on top of all the latest tools and best practice libraries that are available. Be sure to bring to light the value that your professional contacts, affiliations and association memberships add to your exceptional abilities and skills. Leave out personal commentary that hints at college-aged children and pictures of your grandkids.
Brush up and polish your education and your technology confidence. If it’s been more than 10 years since you attended college or career school, consider taking some current business or career courses aimed at your new over-40 career. Be sure you’ve updated your skills and your understanding of technology tools. Today, there are plenty of on-line and hybrid course offerings that will have your education up-to-date and ultra-presentable in no time. Leaving graduation dates off your resume is a short-lived fix that can eventually draw unwanted attention to your age. Instead, draw clear examples for applying both your formal and your professional education to your new career, and offer examples of current up-to-date learning activities that buffer the years. Using social networking and other tech-tools to help promote your new career search will add validity to your tech-savvy claims.
Remember, hiring managers are looking for someone to get the job done without lots of support. If you focus on your maturity, experience, and wisdom, you will have a great chance at landing your dream job.
Read more: Career Change – 5 Must-Take Steps