You spend the majority of your waking hours at work. So you want to feel good about your job on some level.
Maybe you enjoy the tasks you perform, or really like the people you work with. You might even feel like you’re making a contribution to the world every day.
But there may come a time when you decide to search for something entirely different. And maybe you’ll be 40+ years old when you do it.
Making a career change can be challenging. But it’s even more challenging to attempt such a move later in life.
Here are some tips to consider:
Make Sure You Know Why
There are many reasons why you might consider a career change. But before quitting your job, you must identify why you’re craving such a change.
If you don’t make the effort to analyze why you are dissatisfied with your current situation, a career change might not actually be the answer that you’re looking for. First, try to pinpoint what you find unacceptable about your current job.
“All I do is sit in a cubicle all day. My job is mind numbingly boring.” Boredom and annoyance with your job is a prime motivator for considering a career change.
“What do you mean the paper is closing?” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of reporter jobs available is likely to decline by 6% by 2020. That’s 3,200 jobs that will be lost in the next 7 years. If you fear that you will eventually be one of those 3,200 people that will lose their jobs, or are in another field with declining employment, you might consider a career change.
“This job is killing my body.” Some professions involve hard manual labor that could cause injuries that linger. Some workers may be forced to change professions because they were injured, or choose to change professions because they fear that they will be injured in the future.
Research Your Options
Research your options before making any moves that will significantly impact your quality of life.
You can check the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the starting salary, the minimum level of education required, and the job outlook.
Be prepared to fight for a job in your new career, although picking the right battles can streamline your job search significantly.
Conquering Age Bias in a Career Change
Age bias is a reality that can prevent you from effectively making a career change.
While age bias is illegal, you might have a hard time proving that your interviewer decided not to hire you due to your age. Prepare for the fact that a potential employer might be a bit age biased – in some cases they don’t even realize they are.
It can be helpful to position your age as a benefit rather than a limitation. Make it clear that you bring experience and wisdom to the table.
The cliché states: You can’t teach old dogs new tricks. It presumes that as you age, your ability to learn new skills decreases. When entering a new career, the ability to learn new skills is paramount. Employers that fear you are incapable of acquiring new skills might pass you over for less qualified, younger workers.
With a few steps, you can prove to future employers that your mind is just as sharp as it ever was.
Attend a technical school or college before pursuing your new career. Acquiring an information technology degree can be a feat for certain fields that will make it very clear to your interviewer that you are still capable of learning.
Be exuberant and excited about your potential new job at the interview. Employees that demonstrate enthusiasm are often considered harder workers. While you may have a few years more behind you, there’s no reason you can’t demonstrate some youthful spirit.
We’ve all seen it: older individuals who do not know how to search the internet or even start their computer. Unfortunately, they make it harder for the skilled folks in their same age range.
If you are within the 40 to 80 range, you might be dealing with employers that believe that you are incapable of using modern technology.
No matter what field you’re pursuing employment, it can help to show that you’re as tech-savvy as any twenty-something. In order to turn this bias on its head, you can:
• Create an online portfolio with a resume using WordPress or Blogger. Put the URL to your online portfolio in your resume.
• List your computer and software skills. If you only have basic skills, you might want to spend a few weeks taking online tutorials to boost your abilities.
The key to successfully changing careers is to research, conquer any potential age biases, and make use of skills & experience from your former profession. It can be challenging, but with careful planning, you can successfully change careers, even later in life.
About the Author: Kate Gredley is an elementary school teacher who made a career change from a retail environment long after her friends found their dream jobs. She currently writes to promote Globe University’s programs.