Making Career Change Over 50

It’s often hard to think about changing careers. It’s doubly
difficult to take the step to change careers after you have been doing
something for what may seem a lifetime. It’s often hard to think about
changing careers. It is doubly difficult to take the step to change
careers after you have been doing something for what may seem a
lifetime. Interestingly, many people are opting for a career change
after age 50. There are many things that drive people to look for a new
career direction: burnout, a feeling you have been doing something for
years that is not really fulfilling or fun, industry downturns that
create an oversupply of candidates in your present career field, a
desire for something new and stimulating at which to dedicate yourself
for the remainder of your working life. Whatever the motivation, it is a
big step and you will need help doing it.

First, here are some things to think about.

* What do you want to do now? Where are your strengths? What abilities can you draw upon to help you create a new career path?

* Do you know any headhunters?

* How good is your professional network? Will it be helpful in making your career change?

*
What local resources are available to you? Can you take advantage of
career seminars, personal and professional career counseling or career
fairs?

* You will need to reformat your resume to highlight your
experience and/or education and training in the new career area you want
to pursue.

“Headhunter” is a common term that refers to
professional recruiters who work for job search firms. They typically
specialize in certain career fields and/or industries, and may focus on a
specific professional level; e.g. executive, manager or director, etc.
You can find headhunters in a number of ways, including word of mouth,
internet ads, the Yellow Pages, and career change advice resources.

Here are some of the things a headhunter will do for you:

* Review your resume and give you advice on presenting it and yourself in the best light for the career field you seek.

*
Match you to open requisitions they are trying to fill, or contact
his/her network of employer clients to present you as a candidate.

* Arrange for interviews and travel, if necessary, and follow-up after your interviews with the potential employer.

* Negotiate salary and signing bonuses, if appropriate

* Follow-up with you after you are hired to make sure everything is working for you.

Your
headhunter can literally be your best friend during your career change.
Most are successful because of their empathy, their ability to
understand the attributes of their candidates and the needs of their
employers, and their enjoyment of continuous contact with people on both
sides of the job search fence … in other words, they like to talk and
they enjoy interacting with people over the phone. This helps the
candidates and employers interact comfortably with them and builds
trust.

It is important that you establish a good rapport with your
headhunter because you are entering unfamiliar territory in a new
career field, and the contacts and industry knowledge you had in your
past career may no longer be useful to you, depending on how drastic a
change you are making. There are some important steps you can take to
make sure you are successful in working with you headhunter. First, be
completely honest with your headhunter about why you want to change
careers and what you are looking for. The headhunter needs to understand
your needs completely in order to create a good match for you within a
new career field. Second, be responsive and follow-up in a professional
way. This does two things for you: it will move things along quickly and
demonstrates for your headhunter your professionalism. Third, quickly
report back on contact with companies who interview you to keep the
momentum going.

If you are over age 50 and feel something is
missing from your career, it’s never too late to make a change. While
career changes can be challenging, they can lead to a valuable
opportunity to build a professional life around the things you enjoy
doing.