Career Change After 50 – Tips Using Your Time to Qualify for the New Career

By DonShook

We’ve all heard the advice, searching for a job or a new career is by itself is a full-time job. That’s good advice if you are moving from a production manager career with one blue widget manufacturer to another.

It’s a totally different story if you are trying to move for example: from teaching to sales, or customer service manager to high tech sales or consumer marketing to home remodeling project manager.

Spend 100% of your time in these examples looking for a prospective new career after 50, will doom you to a long period of unemployment and a drawer full of rejections. And even if you are moving from your current career to a similar career with another employer this advice can also be helpful for you.

How then can you put yourself into a position to be “best qualified” for the career change after 50 and new job?

As a start, plan on spending a portion of your job hunting work day getting “best qualified.” The amount of time getting “best qualified” will of course depend on the amount of distance you have to travel.

First, do some research into the requirements of the new career. Find 10-15 individuals working in the prospective career. You can find the required individuals through appropriate career associations, alumni associations, LinkedIn contacts, and networking with your contact list.

Informational interviews should then be conducted with as many on your overall list as possible. Prepare for the short (10-15 minutes) interview by writing out possible questions. Remember at this stage you are looking for information about the career and not looking for job.

In today’s tough job hunting market, employers are looking to hire the best qualified applicants that they can find. This is where a balanced job hunt becomes important. Each day you spend an appropriate amount time looking for the right job in the right career. Then you spend the balance of the time building up your qualifications becoming irresistible to the prospective employer.

Becoming Irresistible to Employers

In summary, employers are looking for applicants to be totally up-to-date on the latest in their career and be able to contribute immediately to the organization in quantifiable way. Many applicants claim they can do these things but the “best-qualified,” can demonstrate their qualifications.

Here are three steps to help you move into a position to qualify for the new career after 50 or find the right job in your current career:

Step #1:What is the current status of you job qualifications? Answer the following questions:

  1. Are you completely up-to-date in the latest techniques and technical practices and procedures used in the career field? If you do have not have the required experience in the past year or the career is new to you, you’ll have work to do.
  2. Do you have the acquired skills that would allow you to become more valuable to the employer? Software skills? Training abilities? Working with difficult employee or customers? Budgeting skills? The latest technology? If any of the answers are no, you’re not likely to be graded as “best qualified,” and they needed to be added to your to do list.

Step#2: Start by filling in the gaps in your qualifications. Prioritize the items and start with those most likely to get you rejected. If you need help prioritizing the list contact several individuals you contacted in your informational interview for additional help.
Now you have to fill in the possible shortfalls, here are some options:

  1. If education or training is required: consider local junior colleges, evening college classes, on-line learning, mentors, and self-study.
  2. Classes, workshops and seminars: local and nationally.
  3. Work for non-profits, work as a temp or contractor.
  4. Attend workshops at industry trade shows.
  5. Start a blog or website on issues related to the career. Write articles and publish them to article directories and post to your blog.
  6. Find a narrow topical issue that relates to the career. Build a short 20 minute speech on the subject. Call local groups of business owners, trade groups, scheduled seminars and workshops and get on the agenda. Issue a press release every time you speak, post the press release on the internet.

Step #3: Aside from promoting your ongoing educational efforts on the internet rewrite your resume to reflect your new initiatives. Indicate in your resume the specific educational effort is “ongoing.” Of course, with the articles posted on the internet, and your blog when your name is Googled positive items will show-up.

Also, you have more qualifications to showcase in your resume cover letter. By setting yourself apart from other applicants you will demonstrate you are “best-qualified” for the position.

To effectively change careers after 50 will require more effort but this should get you moving in the right direction. Remember balance you job hunting with building qualifications and experience and you’ve got a winning combination.