Is a Career Change on Your Horizon?

Making a career change is nothing new in today’s job

I’ve heard it said that the average American changes
careers at least once in his or her life. Long gone are
the days of working for the same company from the time
you graduate high school or college until that magical
retirement day.

You sure won’t find that kind of loyalty from companies to
their workers these days, and it’s rare to find that kind
of loyalty from the average worker as well. What with
companies merging, downsizing, and moving their operations
offshore, you’d be wise to plan for a career change
somewhere along the line in your life.

Of course, losing one job doesn’t automatically mean that
you can never find another job in the same industry or
career path. Hopefully, you will. But what if you can’t
find another job? Or what if you don’t really want to?
Maybe you’re bored with what you’ve been doing, or you’ve
gone as far as you can in that career and you’re ready for
new challenges.

Is it really possible to switch to a new career midstream
in your working life?

The answer is a resounding yes! But you have to
know how to go about it. It takes a bit of planning, thorough self-assessment, and perhaps additional training.

When I tired of the grind in health administration as a
nurse, I spent about 2 years trying to figure out what else
I could do. Luckily, I was able to parlay a love and talent
for writing into a new career as a health writer. I did
have to prove my ability to write–even though much of my
job responsibility in my previous healthcare administration
job did involve writing. I was fortunate enough to be able
to use networking and some lucky breaks to get into the
career I wanted with a minimum of effort.

My partner, Jim, has been a systems engineer for more than
20 years, but graduated with a bachelors degree in math
originally. When he began to search for a career change
alternative, his path was not quite as clear as mine had
been. Finally, though, after spending quite a bit of time
on self-assessment, he honed in on his love for training
and teaching. But you can’t just move into the field of
teaching with no experience or education. Fortunately, the
shortage of qualified teachers–especially in certain high
needs areas–has led to the development of a number of
“alternative path” programs for teaching. Jim has enrolled
in just such an online program out of Montana State
University and will be launching his new career later this
year as a high school math teacher!

So, the question is… once you’ve figured out what you
want to do in your new career and you’ve gotten the
training you need, how do you sell yourself to a new

The first thing you want to consider is the format for your
resume. The traditional chronological resume format is not
your best choice for a career change. Instead, you want to
use either a functional–or even better, combination–
format. You can read more about the different types of
resume formats here:

Second, you need to take a look at your transferable
skills. That is, what current or past experience or skills
do you possess (either from past jobs or in your personal
life) that you could use in your new career?

For example, one of my readers recently asked how he
could get into interior design without any previous job
experience or training. I’m not sure you can get into
this field without any training, but if so, then I
advised him to look at any design experience he’s had,
perhaps with redecorating his own or a friend’s home. I
also encouraged him to build a portfolio of his work,
which can be a very effective way to get an employer’s

Thirdly, you have to be honest with yourself about whether
you can really make a career change without adding to your
skills and credentials by getting some training in the new
field. There’s a lot to be said for the contacts you can
make during such training too, that may help you network
with people who can provide an entree into the new career.

In summary, anyone can make a career change if they really
want to. But to do so, you’ll need to know what related
skills and experience you bring to the table. And you’ll
need to know how to sell yourself to a prospective
employer. Career change is inevitable… you can count on
it! But make sure it’s on your terms by making a solid
career change plan.

Careers After 50: The Value of a Temp Job!

Careers after 50: developing appropriate experience to qualify for a planned career.

You’ve researched and studied a variety of proposed new careers. After speaking to others working in the field you’ve narrowed your list down to one or two possible new careers. However, you’ve found both require specific experience that you need to acquire.

Other qualifications for a new career after 50, for example, can be learned through self-study, distance learning, formal education and working with mentors. However, now you have the dilemma of getting the necessary experience to qualify for new career.

Let’s suggest a way to put you in a position to successfully compete for job in the new changed career. You might want to consider working for a temp agency, to get some desired experience or to discover if the suggested career is right for you.

Ask around for referrals to the right temp agency. Some temp agencies are specialists only working with specific careers and industries.

Re-draft your resume to put your best foot forward depending on the career and job. For each career you might want to restrict only signing up with two or three temp agencies. As you progress and learn more about specific temp agencies you can adjust your focus so you are only working with the best agency relative to the planned career.

Make it a point to see the temp agency recruiter, have a face-to-face interview and learn all you can about their services. Don’t forget this is a job interview and you want to show the recruiter how you would present yourself to a prospective employer.

Find out in advance if you are required to show specific technical skills at the temp interview and spend some time brushing up on the required skills prior to the interview.

Do some research regarding prospective wages you might expect. You’ll probably be asked what wage range you would accept. Also, you should learn what possible benefits might be available.

Many times temp assignments can last six months or longer. Be sure to tell the temp agency the length of assignment you would accept.

If the temp job is in a career you wish to qualify for, you may leverage yourself into being offered a full- time position. Or you gain enough relevant experience to qualify for a full-time career with another employer.

Don’t expect that you’ll be immediately moved into a desired temp position. Continue to contact the temp agency, at least once a week, to let them know you’re available for placement.

So the value to you using a temp agency in qualifying for a new career after 50 is: (1) Gaining required work experience, (2) Possibly being offered a job in the desired new career, (3) Bringing in some income while you prepare to change careers, or (4) Finding out the new career is not for you so you can research additional opportunities.