Tips for Seasoned Workers Seeking a Career Change

There is the well-known saying: You’re never too old to start something new. It is important to be happy with the work you do; however, it could be challenging to find a job that is a good fit, especially after spending many years performing duties that you have grown accustomed to.

As people are living longer and maintaining active lifestyles, more people are choosing to remain in the workforce past retirement. In 2014, 23% of men and 15% of women ages 65 and older in the United States were still employed. (Suggested Reading: Fact Sheet: Aging in the United States)

For seasoned workers choosing to find new careers, they may encounter challenges with job search as technology is continually advancing and younger generations are taking over the workforce. The Baby Boom (individuals born between 1946 and 1965) led to a significant increase in the U.S. population. Members of this generation were more likely to learn about new jobs from someone they knew at a company while Gen-Xers were likely to utilize recruiters and staffing agencies and Millennials were using third party websites and online job boards.  (Suggested Reading: Understanding Baby Boomers At Work – (How a Person’s Age Affects Why They Change Jobs)

Today, most job search occurs online and includes applications on company websites, online job boards, and social media (i.e., LinkedIn). In order to keep up with the younger crowd, it is important for individuals from the Baby Boomer generation to learn how to update their approach to job seeking.

 

Tip #1: Stay up-to-date with job search technology.

Job search websites, including Indeed and Career Builder, have provided easier access to finding job openings in the local area and submitting résumés to companies. Job seekers have also created LinkedIn profiles to network with professionals and learn more about employers as well as hiring opportunities. For older adults, it may seem daunting that job search is more tech-based rather than finding jobs through a traditional word-of-mouth approach. With jobs requiring computer proficiency and keyboarding skills, it is beneficial for job seekers to build their skills not only for online job search, but for careers that require those skills.

 

Tip #2: Update your résumé.

A study had found that employers spend an average of 6 seconds reviewing an individual’s résumé (Suggested Reading: What Does The 6 Second Resume Test Really Mean?). When applying online, it is important to create a résumé that Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) can interpret favorably. How? A résumé should be simple, organized and straightforward, meaning no need for fancy fonts or templates. Include your name and contact information. Present your employment history in reverse chronological order and include your skills and achievements that will relate to careers you are applying for. Always check for spelling errors before submitting. More and more busy professionals are having their résumés professionally written, and a good writer can dramatically increase a job seeker’s chance of success. (Suggested Reading: A Behind the Scenes Look at Résumé Writing)

There are a variety of ways résumés can be presented; however it is important to keep in mind that your résumé is a marketing document and should be the best possible representation of your professional abilities and should be targeted at the type of position you are seeking. (Suggested Reading: 17 Resume Improvement Tips for 2017)

 

Tip #3: Expand your professional network.

There are a variety of ways you can get to know employers. The traditional method is meeting employers through people you know. However, other methods that are used include job fairs, professional networking events and professionally-oriented social media platforms. By getting your name out there, employers will keep you in mind for opportunities for which you are a good fit. For Baby Boomers, networking has been a widely used tool when finding out about job opportunities.

(Suggested Reading: The Non-Scary, Realistic Guide to Changing Careers When You’re Older)

 

Tip #4: Explore jobs of interest.

A common reason for switching careers is doing so to pursue interests or passions that lie in a new field, such as social services, health care, business and non-profits. The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a great tool to use for finding jobs in a variety of fields as well as education requirements, wages and employment trends. (See: Occupational Outlook Handbook). Research employers that you are curious about and inquire about positions. Visit employers to find out more and ask questions from those already in the field.


Rebecca Hanna is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) at Vocamotive, Inc. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Bradley University and Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at Northern Illinois University. Her areas of career interests include vocational rehabilitation, transition and disability services, and career counseling and placement.

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