What to Consider Before Changing Careers

 

Are you considering ditching it all and running away to join the circus? Are your dreams of becoming the next great American novelist are just too vivid to ignore any longer? Do you think you could land a spot on the national Olympics team in curling if it weren’t for that pesky day job? Many of us fantasize about what it would be like to make major career – and life – changes, even when we’re perfectly happy with our current careers. But if you’re seriously considering a career change – not just a move to a new company, but a whole new industry – it can be an exciting and scary time.

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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)

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Why Your 30s and 40s Is A Great Time To Change Careers

You’ve been in the workforce for a decade or more. Maybe you’ve worked for the same company the entire time, or perhaps you’ve moved around a bit (or even a lot). But you’ve begun to feel like you’re not in the right place. If you’ve started to think about a career change and you’re over 30, there might be a number of things holding you back from taking the leap. But, whether you know it or not, you’ve got a lot of things going for you, too. Here’s our list of skills and experiences you’ve likely gained by the time you’re 30 and why they make your 30s and 40s a good time to make a career change.

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17 LinkedIn Improvement Tips for 2017

With 2017 rapidly approaching, many professionals are starting to think about finding a new position or making a career change in the New Year. With 87 percent of recruiters using LinkedIn, a fully optimized and updated profile is a great place to begin!

Author’s Note: This article is a complementary piece to the highly praised 17 Resume Improvement Tips for 2017 published on November 22, 2016.

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Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door

Some companies are harder to get into than others. Sometimes it seems like you need to already know someone to score your dream job at that perfect company. There are ways to get your foot in the door and make some contacts who could help you out and lead you to your next job. Here are some tips for getting your name known at any company.

Follow on Social Media

Social media is a great way to connect with companies and their people. Check Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn for company profiles. You can also look to see if you can find any employees or company recruiters to follow. LinkedIn is especially great for that, since it’s made to help people make and keep professional connections. Once you’ve found the company and some employees, interact with their posts. Like their Instagram pictures and retweet their tweets. Comment on LinkedIn posts with your own expertise or insight.

Arrange an Informational Interview

An informational interview is like a networking event, informational sessions and semi-interview all in one. They’re a great way to get in front of people at a company. If you can identify some key people in your ideal department, reach out and ask to meet. Make sure you’re targeting the right people, and not just emailing anyone you can find. Ask them to get coffee to discuss their career path or their interests. Find someone whose job is genuinely interesting to you, even if they can’t offer you a job. They could be a valuable contact or resource for your career down the line.

Send Your Resume

If you see a job opening that really interests you, go ahead and apply. If you don’t hear back in a couple weeks, email the hiring manager to ask about the status of your application. Even if you don’t see your dream job listed, try sending your resume to human resources or a hiring manager anyway. There could be a position opening soon that you’re perfect for, and you might have saved the company a lot of time and energy hunting for candidates.

What to Bring to an Interview

You’ve sent out your resume far and wide, and now you’re starting to hear back from potential employers about your applications. When you get interviews set up, you’ll start preparing your best answers to all the standard interview questions. There are certain things

Resume/Portfolio

Even if you already submitted your resume as part of the application process, you should always bring extra copies to an interview. Print at least five of them on resume paper and keep them in a nice, solid colored folder. If you have a portfolio of design work, writing samples or any other projects, bring that along. Even if you’re unemployed, it’s a good idea to bring business cards with your contact information, as well.

Questions

You should also come prepared with a list of questions for your interviewers, not just answers. Ask them specific questions about the company, position, team and culture. You’ll probably come up with questions as you go, but you should think of a few ahead of time just in case. Asking thoughtful questions will show employers that you are serious about the position, and can give you a chance to further explain why you’re a good fit for the role.

Company Information

Of course, you should have the company address, phone number and the name of the person you’re meeting with on hand (preferably written down) so you know exactly where to go and what to say. You should also do some research on the company before the interview. Bring along some notes to review while you’re waiting.

Emergency Supplies

Carry a notebook and pen with you in case you need to take notes in your interview. Many resume folders have space for your resume, a legal notepad and a pen. You should carry along some breath mints (not gum!) to freshen up just before your interview.

What a Professional Can See on a Resume

You should always have a second set of eyes look at your resume, but there are certain things that the average person may miss. While some people may have someone completely write their resume for them, that’s no necessary. You want sound like yourself. Still, having a professional look over and edit your resume could help you get a new job even quicker. Here are some things a pro will catch that you might not see.

Grammar Mistakes

First and foremost, you want to make sure your resume has absolutely zero grammatical errors—no spelling mistakes, no improper word choices, no misplaced punctuation marks. Many employers will throw out resumes that have glaring errors on them, so it’s important to get it as perfect as possible. It can be difficult to edit your own work, so having a second set of eyes edit your resume can be extremely beneficial.

Consistency

Everything in your resume should be consistent, from layout and format to word choice and verb tense. Your font and size should be the same throughout, and if you use bullets on one section, you need to use them on all sections. If you decide to end one bullet point with a period, you need to end all of them the same way. When listing your roles and responsibilities on your resume, your points should all start the same way. There are a lot of little details that can be easy to skip over, so it’s worth getting your resume looked at by someone trained to notice those things. 

An Outside Opinion

Many people who edit resumes are professionally trained to do so and some of them have also been involved in the hiring process in the past, so they know what employers are looking for on a resume. They make suggestions on how to word or phrase things, how to structure your resume, and what to include or leave off.