What To Consider
Making the decision to change your career after many years, leave your current job to pursue something totally different, or to move to a different geographic location, can be daunting. The process, however, is very similar to when you searched for your first position. Below are some pointers for changing careers effectively.
1. Self Exploration
The first step in your career change campaign is knowing yourself:
- What are your skills, interests and values and how have they been
applied in work situations?
- What have you learned from your past experiences (including
academic and/or volunteer) about your own work preferences in terms
of "culture" or "environment"?
- Where do you wish to live?
- What are your financial requirements?
2. Career Exploration
Knowledge of the job market in general and, specifically, the industry in which you seek employment - will help determine how you target your search. networking will be an important way for you to research this information. Career Services offers many 'how to' resources on networking, including how to use MiddNet. Your career exploration should help you learn:
- Which positions and industries match your skills, interests and values?
- Which offer the best opportunity for the present and growth for the future?
- What service needs are being projected for a rising and/or changing population?
- Where are the pockets of specific industries located?
3. Career Action Plan
Once you have identified an industry (or industries) that 'fits' your career interests and goals, you will then develop an action plan for uncovering opportunities in that field.
Develop and refine your Resume. Your new resume must do more than list your experience and employment history. Now, especially, it is important to show how your experience relates to the new career or job-type that you seek. In the course of your career(s) you have acquired many skills that, although used in a specific industry or job, translate to the competencies needed for the new job. These are your 'transferable' skills and it will be important for you to to effectively communicate these transferable skills on your resume.
See our Resume page for additional guidance.
- Network! Your potential network includes your many personal and business contacts: family, friends, professional associates, social acquaintances, business colleagues, former professors and, especially, your fellow Middlebury alumni. Be sure to include MiddNet in your networking efforts. It is a ready-made community of Midd alumni who have volunteered to help fellow alumni and students with career advice and information. Also see our Networking page for helpful 'how to' information.
- Update your Interviewing Skills. Strengthen your competence and confidence by reviewing these tips on our Interviewing page. A key part of interviewing is the ability to articulate why you are a good 'fit' for the job - and this is especially important when changing careers. Also see great advice at quintcareers.com
Career Assessment Tools
Assessment tools can help you explore your career interests and best career fit. Some of these assessment tools require that you work with a qualified career counselor who is trained in administering and interpreting the assessment (i.e., Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator/MBTI; and the Strong Interest Inventory). Some are available to you online for free in abbreviated form (Kiersey Temperament Sorter; TypeFocus). There are many online resources related to these career assessment tools; here are a sample few: Myers-Briggs (MBTI); Keirsey; Typefocus.
How to find a qualified career counselor in your region:
National Board of Certified Counselor's "Counselor Find"
Mid-Career Change? Here are some specific resources:
In addition to the resources listed on the right, following are more resources specifically related to mid-career change:
Listings for career opportunities in nonprofit leadership positions; plus information if considering making the switch from for-profit work to nonprofit organizations.
"Work that matters in the second half of life". Career advice and weblinks, plus listings for: jobs, volunteerism, programs, etc.
Known on college campuses as a resource for finding jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities in nonprofit & community organizations around the world. Now also offers online resources re: mid-career changes and encore careers. Listings for: jobs, volunteerism, programs.
The Job Hunter's Bible
A 'Net Guide' to guide you in doing part of your job-hunt here on the Internet and an extensive Library of articles. Affiliated with Richard Bolles' book 'What Color Is Your Parachute?"
Thinking About Tomorrow: Reinventing Yourself at Midlife
by Susan Crandell; Hachette Book Group/Warner Books, NY; 2007
Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life
by Marc Freedman; Perseus Book Group, NY; 2007
Retire Retirement: Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation
by Tamara Erickson; Harvard Business School Press
Now What Do I Do? The Woman's Guide to a New Career
by Jan Cannon; Capital Books, VA; 2005
The Age Advantage: Making the Most of Your Mid-life Career Transition
by Jean Erickson Walker; Berkeley Publishing Group, NY; 2000