Taking a Leap to Change Careers Over 50

Last week, we talked about great tips to follow when looking to return to the work force after

staying home to care for the family. This week, we want to explore what to do when making a job change or overall change in career. Many women over 50 told us they feel stuck in their

current position. What scares them the most is changing health care and competing for a new job with a younger, more tech savvy applicants. Some women also told us there is a

perception that hiring managers do not want to hire older applicants because they

require a higher pay scale or they don’t have the skills to thrive in today’s work environment.

Let’s take a look at what we can do to ensure we are marketable and sought after at any age when looking for a job or career change:

1) Network:  There it is again, that word.  Yes, we know, network.  When it comes to networking, use social media to get the message out you are looking for a career change, tell your friends and family your goals. Don’t keep it a secret – you never know who can be of help to you.

2) Emphasize both technical and soft skills: Hiring managers want to see that you have both the technical skills and soft skills needed to do the job. Technical skills include both your technology systems and application expertise in addition to your job specific expertise. You might want to take a system’s training class prior to your search if you don’t have expertise in a required application. Soft skills include communication, organizational and problem-solving skills.

3) It’s ok to brag: Too often, older applicants, especially women, can be a bit more modest and less willing to “brag” about accomplishments. Your resume, cover letter and interview is truly the time to highlight not only your skills but your accomplishments.  Be bold, loud and proud about how you have influenced, impacted and left your mark on your current or previous positions.

4) Highlight results: Speak to your skills and responsibilities but highlight results.  Employers want to a list of what you can do but more importantly, they want to know OUTCOMES associated with the work you have done.  Emphasize results in your resume and talk about them in your interview. 

5) Focus on a 10-15 year span: Your resume does not need to include your first job selling ad copies for a magazine that no longer exists.  Speak to the more recent 10-15 years of experience and how those skills, experience and results transfer to the position you want.

6) Review the job posting:  If you are reading a job posting, look at the key words in the listing and incorporate those words where appropriate in your cover letter and resume.  Very often, getting that first interview depends on a scan of your resume including key words relevant to the job you are applying to do. Based on your work experiences, make sure those words POP in your resume. 

7) Stay current in your job search:  Make sure you have multiple resumes highlighting your skills and targeted to a particular job application.  Keep your Linkedin profile current for all of those potential employers researching your professional experiences.  

Your years of experience is an attribute so make sure you “brag” about your accomplishments and results. Based on your experience, highlight in your resume the key words you find in the job posting. Be patient. If you truly want to make a career change, it needs to be the right move for you!

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