Mid-career moves can be tricky to navigate. Suddenly, the world seems much more open to you. You no longer have to worry about the old Catch-22 of not having enough experience for entry-level jobs that require work experience.
Having so much more at your feet should be a positive thing. But the opening out of the world of opportunity can make you feel overwhelmed. Where should you start? And how can you work with the time you have to guide yourself into the right career and one that helps you rise to the top?
1. Get creative
Many of our mid-career clients aren’t sure if they really should change careers. To help them along, we advise them to get creative!
It’s easy to forget about getting creative mid-career, especially in the business and finance industries. But by illustrating and scribbling down your skills, wishes, needs and goals, you’re using a different part of your brain, which can help enormously in bringing out new ideas and thoughts.
Start with a blank sheet of paper, and have several different coloured pens at the ready. If possible, use at least an A3 sheet of paper, because the more space you have to brainstorm, the better!
Here are some cues to get you started:
- What are your strengths, and what roles suit those strengths?
- What areas do you feel you need to work on?
- What roles have you taken in the past, and what similarities can you find between them? How about the differences?
- What roles and responsibilities do you have but don’t want?
- What roles and responsibilities don’t you have but want?
2. Funnel your efforts
The best way to cope with the stress of looking to switch careers is to manage that seemingly open sandbox of opportunities that might be right for you. Zippia has a useful system that allows you to see the career paths available to different job titles. If you already think you know the job you want to apply for, mine the job spec for useful keywords and hooks on which you can hang your experience.
If you haven’t found anything that immediately strikes you as ideal, google for jobs in that would fit your profile and hunt through the job specs. What roles and responsibilities interest you the most?
It’s worth googling the job title again, to see if any additional responsibilities interest you. Find up to five job specs, and stitch together your ideal position. Post it on your wall or keep it safe on your desk; this is the job you should be working towards. Then, try to match those individual bullet points with your CV. If you need to work on any areas or don’t yet have the skills they list, seek ways to work on them. Maybe you need extra training, or maybe you need to network more. Which brings us to point 3…
3. Commit to the process
Committing to your career move means understanding as much about your industry and the profession you intend to move into. Start meeting people who are already in that type of job. Don’t feel restricted by geography; pick up the phone, or send them an email. Leverage your network for introductions to anyone who may be relevant.
Find out how they got to where they are today. People love talking about themselves, and many will be flattered that you reached out to them. If the timing is right, they may say: Look no further; come and work for us!
4. Fish out your transferable skills
Even if the career you want is a real change from what you’ve been doing so far, you don’t necessarily need to start from scratch. Focus on your transferable skills.
To do this, we recommend rewriting your CV from scratch. We find this helps, rather than simply editing the one you already have because it will make you rethink your work experience. Events that you may have found impressive in the past might otherwise end up eclipsing something else you did that is more closely connected with the role you want.
5. Make it personal
When switching careers, the cover letter is key – never ever use templates. Write from the heart, and to a specific reader. Even if you don’t know the person personally, it helps to think from their perspective. What would they want to find in your letter? What personality traits or soft skills would be important factors for them when considering who to hire?
From your cover letter, your reader should immediately understand your motivations to switch career and see what benefit you could bring to their firm. We recommend addressing your decision to move head on, so that they understand that you came into this with a clear strategy and that you intend to stay.
Already mid-career and feeling like you want to move, but don’t yet know where to go? Thinking about a change but not entirely sure if this is what you want? This is the time to call a career coach! It is worth investing in some direction, to help you explore what you might want out of a career, instead of chasing roles that aren’t the right fit.
We are a London-based recruitment consultancy. If you’re looking for coaching on mid-career changes, contact us today to find out how we can help your career.