Thursday, May 27, 2010

After 40: How to Make a Successful Career Transition

Today we have a special guest post from Christina Archer. Christina is a career agent, recruiting specialist, resume writer, and author. You can visit her online at i-CareerSearch.

Looking For A Job After 40
photo by prosto photos

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate currently sits at 9.9%, as reported on May 7, 2010. The good news is a burst of hiring in April added a better than expected 290,000 jobs to the U.S. economy, the biggest monthly total in four years, the Labor Department reported. While it may seem like a bad time to consider making a career change at any age, looking for new opportunities seems particularly challenging for those over 40. Regardless of the economic factors locally, statewide, nationally, and even globally, every job seeker who has reached their 40s can make a successful career transition if they follow these guidelines.

1. Get up to speed on the latest job search techniques.

Prior to the late 1990′s, most job searches were conducted utilizing a local Sunday newspaper and a highlighter. Today, the Internet has made it possible to completely automate the process of uncovering qualified job leads through a job aggregator. It’s important to know the playing field prior to engaging the competition. Books on creating a successful job search process are available from merchants and local libraries in your area.

2. Perform in-depth research about local companies.

Many job seekers choose to move in to a particular field or industry without ever determining whether there is a local demand. Websites like LinkedIn and Hoovers can provide invaluable information about companies, including the number of employees company wide, statistical data about the age and types of jobs within the organization, and more. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook is another career resource for transitioning professionals. The job seeker should look for growth trends in their new target field, and create a list of those companies who are prospective new employers.

3. Take an inventory of skills acquired.

Even though an individual may choose to transition to an entirely new profession, it is imperative to create a list of all skills and experience obtained to date. Hiring managers in the new field will expect the job seeker to articulate why they wish to change careers, and how past accomplishments are applicable to the new field/industry.

4. Make a deliberate choice, and start the transition process.

After performing the necessary research, and taking a skills inventory, the job seeker is in a position to choose a new target career. At this point, the individual’s resume must be updated, and their career portfolio tweaked to match the new goals. The job seeker is then ready to begin their official search within the new field.

5. Have a job search plan.

Whether an individual chooses to contact one target company per day or ten, it’s important to have a plan with daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Keep a list of where each resume is submitted, and follow-up until either an interview is scheduled or a rejection letter is received.

Making a career change after 40 should not be a frightening process. Simply taking the time to research local companies, gaining an understanding of what types of jobs are growing, and making a deliberate career decision based on all the facts will enable any job seeker to effectively transition.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

For additional resources on finding employment "after 40," please visit Wiser Worker. A job board and resource center built for those with experience!

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