The idea of changing careers is appealing to many. In the distant past, it was common for employees (usually men as women didn’t have many career options) to secure one job and stay with that company their entire career. Nowadays, with so many choices available to employees and so many places to work (including from your own home office), people are much more likely to explore what options are open to them. Here are some issues to consider as you make a list of your skill set and start down the road of changing careers.
It’s a risk to employers. Let’s face it, making a career change is new to you. What happens if you make the change and don’t like it? After hiring you, employers invest their time and money into training and onboarding you. After a short period of time, if you decide the career change was not a good fit for you after all, you’ll cost the company money in the long run. Even if you are happy, they’ll also be on the lookout if your transferrable skill set did just that—transfer successfully to a new job. If they don’t, employers will be in a bind trying to get you up to speed.
You’ll face competition. Just like when you apply for any open position, you’ll face competition when attempting to change careers. Not only will you compete with people who may be more qualified than you, you’ll also have to overcome the appeal of recent college graduates. You’ll need to leverage what you do bring to the table to win out over these other applicants. Knowing your transferrable skills and being able to talk about them will come in handy here.
The older you get, the more difficult it can be to get hired. Many different groups are making strides in being more accepted in our society, but sometimes it seems like ageism is behind the curve. AARP conducted a study and discovered that over 60 percent of those over 45 had experienced some kind of age discrimination in the work place. This will come into play as you attempt to make changes to your career as you grow older. At times like this, you can use your list of acquired skills and wisdom that have come with age to your advantage.
There are other issues you might encounter as you change careers such as taking the time to figure out exactly what you want to do and then forming the network to find a new job. Bottom line, changing careers is usually a process and not something you can do overnight. If you are over 40, you have to consider how your age will be perceived as you apply for jobs too. Camouflage it the best you can on your resume so that you are at least called to interviews where you can impress them in person. Ultimately, a career switch can be a very welcome change and something you should consider pursuing no matter what if you’re not happy in your current field.
Understanding the Challenges of Changing Careers