Career change after 50-even if you may not appear to be qualified.
You’ve done your research to make a career change after 50. You’ve talked to others working in you new planned career, rejected some possible new careers, studied the required qualifications and experience and find in your career change planning that you may be lacking making the cut in qualifications and background. What to do?
First, don’t even think that you have little or no chance of successfully making the transition to a new career after 50. In some jobs, you’ll have to plan on building your qualifications and experience but in others you have to see through the required qualifications and demonstrate your unique credentials for the career.
Yes, there are some careers that require a specific body of education, teaching for example, but even in engineering with relevant experience but without the formal educational component you can be a viable candidate.
How do the qualifications get listed in the job announcement? Many times they are just the qualifications and experience of the person who recently left the job. The human resource person or the department head writing the job requirements normally does not take the time to dig into what background really translates into finding a superior performer for the job.
You can quickly shortcut some of the most obvious required skills and abilities by attending relevant seminars and workshops. Self-study and internet learning are viable options.
There is a vast difference between learning something new and valuable to qualify for the career or simply just to prove you already know the material. Sometimes you have to do both making it easier to prove you have jumped through the required hoops. And many times it’s only spending a few days on an internet course or reading a book.
Your strong relevant experience and accomplishments should always trump education and learning. The key is to be clear in communicating the relevant skills and knowledge.
If for example, you are applying for the job as customer service manager with a national wholesaler of lighting products, with required skills working with specific computer software, and you have 10 years experience working as an expeditor for a large homebuilder. First fill in the gaps in your computer software skills. Self-study, working with someone skilled in the software, internet study should quickly make you qualified.
Now don’t you think you can pull together a list of customer service accomplishments effectively dealing with small contractors, union officials, vendors of all sizes and homeowner purchasing homes worth up to $500,000 all with tight inflexible deadlines that directly relate to the open customer service job? The differences in the two jobs is one required working outdoors on a muddy job site, the other in an office the job titles and industries.
With some research and study you can find what are the two or three most valuable skills required for the new career. With this information, you can demonstrate what abilities, skills and knowledge you bring to the new career after 50 and clearly bridge the supposed gaps between the two jobs. You demonstrate these qualities through a listing of achievements and accomplishments in your resume and cover letter.
Clearly communicating these qualities and accomplishments in a focused matter to the potential employer or recruiter should move you ahead of other candidates. And it’s equally important to follow this strategy through the telephone and the face-to-face interviews.
After all, the prospective employer may be interested in passing on you changing your career after 50, but will be more interested in how you can do the job and solve the challenges facing the job, department and company.