Thinking of a career change? Finding yourself searching for a job for the first time in years? Fear not.
Stepping back into the job market is often more daunting than starting out. It might feel like things have moved on without you. But while the nature of applying for jobs has changed, the basic qualities employers look for have not. Enthusiasm, adaptability, reliability and transferable skills are still key to getting a foot in the door.
Adaptable – what does it really mean?
We are all more than just the sum of our work. Whether just starting out or ten years into our careers, we all have different interests, hobbies, and education, any of which can become the foundation for a new career path. Your mind is absorbing information and changing all the time, so why shouldn’t you be able to broaden your career scope?
Don’t allow yourself to be restricted by the sum of your work experience, you are more adaptable than you think. Plus, many employers are keen to recruit people with ‘fresh eyes’ to a role, as it is often more rewarding to train someone in who is looking for a new challenge. Plus, if you have consistently demonstrated your reliability and adaptable skills in another area, that’s all the better.
You on paper
Begin by identifying those career-crossing skills on your CV. Write a list of absolutely every single thing you’ve done in your recent and past roles, big and small, and highlight those that are the same/similar to the responsibilities of the job you are applying for. Cross off everything else that isn’t relevant. Industry-specific qualifications are of course impressive but they can leave you being stamped as ‘overqualified’.
Instead of focusing on how much experience you have, emphasise how you have produced results over that time. The job market is all about return on investment (ROI), and it’s not the number of years you’ve clocked up, but the amount of achievements acquired in any given time period. So if you are going for a career change, use your cover letter to talk about when you were starting out and how you approached the challenges you faced as newcomer. This will give the employer an idea of how you will approach your new role.
It’s important to be visible. Increase your online presence. With the advent of social media being relatively recent, the advantage you have over younger applicants is the reduced likelihood of having any ill advised tweets or photos of a misspent youth to go through and delete. A clean and well thought out LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook account can be shaped to show your suitability and interest in the job areas you are applying for. Think of your online life as an ongoing networking event.
Where to look
You may want to look at these professional/senior targeted job sites:
The National Careers Service is a free service dedicated to providing careers advice, support, information and tools. The Service is run by the Skills Funding Agency and is not associated with the Jobcentre or the Department for Work and Pensions.
www.guardian.co.uk/guardian-professional offers sector specific insight and job listings for professional workers.
www.jobs.ac.uk is a professional and managerial job search site
www.experteer.co.uk Lists executive jobs in UK and Europe, used by 1000s of headhunters
www.overfiftiesfriends.co.uk an online community for over 50s with age targeted job ads and careers forum.