Leverage Your Experience For A Mid Career Shift
Leverage your experience to start a new career
“People who are really happy at their work are usually happy over all. This is one of those variables that defines your value in the real world,” stated Career Consultant Julia Harris Wexler at one of Ellevate’s recent Jam Sessions entitled, “Mid-Career Shifts.” This is such a seemingly obvious statement, but how many of us have strategically navigated ourselves into careers that bring fulfillment? How many are just getting through the days and weeks for a paycheck?
Julia shares invaluable career advice for the professional woman—and for women re-entering the workforce after some time away.
The average work span in a person’s life is 40 years—and our “mid-life” is in two stages: ages 30-45 and ages 45-60. “If you think you are going to have one job at one company with one function, it’s not likely,” says Julia. So, are you ready for a change in your career? If so, where to begin?
It all comes down to who you are.
Begin by defining your professional identity. Who are you and what do you represent to the world? What are your strongest skills? Your assets? It’s necessary to define this to know your value in the market.
Make a list of 10–15 of your accomplishments. Look at the common themes that run through your list. Every interviewer is going to say, “Tell me about yourself.” Knowing your professional identity will help you create your elevator pitch for yourself. Be able to say who you are and what you do in one simple, compelling statement. This is your conversation starter about YOU.
Value your past experiences.
Don’t downplay all that you’ve accomplished. Leverage your past experiences to get you to the next place you want to be in your career. Learn about a new industry to define where your skills are transferable. Include “stretch skills” and keywords on your LinkedIn profile.
Develop a Professional Marketing Plan and Identify New Career Options.
Yes, a marketing plan for your career search is truly important. To be successful, Julia also advises to get smart about a new industry. “There’s always a choice in life about what path to take,” Julia states. The following steps can help lead you in making the best choices for you:
Who needs your skills the most?
Attend conventions and seminars. Join associations and groups on LinkedIn.
Identify your new career options.
Make a targeted list of the top 50 companies in a new industry.
Research their problems and bring a solution.
Write an ideal job description for yourself.
Ask yourself: What do I do naturally that makes me happy and that makes money?
There’s no getting away from a killer resume.
As Julia stresses, the resume is still the one thing between you and a meeting. Your resume should be bulleted and easy to scan with keywords. It should provoke conversation.
Your LinkedIn profile should not duplicate your resume. Write a strong headline (not just a job title). Infuse the profile with keywords. Ask former managers to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn.
Your cover letter should be tailored to the needs of the job. Whose problem are you solving? Address that problem. A follow-up letter after the interview is a marketing opportunity, so take advantage of this point of contact.
What is professional fulfillment?
Find your purpose. Think about where you can make an impact. All of Julia’s career advice leads up to this seminal goal.
Your professional identity + values alignment = professional fulfillment.
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