Mid-career professionals reach this status after more than a decade in their industry. Most 30 to 45-year-olds fall into this category. At the same time, individuals in this age range change their career track at least two times during this period.
Career changers have diverse reasons for doing so. People may uncover their passions later in life and choose to switch their careers to pursue them. Burnout is also a common reason people leave their fields. Other factors such as job availability, income potential, or better work-life balance can cause mid-level professionals to deviate from their current career paths.
Making a career transition as a mid-level professional has its benefits and challenges. Generally, people at this stage have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. After 10 years, most professionals have gained valuable skills that can transfer across industries.
On the other hand, mid-level career changers may find it difficult to secure positions with the same level of responsibility or income as their previous role. People at this stage also have demands outside of their work, such as caring for children or elderly parents, which can limit their ability to take risks.
Despite these challenges, making a career change as a mid-level professional is the right choice for millions of people. The following tips will benefit anyone considering a career change after gaining experience in their current industry.
The nonprofit sector focuses on issues linked to every industry imaginable. Volunteering with an organization is one of the best ways to get a foot in the door while gaining insight into a new field.
Nonprofits also offer volunteer opportunities at various levels, and mid-level professionals have skills and experience that are in high demand. In addition to roles in management, recruiting, finance, and training, nonprofits need well-connected professionals to serve as board members.
While some volunteer roles are full-time positions, the vast majority only require part-time hours or are offered on a temporary basis. This flexibility is advantageous for career changers in demanding jobs that leave little time for career exploration.
By volunteering in a related field, career changers can show their aptitude for the type of roles they are seeking in their new career. Further, nonprofit staff or board members can write compelling letters of recommendation or serve as a reference.
Earn a Certificate
Many career changes require further education. In some fields that can mean returning to university to obtain a new bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, mid-level professionals have enough work experience to demonstrate their capacity and expertise in their industry without an additional diploma.
Enrolling in an industry-recognized certificate program allows professionals to learn and demonstrate career-specific skills without the time and economic commitment of an advanced degree.
Certification programs can also qualify mid-level professionals for management positions in a different field. For example, a project management credential, such as CPP certification, qualifies experienced individuals to work as project managers in dozens of industries.
Revise Your Resume
One of the most difficult obstacles for career changers is translating current skills to fit the requirements of a different industry.
As many human resources and recruiting departments use application tracking systems to filter through applications, resumes must be formatted properly to pass these screenings.
Instead of listing job experience, career changers should start their resume with a list of skills and competencies that are essential in both the current and desired career. Applicants can review job descriptions to identify key skills to incorporate into their resumes.
Since career changers have a unique profile, recruiters most likely won’t be able to connect how an applicant’s past experience is relevant to the new field. For this reason, applicants should also include an objective statement that clearly explains how their background makes them a good fit for the role.
Network in the Field
A great resume can open doors, but nothing is more effective than a personal introduction. Networking with people within the target field is essential for making relationships that could lead to a career changer’s first position.
Networking doesn’t need to be a formal or stressful experience. Candidates can start with their own professional connections, and see if anyone in their circle is in the industry. Outside of friends, families, and colleagues, career changers can seek out other professionals through conferences, industry-focused associations, and social media. In addition, you may want to seek networking outside of your country, for instance in Canada, as there are many companies that are looking for employees overseas. Before hiring them, they must submit an LMIA application, to make the process of enhancing their team with foreigners legal.
Consider an Internship
While internships are often associated with entry-level roles, they can actually benefit career changers with years of experience under their belts. Many corporations offer special internship opportunities, known as minternships, to attract mid-career talent.
Companies benefit by bringing in skilled professionals for a temporarily lower salary, while candidates gain irreplaceable work experience and industry connections. Many mid-level internships culminate with an offer for a full-time position.