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Mid-Life Career Changes: What You Need To Know To Beat Out The (Younger) Competition

The following post is courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap:

The days when a young college grad could start with a great company and settle in for a 30-year promotion-filled career are gone.  Not only do we job-hop from company to company these days, more and more of us career-hop…but that’s where it gets tricky.  Career-hopping in mid-life brings a unique set of challenges for the job candidate.  It can be done, and done well. 

Older candidates can bring experience, good judgment, and stability to a position, but there are a few negative stereotypes you might have to overcome before you land the job.  Older workers have a reputation for not embracing change, not being willing or able to learn new technology, not having the energy or mental flexibility to keep up in a fast-paced position, and not being willing to take orders from a younger boss.  Here’s how you can get past those issues and get the job you want:

Energy and Flexibility

The only way to avoid these issues as a candidate is to constantly be learning:  read books, take classes, and keep up with the latest technology.  Some of this can go on your resume, but most needs to be discussed in your interview.  Make sure you bring up what you’ve read and what you’ve done lately to actively pursue your career.  Don’t rely on your job experience to carry you through.  Bring a great attitude to the interview, and let your energy and enthusiasm for the job show.

Embracing Change

Show that you can embrace change by what you have done to prepare for the position.  Read books, take a training course, get a mentor or a career coach, and consider job shadowing someone in the field you’re entering.  Especially if experience is an issue, create a 30/60/90-day plan.  This plan is a short outline for exactly what you will do in the first 3 months on the job.  To do one well, you have to research the company and the job pretty extensively….but it will show the hiring manager your energy, initiative, and enthusiasm while helping him see you in the job.  It sets you apart from other candidates and tips the scales in your favor.

Younger Boss?

If this is an issue for you, all I can say is “Get over it.”  Don’t think some young whippersnapper can’t teach you a thing or two just because you have a lot of experience.  There’s a reason that young person got the job. Find out what it is and see what you can learn from it, so that you can advance your career, too.  A good attitude about this issue will come through to the hiring manager and make you a more attractive candidate.

General advice for any job candidate

Be flexible, be available, be honest, and DO YOUR HOMEWORK.  So if you’re working with me as a medical sales recruiter, and I ask you, “What have you done to prepare for a sales job?” don’t say: “Why, nothing. I don’t have a sales job yet, so how would I prepare?” That’s not what I want to hear. I want to hear from someone who’s creative in their thought process, has looked on You Tube for instructional videos, has read some books, and has done a ride-along or a job shadowing. I want to see someone who knows why he wants a job in laboratory sales, medical device sales, or pharmaceutical sales. I want to see someone with energy, drive, passion, and a desire to do something more and different, and to make themselves better, more and different.  That’s what any hiring manager will want to see, too.

Author: Peggy McKee

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.


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