Mid-Life Career Transition


“I am now at a stage of my life where any changes in one’s career can be for some, catastrophic.” Now don’t be alarmed, I am only expressing what one person said to me after being laid off at ‘ZERO’ notice in mid-life.

The ceiling on the world caved in for this long standing successful professional. So where I am going with this?

Career advice; and I am speaking from experience here, is often geared towards the less seasoned members of our community and commercial world. Now there’s nothing at all wrong with this, on the contrary; if you have perhaps left school with below par qualifications, or indeed have just gained that degree of choice from your university, then the next step forward is potentially life changing.

However what if you have already been working for 30 years or more,  you’re still active, still driven and still believe that you have yet to fulfil your career ambitions? What about you!?

A little empathy… You have been laid off work and now unemployed. You still have a mortgage, other credit commitments, teenagers or young adults still at home adding to the domestic overheads and stress, you’re having real emotional and mental difficulty adjusting to this unexpected and unwanted new status, you endure sleep disruption and increased sensitivity to everything.

What to do? Well in my empathetic example above, there’s a series of issues that need examination and understanding. One can clearly find that from the first action, there’s an almost unlimited chain reaction that permeates so many areas of one’s life chart.

Two things come to mind immediately. Safe guard your fiscal commitments as soon as possible! The other is more pertinent to this article; addressing the root cause. So take stock, prepare and let’s get you back to work ASAP!

• NETWORK: At this stage of your career, you should have established a sound network of peers and professional points of reference. If not, don’t waste any time by promoting yourself in the areas of ability that you represent, or wish to be associated with. Internet sites; http://www.linkedIn.comhttp://www.xing.comhttp://www.plaxo.com – get your profile uploaded on http://www.zoominfo.com

• Before you shoot off and register your CV on job boards and with agencies – evaluate it, and research them carefully. Take a very close look at your career document, a real close look. Your CV/resume should be looking forward and NOT backwards. At this stage of your career, it’s not necessarily what you have done that ‘really’ matters, it’s what ‘value add’ you can; and will be perceived to be bringing to the corporate table.

• I am not going to teach you to suck eggs here, but the presentation of your CV is vital; at this stage and this relates to the above point, it can read like War and Peace if you are not too careful – the design and the content presented needs to be punchy, clear and must immediately resonate with the decision-making reader (no one else really matters), so find out as much about who this person is and make every effort to reflect his or her ‘must-haves’ and or needs. This is critical, and dare I say often overlooked. I will remark by saying that some recruitment and search consultants, have a greater interest in generating fees than whether you will be pulling up trees in your next role over the next 3 – 5 years.

• How you ‘fit in’ will play a large part in the mind of the hiring authority. You are likely to be hired in a position of some authority, so ADAPTATION is important. Research the company and access all areas, from culture, history, market share, internal dynamics, to turnover and people investment. Bank this information!! Find out information on who may report to you and who you will be reporting to. Get it right, being able to convey your understanding of both, and being able to adapt with your audience effectively, can be the choice of your hired or frankly undesired!

• By now you will know that PERSONAL PRESENTATION is another critical tool in your career search bag. Remember you are a senior applicant; depending on what role you are seeking, please look the part! From shoes to watch, from finger nails to body language – first impressions really do count.

From the receptionist to your hiring audience, always say “Hello/good morning/afternoon, how are you?” wait for the surprised look, then the cheerful reply, now introduce your good self. Apply this tool of disarming your audience, then let me and those that matter know if it made a difference.

No credit will be taken for the style you may choose to use, but do try it and see what happens. Ensure good eye to eye contact throughout and be cheerful, bright and emit a can-do attitude. It will be sensed and will go a long way to determining a positive outcome.

• Finally, do not proceed in a haphazard fashion, you really cannot afford to hit and miss now. Gather your researched companies, agencies, consultants, job boards, networking sites and work them like there’s no tomorrow.

Preview success and success will transpire.

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