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Midlife Career Change, Crisis or Quest?

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Midlife career change has increasingly become mainstream as the current corporate environment becomes riddled with lay offs, downsizing, at-will terminations and outsourcing. For some, this can lead to opportunity, but for most people this leads to an unexpected shock. The reality of having traded your life for a false sense of security can be devastating.

As more people are forced to make a midlife career change due to failing industries and an ailing economy, they encounter many challenges. One of these obstacles, perhaps the most prevalent, is age bias.

Many people have found opportunity under such adverse conditions. So, if you have recently been downsized, laid-off or terminated, find inspiration in knowing that when you follow your passions, dreams, and values, your life can become “richer” than it was before.

If you are making a midlife career change, voluntarily or otherwise, your next steps will include self-assessment or evaluation, goal setting, strategic planning, targeting and marketing.

Before another day passes, ask yourself these questions:

Are you dissatisfied with the direction your career is going?

Do you wonder what you really want to be when you grow up?

Here are 10 tips for handling a midlife career change or career transition:

1. Maintain a positive attitude about your abilities and your future. This is important because your non-verbal communication reflects your attitude.

2. Carve out focused time for your search and interview preparation.

3. Have clear intention and purpose. Use a sheet to track what you accomplish on a daily basis and assess your results weekly.

4. Assess what you are good at and be proud of your past accomplishments. Be able to communicate and identify your skills and strengths.

5. Honestly assess your areas for growth and begin the development process where needed.

6. Assess what you have learned from previous experiences, both good and bad. Determine how you can use this going forward.

7. Cultivate networking relationships by giving to others first. Show that you care about others.

8. Take some time for yourself to renew emotionally, mentally and physically. The career transition process can be draining.

9. Don’t go it alone. Join groups in career transition and midlife career change.

10. Believe that there is a perfect choice available for you.

Perhaps, this midlife career change is being triggered by your desire to find a career that is both emotionally fulfilling and financially rewarding. You are probably searching for a career that would be truly in alignment with your values, expertise and life purpose. As we get older, we start wondering if we are living our true life purpose.

Career transition is about you making an informed, conscious, and determined career change decision that you will act upon confidently and decisively.

Here are additional steps to follow when making a midlife career change:

1. Use LinkedIn. It’s an excellent social networking site for professionals who want to make contacts and receive job offers.

2. Carefully choose your target industry. As you get older, you will have a harder time breaking into some professions, like science or finance. However, areas like nonprofit and consulting offer fewer barriers to entry.

3. Tailor your resume to fit your target industry. You have most likely acquired skills that are transferable to the new target industry, even if you don’t have directly related experience.

4. During the interview, experts say, it is better to come across as overly excited than too subdued. Demonstrate that you will have the energy to “fight the daily fight” and transcend age.

If you are really ready for a midlife career change, you will need to be determined and willing to persevere. Regardless of the obstacles in your path, you can succeed in your new career choice or business.

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