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Mid-Late Career Change

One of the things I experienced, and many of my clients have as well, is changing priorities as one moves towards the middle or end of their professional career.

Priorities Change

It seems to be a common phenomenon. As successful professionals hit their mid-late forties, they often begin to rethink their career. Many times, priorities shift from career aspirations for greater responsibilities and more income to spending more time with loved ones. Finding a job that has more personal meaning becomes more important.

This happens to both employed people and those in career transition. But changing career direction is difficult. The job market, although very strong for jobseekers, is still very challenging especially for the mid-late career person. Switching industries makes it even more challenging… but not impossible.

What Needs to be Done

So, what needs to be done to make a big career change?

  • Research things thoroughly. Often, the public perception of an industry or organization is different from reality. The research should include news and social media searches, as well as conversations with people familiar with the industry
  • If possible, gain exposure or experience before making a full commitment to make the move. This can come in the form of volunteering on a full-time or part-time basis. While doing so, interact with as many people as you can to get a true sense of the organization
  • Identify the experiences and transferrable skills that you will lead with in your marketing efforts. Your resume, LinkedIn® profile and responses to potential interview questions should be aligned with this messaging.
  • Regardless of where you’re looking for your next role, networking is key. This is especially true when switching industries. It will be difficult to get your resume through the first stage of screening whether it’s an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or a person. So, it will likely come down to who you know.
  • Get active in networking groups through channels such as Meetup®. You should also be engaged in LinkedIn groups associated with the industry of interest. Join the group, post or comment regularly to showcase your knowledge and skills and start or get involved in “conversations”.

If you’re currently employed, you have the advantage of time and income on your side. Use your time to begin following the steps above.

It’s Going to Take Time

If you’re unemployed, switching industries makes your job search more difficult. While the average job search may be 6-9 months, it may take a year or longer. If you can do that financially and it will truly make you happy, then consider going for it.

Another possibility is having a two-pronged search where you also look for a job in the area you have direct experience. This is difficult because of the lack of a single, focused message. But, if you can bring out the transferrable skills you have used and the experiences you have that is appealing to both areas, you should succeed one way or the other.

If you want help identifying the steps of the process to help you plan for winning your next job opportunity, click here to receive a short guide entitled “The Sher Process to Your Next Job”


Ken Sher

Ken Sher is an Career Coach and Executive Coach who focuses on the whole person when helping them with professional or personal issues they are trying to manage. Ken's areas of expertise include job search, career management and leadership development. If you would like to reach out to Ken, please call him at (215) 262-0528 or visit his web site at