Steps to a Second Career

But it wasn’t my first career change.

I started out as a high school teacher, then worked in museum education and project management. Then as a mum content development became my business.

In the job world, for each change, I started in junior to mid-level positions. Over time I had opportunities to take on better projects or be promoted.

This was the same with my business.

I leveraged my past experience and started with small projects I could manage with looking after my daughter.

Then as I gained more time and more professional experience, I took on bigger projects.

Changing careers just needs a bit of planning

Sometimes you get lucky and you’re in the right place at the right time.

Other times you need a strategy to get you there.

This is what I did to change careers.

It worked for me every time.

  • Focus on your skills. Qualifications help you get a job when you’re 23 but not so much when you’re 33 or 43. By the time you’ve worked for five years, employers are more interested in what you’ve done at work and what skills you bring. For sideways moves, you need to show that your experience and skills are relevant. Concentrate on the transferrable skills you already have. But some jobs you just need the qualifications and for good reason. Work out the cheapest, quickest way to get the qualification you need.
  • Targeted connections. Networking didn’t do anything for my career changes but making direct connections with the right people did. A lot of networking events are just too big and wide. Put 150 people in a room and the chance of finding someone who needs what you offer is pretty small. It’s the same with Facebook and LinkedIn. Yes, there are two billion users on Facebook but where are the small percentage who actually need what you offer? Direct connections, with the right people in the right places, worked very well for me. Things like an unpaid internship and making direct contact with people who have the right projects or jobs.
  • Go above and beyond. You will have to join the dots for people. A lot of people just don’t know much outside their professional area of expertise. You have to educate them why they need you. Be clear about your skills that make you perfect for the job.