Whether you’re making a career change by choice or out of necessity, you can take steps to help ensure a smooth and successful transition. AARP is here to help with a variety of resources with plenty of information on finding a job or starting your own small business.
Follow these 10 tips to help you structure your job search and make a successful transition to a new career.
1. Inventory your skills
- Draw four columns on a sheet of paper. In the first column, make a list of all of your skills, including those learned on the job, acquired through volunteering or in school, and skills that are simply part of who you are.
- This will help you uncover skills you might otherwise overlook, either because you didn’t use them in your previous work, or because you take them for granted.
2. Match your skills to outcomes
For each skill identified in your inventory, list in the second column how you have applied it. In the third column, list the results of applying that skill. For example, let’s say one of your skills is project management. You could list “producing an event,” for example, in the second column, and “came in under budget” in the third column. Now you have a document that defines you by a set of skills rather than just by your experience.
3. Identify jobs that need your skills
In the fourth column, identify jobs that require the skills you possess. This will help you identify roles that may interest you and where you can capitalize on your skills. The stronger the connection between your skills and potential jobs, the higher the chance you’ll land an interview.
4. Create résumés based on your skills
- Once you’ve identified jobs that match your skills, create multiple résumés aimed at those jobs, so each one you send is targeted to a specific opening.
- Include keywords or industry-specific terminology from the job description in each résumé.
- Focus on your skills, how they have been applied and subsequent outcomes, rather than just a tally of your experience.
- Visit www.aarp.og/WorkResources for help creating résumés, cover letters and more.
5. Practice for interviews
In preparation for interviews, practice articulating your background as a set of skills. Rehearse how you will convey your personal brand to help you sell your talents and skills. Check out AARP’s tip sheet on creating a personal brand.
See also: Job tips for 50+ workers
6. Update your look
Make sure your appearance reflects current styles. Consider buying a new interview suit or updating your hairstyle to ensure your appearance reflects someone who is ready to compete in today’s work environment.