Author Topic: Mid-Career Transition  (Read 2590 times)

Badshah Mamun

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Mid-Career Transition
« on: June 17, 2012, 07:43:59 PM »
Mid-Career Transition

Planning to switch from one career to another? Don't be discouraged - people do it every day. has a few tips for you.

It is never too late to start again. Many investment bankers turn internet gurus mid-career, lawyers turn businessmen, businessmen turn real estate developers, engineers turn architects and the list is endless. If you are feeling completely unfulfilled with your career and know that changing jobs, companies or locations won't change that, or if you have taken time off to pursue other interests and are ready to start a new role, don't fret. It is never too late to start afresh, providing you plan ahead and follow a few basic rules.

Here are tips to ease you through your career transition as provided by the Middle East's #1 job site
Identify what you've always wanted to do

Fifteen years in construction engineering left you with dust in your eyes and a dull, grey outlook on life. You're ready to get some emotional fulfillment from your next job and exercise your creative flair. You're just not sure what to do!

For some, the decision to switch careers is based on some life-long desire to do a particular job, say jewelery design or fabric painting. For others, old jobs have become tedious and unfulfilling but the future course is unclear.

Take this time to examine your priorities, your values, interests and goals in life. Ask how important the financial element is versus the geographic or creative or intellectual or interpersonal element. If you don't know what you want to do next, narrowing down your parameters of interest helps you focus. Research different areas, read business journals, travel, scout business fairs and read college brochures to identify an area of business/ study that will enthrall you and meet your life objectives. Consider franchise opportunities and setting up a small business of your own if you don't want to be employed again. You will be surprised at how many interesting opportunities are out there just waiting to be explored!

Utilize and package old skills

You've found that job you want but don't know how to get it. It doesn't help that you were a civil engineer and the job you now want is in new media advertising. Don't be discouraged. Take your CV and start dissecting your skills and past experience to find all those elements that would apply to your new role. You will be surprised at how many skills are interchangeable and constant across careers and disciplines. Highlight those common denominator skills and attributes. These include general computer skills, languages, organizational skills, leadership skills, quantitative, qualitative and problem-solving skills, relationship and interpersonal skills and creativity. Also highlight your general 'aptitude' for learning. Indicate how you learnt certain aspects of your past job in the minimal amount of time, got promoted early or assigned special projects or received praise for accomplishments etc. There are bound to be very many skills and attributes from your past job that will translate very well in your new role. Your task is to find them and highlight them.


This may be the time to go back to college or vocational school to get that degree/ training/ certification you've always wanted. Take this opportunity to study whatever it is that you've always been interested in.

If you have taken time off work to have children, travel, get married or other reasons, going back to school is a great way to beef up your CV, bring your skills up-to-date and enter the job market again on a competitive footing. That new course/ degree will make all the difference when it comes to competing with people already in the job market. Either continue in whatever direction you had previously taken, for instance get a master's or doctorate degree in your undergraduate specialization; or opt for something completely di fferent. For your new career you may well want to pursue something more artistic, or analytical, or intellectual, or technical, or perhaps take on a role that involves more interaction with people. Whatever it is you chose to do, retraining will polish up your skills, make you competitive in the job market and allow you to meet others in the particular field and challenge yourself.

Leverage clients and connections

Network, network, network. Talk to everyone you know about the jobs they do as you look for a suitable direction to take. Contact the alumni association at your college to get in touch with alumni in the fields that interest you and attend career fairs to get in touch with what's out there. Get a feel for different areas and industries. Ask about pros, cons, pay, hours and career satisfaction. Get as much advice as you can from people already doing the work.

Once you have identified your future career direction, leverage your contacts to get your CV in the best shape possible and to get the interviews you want. Your connections will come in very useful in helping you secure the future job of your dreams. If you can find a mentor in the field you want to pursue, that would be ideal. Find out from these mentors how to best go about educating yourself for your future role; what courses to take, what seminars to attend, what books and journals to read and how to approach your job search.

Perfect your marketing kit

Your CV and cover letter should be geared to your new role. Emphasize past experience and skills that are adaptable to your desired position and future career. Elaborate on the relevant items and focus less on technical jargon and skills that are completely irrelevant in your new role. Run the CV and cover letter by friends/ acquaintances in the new field to make sure they are in the best possible shape.

Build a roadmap for success

Plan for success in your future role right down to the nitty gritty details. By now you should have a very good idea of what is needed for success in your new role. Set goals for yourself and milestones to achieve these goals. For instance, if you are leaving a marketing career to enter an investment brokerage environment, your plan of action may include reading the Financial Times every morning, watching the financial news channels, taking a crash course in Finance before starting and several evening courses after, fine-tuning your computer skills, building relationships in the industry with people/ institutions you have pre-selected, joining industry groups etc. Visualize yourself already successful in this new endeavor then work backwards to see how you got there.

Don't look back

A radical career change often means completely different working hours, responsibilities, work environment and peer culture. To adapt to this new life, you must slowly shed all vestiges of your old cardiologist or Leonardo de Vinci self. Your old self-image of yourself painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel must be slowly altered to suit your new role as dental hygienist or maths professor. Acquire the tools of the new trade, the skills, the education, the relationships and don't look back. Emulate those who have succeeded in this new role before you and visualize yourself succeeding just as much by learning from them and from every other resource available.

May you excel in your new role!
Md. Abdullah-Al-Mamun (Badshah)
Member, Skill Jobs
[email protected]