Switching Careers at Any Age

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Current Concorde students and recent graduates might not realize or remember this, but there once was a time when people settled into one job after college and stayed in it for decades, maybe even the entirety of their career. But those days are long past. It's common today for the typical worker to bounce among several employers, even careers, as they work their way up the corporate ladder and endure layoffs. This also holds true for health care careers.

In this uncertain era of constant corporate restructuring, flexibility and the ability to adapt to new skills and demands at any age is crucial to success. It doesn't have to be as frightening and intimidating as it appears. In fact, some will tell you changing careers, no matter what age, can be one of the best things that can happen.

The rewards of changing health care careers

"Switching jobs at any age can be a little challenging, but also very rewarding," said Carla Connington, Graduate Employment Specialist at Concordes campus in Southaven, Miss.

Here is why Connington said. Whether you have been in the workplace for a couple of years or 30, you are bringing skills to a company. Whether you realize it, you already have learned work skills that can transfer to a new career, such as workplace etiquette, responsibility, possibly computer skills, teamwork and customer service, to name a few. Even if it doesn't apply directly to your new career, these skills still have value. This especially is the case when referring to the specialized skills that come with most health care careers.

Bringing experience to the interview

Employers look for many things, starting with first impressions during an interview, Connington said. Having been in the workplace for a while, a seasoned worker will know to dress professionally and bring a current resume to the interview. Having reference letters from former employers is a big plus as well.

"Overall, moving forward in your career, whether you stay in your current job or move forward in a completely different direction, you will be growing in your career as well as a person," she said. "Go for it!"

It's all about timing and understanding where and who you are

Ian Kreeger, Graduate Employment Specialist at Concordes campus in Orlando, Fla., said it's always a good idea to place yourself in the employer's shoes.

"You will usually come up with what they are looking for, thus, what they need from you, the candidate," he said. "Armed with the library of information that's available to all of us, there should never be a situation where you’re not sure what is really needed."

Research, prepare and think about your career "Timeline," Kreeger said. Many of the cliched resume rules no longer exist if you're middle-aged and experienced. For instance, don't worry about keeping the resume to one page. All your previous experience won't fit. Instead of listing a career objective - that's probably obvious by now - list a career summary. Let that employer know what you can do for them.

Also, Kreeger said, you definitely can delete the "References Available Upon Request."

"That's something that went out with the Casio calculator," he said.

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