So you’re ready to take a second attempt at the career you want? You’re not alone. Plenty of boomer professionals are doing the same, re-entering the workforce or switching career paths in hopes of pursuing something new. But how exactly do you achieve that? Well, it’s not easy, as anyone who has tried can vouch for, but most everyone that seeks out an encore career is doing so based on passion and that can get you a long way. So how do you find that new career path that will leave you fulfilled? What do you need to know? How can you prepare for the journey? There is no quick path or sure-fire approach, but here are a few tips that can get you off and running towards that career you’ve always wanted.
What are your goals?
When searching for a job, you don’t want to be too rigid or specific about what you’re looking for, because the odds of the exact job you want being available is just not great. At the same time, you definitely want to have a solid idea of what you’re looking for. What do you want to achieve with this new career? How do you want it to differ from what you did before? Having answers to these questions and understanding your own preferences gives you a solid guideline to work from. An encore career is only worthwhile if you are able to do it your own way, so make sure you know what way that is before getting started.
While you can pretty much seek out any avenue you’d like for your career, when it comes to actually achieving it, you need to be a little more realistic. Starting a business based on a genuine passion of yours is an achievable dream, but that doesn’t mean you’re ready to pursue it yet. You need to consider a great number of things, including the skills required to make it happen, the market for that type of business, the money needed to develop the idea. That’s just for starters. Again, this is not something that is going to be easy and if the hill that is necessary to climb seems too high to you, that may be that is a sign you shouldn’t climb it at all. But if you’re willing to give it your all and are realistic about what needs to be done and the likely results, there’s no reason to hesitate.
As we have said again and again, in this day and age of job searching, networking is the best tool at your disposal. That is equally true when we’re talking about starting an encore career. Just because you’ve done it all before, don’t assume you have some sort of shortcut to finding a job. You need to approach this like anyone else who’s looking to start a career. You need to meet people and form relationships, and being that this is an encore career, you’ll need to grow your network beyond your old contacts. Move outside your comfort zone and embrace your inexperience. You’re the new kid on the block so don’t be shy about seeking advice and help from others. Meet new people in the field you’re interested in, talk to younger professionals, build a whole new network. No one said you have to do this alone.
While networking is extremely important, there’s no beating experience when you’re seeking a new job. But how do you get experience in a new career if you’re just starting out? The answer is volunteer. When you settle on the field of work that interests you, start looking for volunteer opportunities that will give you experience in that field. It might only be a small bit of work, but if you keep seeking out those opportunities, that experience will continue to grow and continue to teach you more about the business. Aside from that, volunteering is also a great way to grow your network, as well as start building relationships with businesses you admire.
Knowledge is the greatest tool you can have when seeking a new path. It can be daunting to start something new, but the more prepared you are the less daunting it becomes. And the best way to prepare is by learning as much as you can. Absorb everything you can about the subject you’re interested in. Look into the field and the skills necessary to succeed in the business. Take classes to fill those skill gaps. Think about when you started you first career and all the work you had to put in to become a professional. If you’re not willing to put the same effort in for your encore career, then what’s the point?