Most of us will reach a point when we become ready to leave the 24/7, high pressure job behind. We’re not longing for the rocker but wishing to take more time on projects or use experience in a different way.
Many employers are doubtful about the commitment of job seekers in their 50s and 60s, especially those who are looking to downsize their career. In order to get a foot in the door it’s necessary to retool your approach.
The first point of contact is likely to be a profile on Linkedin or Facebook. Change your headline to match the position that interests you. Replace text that suggests you are a dynamo with wording that supports your value in your target job. Realign accomplishments and experience with the words in the job posting or from your research into the employer or industry.
After you’ve refreshed your public persona, take time to look for employers who welcome mid- life game-changers and concentrate on developing contacts there. Encore.org, Idealist.org and Bridgespan.org are places to look for non-profit opportunities. There are also plenty of for-profit jobs.
The Encore Career Handbook by Marci Alboher is a good resource for second career seekers.
Contacts are the key to getting past the gatekeepers. Network, re-establish relationships with acquaintances who are in a position to introduce you, endorse your skills and give you good inside information.
You will also need a current resume and cover letter that reflect your value according to the requirements of the new position. Discard or minimize the other items currently on your resume.
When you get the interview you will most certainly have to convince the the interviewer that you will be effective in the job and happy to work fewer hours at lower pay. Prepare an elevator speech stating that you intentionally sought this position because it give you more flexibility in your personal life. It may appear that you are overqualified for this position, however, it is what you want at this point in your life and you are focused on meeting the needs of the employer rather than on career building.
Today, most workers change jobs every 4 years on average. People who haven’t reached mid career yet may have as many as 11 different jobs. Employers and their HR departments are accustomed to meeting people who change direction and start over more than once. Emphasize your adaptability and commitment over depth of experience to have a winning interview.