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Why more experienced professionals shouldn’t be afraid of a career re-direction

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 29 Jun 2022

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Are you thinking of finding a new job, maybe in a new sector of engineering? But feel like your level of experience could potentially hold you back? You might have reached a point in your current job where you either don’t feel happy with it anymore or you want something different and new to reignite your passion for your job.

Whatever reasoning you may have, your age or your experience in the industry, no matter what stage of your career, shouldn’t feel like a barrier between you and the job you really want. No one should have to endure a job that doesn’t bring them happiness anymore and whether you are new to the field or close to retirement, you have a right to feel satisfied with your work life. Age shouldn’t be something that gets in your way and we have some advice on why you shouldn’t be afraid to take the plunge and redirect your career in the way you want!

It’s never too late

The most important thing to remind yourself is that it’s never too late to make a change. Not everyone finds what they want to do straight away and there isn’t a time limit on your career or your goals. The working world really has changed dramatically over the years and it’s still rapidly changing now. You’re not expected to stay in jobs for long periods of time anymore and loyalty is measured through your determination to work instead of a time period. So, forget about time and focus on what you want to do and your skills. Employers want to know you are right for the role and should never focus on age.

Your skills are transferable

Is there an industry you’ve always wanted to work in? If you’re changing sectors, it is worth taking a good amount of time to think about this and once you know for sure, start assessing your skills, experience, and planning goals to help you get the job you want.

Most things are done online now, and interviews are taking place online more and more frequently. The online job search is here to stay, and this can be nerve wracking for some job seekers who have never had to do this before. However, it’s just one more skill you can learn and add to your CV. Additionally, showing the courage to try something new and being determined is a great hit with employers.

You may feel like you don’t have every skill needed to take on a job in a new sector and the truth is you probably don’t. But you will always have something to offer. Whether they are hard engineering skills that can always be used/needed in other sectors or soft skills like management and organisation skills, what you have is valuable. It’s easy to forget what we have learnt over the years but take some time to think about what you CAN do opposed to what you can’t. Your CV will end up being full of skills that employers will be looking for.  Everything else, you can learn along the way.

Training doesn’t have an age limit

When you start a new job, it’s likely that you will receive the correct training from the employer to ensure that you are able to do the job to a good level. If they hired you, they should know about both your strengths and weaknesses and make sure that they give you the correct resources to be able to feel comfortable. This is why you need to be honest on your CV and in interviews. The employer wants to help you be the best employee you can be, in order to benefit both you and them.

Just because you are an older professional, doesn’t mean you should or have to know everything. Age means nothing and you may feel a lot of pressure to try and be perfect. Everyone may feel this at some point during their job search and you can overcome it. Employers shouldn’t want perfection; they want professionals that are willing to learn and transfer their skills. Afterall, there are a lot of skills you may have that simply cannot be learnt, showcase them.

Companies want diversity!

Your initial thought when you think about changing jobs might have been ‘no one is going to want to hire someone my age!’. Well, why not? Employers are looking for diversity and age is a part of that. Plus, you have years of experience! Even if it’s not in the same sector, life experience is very valuable.

I’m not going to lie; some employers can be sceptical about hiring someone in a higher age bracket. Age discrimination may still exist in some companies, so it’s important to look out for red flags in the early stages of your application. You want to ensure you find a job you’ll be happy in and a supportive company to match.

One thing some older professionals worry about is technology. is always changing and for some reason the older generation are stuck in a stereotype of them not fully understanding it! (Definitely not true for everyone!) However, you have worked for a long time and kept up with a lot more than just some software. Ensure the interviewer knows that you are a quick learner, make sure you have skills that link in with what they’re looking for and, in all honesty, they should really teach you how to use all of their software. So, although there still might be a bit of ageism in companies (not all of them), step up and take the plunge anyway. Don’t let anyone tell you how to run your own career.  

The fear of not being good at it

When you are looking to change the direction of your career, there are always going to be things that you don’t understand straight away. There will be things you have to take the time to learn, and you might not be in the same financial situation because of it. However, this is true at any age! Remember when you were just starting out and were nervous about getting your first job? Well, you got through it then and you can get through it now. Not everyone can be good at everything at first, and most people don’t get the hang of a new skill straight away. You have to remember you are doing this to make you happy and once you find a reason to carry on and keep trying, it will get easier.

Maybe you’re worried about regretting it? Well, it can be common to take the wrong career path, but you’ve already realised you’re on the wrong one, so keep going until you find it. Fear can make everything seem more difficult, but without it, we’d never push ourselves enough to get what we really wanted.

Changing your career direction is never easy. But a person’s career choices can change, and employers are noticing this. People change jobs more often; they want to try new things and it is not expected of you to know what you want to do for the rest of your career when you’re 20 and starting out. Interests can change and there are many more factors involved that can lead you to change career later in life and it should be embraced and not feared.