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How to Start a New, More Meaningful Career

Find out what it takes to find the new career you want

By Al Schoch and

You’ve made the decision to start a new career.

Now comes the hard part.

You’re sitting at your laptop, logging on to job sites and wondering why no one has snapped you up yet.

According to the 2011 Civic Ventures and MetLife Foundation study,  “Looking for an Encore Career? The Guide to Finding Work That Matters," entering a new field can take a while, and it won’t happen if you keep reaching for another cup of coffee.  You have to reinvent yourself, rework your resume and refine your interview skills to show that your experience is more than sufficient to enter a new field.

Make the Most for the Money

You may find that your dream job in a new field has a lower starting salary than your previous job. This could be a problem if you have mortgage or car payments or dependent children. You may be prepared to work at a lower salary to enter a new, more fulfilling line of work.  Still, it’s best not to settle on a salary that won’t help you live comfortably.

Without direct experience, you may have to start a new career as a volunteer. This gives you the opportunity to learn as much as you can about the company, make connections and build experience. Many companies promote from within, and a volunteer job has you in position to advance.

You may need to go back to school.  This doesn’t mean enrolling in a four-year college or moving into a dorm.  Community colleges  offer courses  of study and certification programs for experienced workers who want to update their skills prepare for a new career.  Going back to school will cost money, but there are student loans out there to lighten the financial burden. 

The Jobs Are There

So just where are these so-called second career jobs?  In the study, Civic Ventures  and MetLife predict that the federal government may hire more than half-a-million people  to replace workers retiring by 2016.


The study also points to expansion in so-called "green jobs," that help the environment. These can require classes for certification or starting out as a volunteer. 

Your commitment level is even more tested for trying to break into the health care field.  It’s likely you need to take college courses, if they are available.

Then there’s striking out on your own, being your own boss.  This ambitious direction for strategic, results-oriented people can be a major risk. For help getting started, read Civic Ventures' Guide to Finding Work That Matters linked below.

Civic Ventures' Get Started Guide to Finding Work that Matters
Pathways to Encore Careers: How 10 Community Colleges Are Preparing Boomers for Work in Education, Health Care and Social Services

Go Green for Your Next Career
Find Jobs With Social Purpose in Health Care

This article was originally published by Nov, 2009.

Al Schoch Read More
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