Midlife Career Changes: Where to Begin

4 minute read

Embarking on a new career can be a daunting process. And never more so than when you’re already established in your existing one. But making that move is becoming increasingly common so don’t think you’re alone in looking for a change.

The Office for National Statistics reports that 18.9% of 35- to 49-year olds are overqualified or overeducated for their jobs, which we can attribute to the rise of the midlife career swap. Roughly 1 in 5 middle-aged people are giving up their honed-out careers in favour of starting again with something new. As working lives last longer it’s little wonder that this is the case. The job for life is now a rare-breed and in today’s increasingly socially-conscious world, how we spend our working lives really matters. People are becoming ever more inclined to challenge themselves, take on a new project, and find work that’s truly meaningful to them.

So if you’re ready for a career that makes a difference, then here is how to go about actually getting it.

Midlife Career Changes: Where to Begin

Learn how to shift your skills

A big hurdle when moving sector is figuring where the skills gained from your previous role fit in. For candidates coming from the corporate sector this can be particularly tricky. When your business goals and KPI’s shift from profit margins to seeing tangible changes in society, it also means you need to amend the way you present your skills.

In a recent episode of 9 to Alive, we interviewed Michelle Okwudiafor to find out how she went about making the change from corporate to non-profit. Michelle put it best when she said, ‘you’re working with real people [and] impact is at the heart of what you do. Once you understand this, you’re better able to tailor your skills’.

So think about all those skills that you possess, and don’t disregard your personal qualities in that list either. Now consider how you can apply them to the goals of the charity you wish to work for.

Watch the full interview with Michelle to find out how she put her skills to better use working as an Internal Engagement Officer at a charity and contributing to real positive change.

Discover what roles are out there

When you have little experience of a sector, you may not know all the roles that exist because they were simply not necessary in the working environment you were previously in. Roles such as Celebrity Relationships Manager, Campaigner or Fundraiser are most likely entirely new ones to you.

A good way to get started is to type in various keys roles on CharityJob that relate to your interests and see what comes up. Really take the time to discover what’s out there and how it could tie in with the skills or personal qualities you already possess.

In our 60 seconds series over on 9 to Alive, we give you a snapshot into the different roles existing in the sector. Check out this one where we challenge Sarauniya Shehu, a Project Coordinator at Brooke Action for Working Horses and Donkeys, to tell us everything she loves about her job in just 60 seconds.

Get to know what a charity hiring manager really wants

Now you’ve hopefully discovered what the right role for you in a charity is and how your skills could tie in, this next step is absolutely crucial.

We touched on it earlier but charity hiring managers really are looking for something slightly different to those at corporates. Adèle Bird is a recruitment manager at Leonard Cheshire, and has spent an entire career working in the charity sector so knows exactly what she is searching for in a candidate. In this interview, she shares her secrets with us about what makes a killer application, how to present yourself in the best possible light and ways to demonstrate that your values align with those of the charity. The final point there is a really important one, and one often overlooked by career shifters. At the heart of charities, they really do care about others and want to see that you do too.

So whilst things like voluntary work might be less relevant when applying to a corporate company, in the world of charity this experience is crucial. Check out the full video for more tips from Adèle.

If you’re ready to embark on a career that makes a difference, check out what’s available on CharityJob today.

Georgina D'Souza

Digital Marketing Executive at CharityJob. Lover of cat-related memes.

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