My husband changed positions twice during the past few years resulting in
unanticipated moves; these moves resulted in my separation from the workforce
for two years. Now my new location does not have opportunities in my old
profession and I have limited networks so I am considering a career change.
How would you suggest a person begin networking in a new field when they
have no local contacts? Can you advise any book or site that documents the
progress of individuals who make significant re-careering decisions in their
mid-30s to 40s?
I would also like to point out that my experience as an older career changer is
daunting because there seems to be a trend towards increased credentialism
over the past year that makes retraining longer and more costly. In particular
do you know of any list that shows the best jobs for older workers?
The Career Doctor responds:
Lots of great questions here and let me try to address each briefly.
Career change — at any age — is daunting. It takes a lot of hard work
planning and execution but career change is very possible. We have a
whole collection of career-change resources on our site located here:
Career Resources for Career Changers. And the best book on career
change in my opinion is David Helfand’s Career Change: Everything You
Need to Know to Meet New Challenges and Take Control of Your Career (McGraw-Hill).
Tips for building a network in a new career field? Start with informational interviews.
Identify mid-level professionals working in your new career and ask if they would
be willing to spend some time talking about their careers. Just about everyone
loves talking about themselves so most will agree to meet with you. Not only
are you building your network by meeting with these folks but you can also ask
each person you interview for suggestions on how to build your network… and it
all grows from there. Volunteering and searching out organizations are also
other great ways to build your network (and gain experience). Learn more in this
Interviewing Tutorial on Quintessential Careers.
Finally credentialing. Your observation is correct. Certification programs have
proliferated enormously in the past several years. At a minimum
nearly 1600 certifications are available according to the definitive directory on the
subject the Certification and Accreditation Programs Directory. Learn more in
this article published on Quintessential Careers:
Empowering: Hot Fields in Which Certification May Boost Your Career.