change careers

Guide to Successfully Navigating a Career Change, by Emeritus CHRO Ganesh S

Brad Pitt was a limo driver. He drove people to and from bachelor parties. He also helped move furniture. And guess what? He even dressed up as a giant chicken mascot for a restaurant chain! At the age of 24, he finally entered the movie industry and never looked back. Colonel Sanders, on the other hand, found his calling at the age of 65 and launched KFC. His recipe was rejected 1,009 times before anyone accepted it. Today there are over 24,000 KFC branches across 145 countries! For those who are passionate and determined, age does not determine when they can change careers. If you are wondering how to make a successful career transition, Emeritus CHRO Ganesh S tells you how to responsibly make the switch at any age!


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What is the Right Age to Change Careers?

While it’s expected of 20-something-year-olds to switch careers until they find their true calling, most don’t even dream of it after a certain point. It is a common misconception that switching to a new career path is nearly impossible for senior working professionals. According to Randstad, people are now changing their careers every three to five years and an average person holds over ten job titles during their career. Clearly, age is no longer a barrier to change careers, and the digitized new world we live in only makes it easier to do so. Ganesh says,

“The choice to hire someone with different industry experience completely depends on the type of company that is hiring and the problem they are trying to solve. I was once hiring senior candidates for a banking company. They did not want anyone from the banking sector because they wanted a fresh perspective. The candidate, they believed, would bring an outside-in approach that would help solve problems faster and more efficiently.”

Also Read: After 20 Years, Pete Chu Switched to His Dream Career Path at 43. Find Out How?

5 Steps to Change Careers at Any Age

#1: Evaluate Your “Why”

career changePeople have various reasons to change careers. It could be due to technological advancement, stagnation in the current role, future-proofing their career, or better pay, to name a few. It is important to find out why you want to change your career path. 

Don’t make knee-jerk reactions because you had a bad day at work or because you did not get the promotion as planned. Build a five-year career plan and evaluate the possibilities. Run towards something rather than away from it. Ganesh adds,

“Every career change move is like a life event, it has to be for a purpose – something with what you have in mind for yourselves personally, in the long run. Like no ‘life event decision’ can be made impulsively, a career change can never be reactionary.”

Also Read: Not All Careers Have a Straight Path to the Top, Says Lisa Rohrer

#2: Do Your Due Diligence

Now that you know why you wish to switch careers, it is a lot easier to proceed. Do your due diligence and find out everything about the new career path: 

  • What is the future? 
  • Have others in your network made this transition?
  • What are the skills needed?
  • Are you ready for this switch or do you need to prepare further?
  • Is the pay substantial?
  • Which potential company can you apply to?
  • Do you need any special certifications?

“It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Remember the change is not just for the next salary differential or just because you need to change your current manager. There has to be more to it. You should never be in a position of looking out again a few months after you start a new job or role. Desperate moves only land you in more desperate situations,” says Ganesh S.

#3: List All the Skills Needed

Find out what skills are required to enter and excel in the new career path. Bifurcate these skills into new skills and existing skills. Existing skills will be the ones you already possess. New skills will be the ones you must acquire before making the transition. Additionally, explore online courses and certifications that you can complete in order to strengthen your profile. Ganesh adds,

“The best way to highlight your skills would be on your resume. Based on the kind of role you are applying for, your resume must be tweaked. Check out the job description, add the necessary skills in the form of keywords, and make a crisp one-page resume that highlights your education, experience, and exposure. Do not over- or under-state your skills!” 

Also Read: CHRO Ganesh S Shares the Top 5 Resume Mistakes Candidates Make

#4: Focus on Transferable skills

Career changes do not imply that you have to start from scratch. Transferable skills play a huge role in career transitions and it is important to highlight them on your resume. If you are a teacher, then you have good organizational and communication skills. As a sales consultant, you have a customer-focused mindset and excellent interpersonal skills. Every profession has a bunch of such transferable skills that cannot be learned from books! 

“We live in a world where skills are transferable. People are seamlessly moving across industries and performing exceedingly well. The market today is open to those making brave career switches at any stage of their career,” adds Ganesh.

Also Read: These Top 5 Transferable Skills are a Must-Have on Your Resume

#5: Learn, Upskill, and Reskill

According to the World Economic Forum, the half-life of any professional skill is five years. So, if you wish to stand apart and get noticed by hiring managers, then continuously learning is the only way forward. If companies come across a profile that exhibits this zeal to learn, they will definitely set up a conversation with the candidate. With the world moving at an accelerated pace, it is vital to continuously learn, upskill, reskill, and stay updated. Ganesh adds,

“In the words of Socrates, Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel. You have to keep learning as long as you have the burning desire in you to excel. With technology, skill sets, cultures, and workways evolving, the need to continuously learn is no longer a good to have. There simply is no alternative.”

You can now manage your current job and learn new skills. Check out the online courses offered by Emeritus. All our courses are handcrafted in association with the world’s best universities. 

By Manasa Ramakrishnan

Found this useful? If you want us to write about a particular career-related topic, write to us at content@emeritus.org

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