As older workers reach a certain point in their careers, they start thinking about ways they can continue to contribute and make an impact. What once felt like a natural stopping point (retirement) has become a chance to take stock and pursue new avenues.
Writing for the Financial Times, Lindsay Cook interviewed Anita Hoffmann, author of Purpose and Impact: How Executives are Creating Meaningful Second Careers. Hoffmann had a reinvention of her own– she went from working in the chemicals industry to management consulting, eventually starting an executive placement and coaching consultancy of her own.
As we noted in an earlier article, freelancing and consulting are opening up new avenues for the 50+ worker. At the most senior levels, Hoffmann helps corporate clients create opportunities on specific projects for executives who are between jobs. It’s a win-win proposition, allowing the business to tap into the consultant’s experience at a fraction of the cost of hiring them, while the consultant builds their network and keeps their skills sharp.
Hoffmann offers the following advice to execs in their fifties and above who are looking to make the transition to a second career:
Get comfortable with social media. LinkedIn will help you find contacts in the industry and companies that appeal to you. Twitter, LinkedIn Groups, and Facebook will connect you with the latest news and discussion in your field. The importance of digital skills can’t be overstated. “Everyone born before the millennial generation needs to invest serious time and energy into developing digital skills or we will be close to unemployable in five years’ time,” Hoffmann says.
Reach out to others who have made the jump. The best place to start is with people in your network who have made a big change in careers. Don’t be shy– most people love sharing their experiences with someone who is seeking their advice. Don’t forget to thank the person giving advice, and let them know where your next steps take you.
When you’re stuck, bring in a coach. Someone looking to make a 180 shift in their career may need help getting up up to speed on the requirements of a major career change. An executive coach, while expensive, can lay the groundwork for a successful career transition.
Rethink your salary expectations. Hoffmann advises that those who shift to a new career path post-50 should not expect to earn as much as they did from their original careers. “The secret is to realise that living more frugally and consuming less is enjoyable if you find a job you care about,” she says.
Read the article: Your second career could last for 30 years