5 Steps For Navigating a Mid-Career Job Change

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

This is a question I get asked frequently, especially by people who have been in the same role or at the same company for several years:

"How do I navigate a job/career change?"


Maybe you feel underutilized in your current role, you've been laid off, or are looking to transfer industries. Here are the five steps I see successful people take:

1.Identify what you'd like to do next.

Research job descriptions, meet with a career coach, or job shadow roles you might be interested in. It's sometimes helpful to take assessments to learn more about yourself. Two of my favorites are 16 Personalities (similar to Myers Briggs) and Take Charge Well Being Assessment. The mid career point is a great time to invest in your well-being to keep you energized throughout your job search.

2. Update your LinkedIn Profile and resume.

Yes, you need both. Think of your resume as the "Cliffs Notes" version of your LinkedIn Profile. Create a base version of your resume which you'll refresh to reflect the keywords in specific job descriptions that you are applying for. You will have several versions!

On LinkedIn, focus on placing keywords in your profile, highlighting results and accomplishments, adding connections, and being active (i.e. posting industry relevant articles, endorsing people's skills).

Since resumes and LinkedIn can be time- and energy-consuming, consider hiring someone to help you. A couple hours with a pro will ensure your skills and experience are reflected in the best way possible to achieve your goals, highlight the most meaningful parts of your career, and ensure the format is current.

3. Identify companies you are interested in.

Be thoughtful and intentional - this isn't your first rodeo. You've seen enough to quickly identify environments that will and won't work for you and have skills and experience which companies are looking for. This means identifying companies you might like to work for and doing your research. Since you likely have a decent network established, leverage people you already know to make connections for you. Be prepared - many times these meetings can turn into informal interviews for roles that aren't even posted yet.

Honing in on 5-10 companies that you'd love to learn more about helps you begin the job search in a natural way. Reaching out to a friend or former colleague with "I'm curious to learn more about ABC company that you're currently with and the work they are doing in XYZ industry. Do you have 30 minutes for a coffee in the next couple weeks?" sounds more thoughtful and intentional than "I'm looking for a new job".

4. Network.

Quality networking moves you toward your goal quickly. One of my favorite books on is called "The 20-Minute Networking Meeting". The book outlines the 5 parts of a good networking meeting which are:

Step 1: Great First Impression (2-3 minutes)

Step 2: Great Overview (1 minute)

Step 3: Great Discussion (12-15 minutes)

Step 4: Great Ending (2 minutes)

Step 5: Great Follow Up (after the meeting)

The book breaks down each of these parts in detail - I suggest everyone reads it!

5. Craft your elevator speech.

Elevator speeches happen everywhere, not just in elevators! This aligns beautifully with Step 2 referenced in "The 20-Minute Networking Meeting". This is your value proposition for future employers (i.e. what skills do you have that solve real problems for them). It is short, memorable, and paints a clear direction on what you have to offer and how it adds value and/or solves problems for them.