Are you thinking about making a career change? Maybe you never really got a solid career off the ground, or your professional life was derailed by taking time out to raise a family. Maybe you did a lot of job-hopping and it’s hurting your chances to grow in your current position.
Time for a Change
Is it possible to start over? It certainly is, as long as you’re willing to do the work, which usually means going back to school or getting vocational training.
You’ll have to leverage all the job-search tools you can, including networking, volunteering, or going to job fairs and other activities that will put you in touch with hiring managers.
After a certain age, consulting a cover letter and/or resume service site should be the first thing to think about, since you may not know very well what’s going on on the job market.
You need to show that you can do a young woman’s job or that you can do it better, depending on the position you’re considering on applying. iResumeCoverLetter is such a place, where you’re going to find cover letter and resume examples and tips on getting that particular job you desire.
A Certain Age
There’s no question that age discrimination against women is alive and well in the workplace. In fact, studies have found that this discrimination begins when women reach the advanced age of 35.
That said, there are careers that will embrace your experience and hard-won wisdom.
The Benefits You Bring
- You’re mature and professional.
Women who are over 40 are used to dealing with stress and craziness while maintaining their poise. Many employers appreciate the level-headed maturity that older workers bring.
- You probably don’t have small children.
Even in today’s workplace, things are not as family-friendly as we might wish. The U.S. still doesn’t have true maternity leave and employers still give a side-eye to women who need to take days off to tend to their children.
At 40, your children are likely to be older and your employer can feel confident that you won’t miss work because of daycare or babysitter problems.
- You’re showing an ability to adapt and learn.
Employers value workers who are active, engaged and constantly updating their skills. By embarking on activities that will guide you at a new profession, you prove that you’re adaptable to change and a constant learner.
So what careers can you consider? Here are the top five.
A surprising number of women go into nursing as a second career. Nursing websites and forum groups are chock-full of discussions from women graduating from nursing programs at the age of 49, 59 and even older.
The popularity of nursing as a second career has become a growing trend, as more professionals look for meaningful work.
What you’ll need: Most nurses train to become registered nurses (RN) which requires a two-year degree. Most RN programs are highly competitive. A background in science coursework will give you an edge. Some nursing schools are now offering accelerated, one-year programs for those transitioning from other careers.
Salary and outlook: The median salary for an RN is $67,490 with the top 10 percent making more than $100,000. Job growth is expected to stay strong.
In a 2017 TedX Talk at the London School of Economics, Lucy Kellaway described her decision to end her 31-year career as a financial columnist to become a math teacher, at the age of 58.
While getting an education degree is the usual way to start a career in teaching, it’s no longer a necessity. Most states have alternative certification programs that allow those with college degrees of any kind to become teachers.
The federal government’s Transition to Teaching program helps states recruit and train professionals who want to switch to teaching.
What you’ll need: If you have a degree, you will still have to get your chosen state’s teaching certification. This will involve taking education courses at a community college or university.
Salary and outlook: The median salary for teachers in kindergarten and elementary school is $55,000 a year. For high school teachers, the median salary is $58,000. Teachers generally enjoy union benefits like medical insurance, paid leave, retirement plans and pensions.
3. Virtual Assistant
For those interested in pursuing their own business, becoming a virtual assistant (VA) is a great way to use your work experience. Virtual assistants provide business services to clients who need one-time, ongoing or occasional help.
As a VA, you might provide secretarial services, book travel arrangements, set up conference calls, handle complex project management or administer databases. It all depends on what your skills are and what you enjoy doing.
Being a VA allows you to work from home, on your own schedule, with the clients you choose, at the rates you set. For information about setting up your VA business, visit one of the many websites dedicated to this business, run by successful VAs who offer guidance and advice.
What you’ll need: A home office setup and good internet connection are musts. Experience as an administrative assistant, secretary or another related job will be helpful.
You can compensate lack of background by emphasizing your skills from other jobs in your presentation, as per the below. This approach is even more impressive if you’ve just graduated from a course or went through an internship.
Salary and outlook: Because you’ll be in business for yourself, your income will be based on your own efforts.
4. IT (Information Technology) Manager
There still aren’t enough women in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. Women make up only 24 percent of the highly-paid STEM workforce.
And that’s unfortunate because women in this line of work out-earn their non-STEM counterparts by 35 percent. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, women with STEM jobs also earned 40 percent more than men with non-STEM jobs.
You can break into this high-paying, secure field with a B.S. in Computer Science. You’ll also need ongoing training throughout your career, as this is a field that demands keeping pace with fast-moving innovations.
What you’ll need: The entry-level qualification for this is a B.S. in Computer Science, and you’ll need to gain some experience before becoming a manager. You’ll still be making a good salary.
Even entry-level jobs in this field pay from $47,000 a year to more than $60,000, according to recent surveys. If you are already experienced, mention details of your previous work in a cover letter. This might make you valuable compared to other applicants.
Salary and outlook: The median salary for IT managers is $135,800 per year and job growth is projected to be 12 percent, which is faster than average for most occupations.
5. Occupational Therapy Assistant
If you like a job that keeps you physically active and involved in helping others, consider becoming an occupational therapy assistant (OTA). This job will allow you to enter the well-paid, fast-growing field of occupational therapy with a two-year degree.
OTAs work in hospitals, rehabilitation centres, nursing homes and a variety of other health-related settings. You can choose to work with children, seniors, accident victims or military veterans.
What you’ll need: You must have an associate’s degree from a college accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Every state requires OTAs to be licensed, which means doing coursework at a school, passing an exam and completing fieldwork requirements.
Salary and outlook: The median salary for an OTA is $57,000, with top earners making over $75,000. Job growth is expected to be 28 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Get Started On That Great New Career
If you’re determined to start a new career, don’t let anyone tell you it can’t. Every day, people are going back to school and lighting their own paths to a bright new future. Why not join them?