Skip to content

Starting a Second Career? Things to Consider

starting a second career

Starting a Second Career? Things to Consider

Who are you? And what do you do? Are those two different questions or the same thing? Before we get too existential, the basic question is, do you feel that your current career really reflects the person you currently are, or the person you want to be?

A couple of decades ago, this query seemed almost unimportant, even confusing. You get a job, get a couple of promotions, perhaps start to manage people, and that morphs into a career.

No more. These days, it’s highly unusual to drift toward a job and then look over your shoulder and discover that is the definition of what you are. Why? Two reasons – one, the world is no longer that stable. In a climate of recessions and layoffs and wind-downs, it is not realistic to expect the same company that gave you your first chance out of college to be the same place to give you your retirement part. The average duration of any one job is now 4.4 years.

Second, we as employees are no longer that static. We move to new locations, we go back to school. We get bored, we get curious. We pursue passions, we scratch an itch. The “second career” is actually the third or fourth. So how do you reinvent yourself?

Consider the following if you are looking to reinvent your resume:

starting a second career

Are you considering a real start over, or a mini renovation? Sometimes all you need is to move out of your comfort zone a little to feel a big shift. Consider your current experience in the industry, or with a specific organization and decide if you really are just looking to shift from say, front office to back office, or from buy-side to sell-side. On the other hand, if you are ready to make a wholesale change – from accountant to screenwriter – think about the steps from where you are to where you want to be as you are starting a second career.

Necessary networking – what do you need? Meeting the right people is always a big part of career advancement, but even more so when you are making a major career shift; you need to start building a new community and system of relationships in order to successfully make the transition to a new identity.

Reinvention of yourself – most likely, you will be somewhere in the middle, there are things that you can draw from your first or current career and apply to your new employee identity. It simply takes a lot of thoughtful work.

Talk to friends, colleagues, trusted allies – take a long hard look at your resume, and your actual career history, and see what you have learned, and what skills you have acquired, and where you can add value to a new career path if you are starting a second career.

It is very common to underestimate your prior work experience value. It isn’t always obvious how what you have done before can translate to your new aspirations. But remember things like people management have a lot of universal truths; dealing with things like budgets can cross industries, and companies in similar stages (start-ups, growth companies, established businesses) share a lot of common strengths and challenges that span industry or location.

[bctt tweet=”The new economy is a brave new world, and the most courageous may be those who embrace opportunities to reinvent themselves.”]

It can be intimidating to keep asking the question “What do I do, actually?” but it can also be incredibly freeing to embrace the ever changing landscape of careers and jobs and be on a constant quest to learn and experience different roles.