If you’re about to go through a midlife career transition, and it has been several years since you did any sort of serious career research, you’re going to be in for a BIG surprise.
Many of us are discovering that the jobs we were trained to do no longer exist. Responsibilities have been delegated differently on the corporate ladder, technology eliminated many jobs and created others, and the emphasis in recruitment is on specialties and tasks rather than broad industry knowledge.
If you’ve had a full-time corporate office job for the last several years and your department is being “restructured,” it’s likely those responsibilities are now being performed by a robot and three different people who work as contractors from home.
So if you still want or need to work for a few years prior to retirement, how do you figure out what jobs to start looking for?
Back in the olden days (circa 1990), you would seek the advice of a career counselor. Good luck finding one of those who knows more about your career prospects than you do. Typically, today’s “career counselors” work for schools and their main job is to sell you a course or a degree program. “Career coaches” are often people who got tired of looking for work, and decided to just make their own job by teaching other people to look for work. These people can be good resources IF you already have a general idea what you want you want to do.
But what if you have no idea what you want to do now, or what you’re qualified to do? Here’s a good way to start: Google Advanced Search.
Google Advanced Search is a quick form for conducting a search using Boolean search operators. These search operators pre-date the Internet by more than a century but are very useful for Internet research today, and Google has made it even easier.
Here’s how it works. Go to google.com/advanced_search, and start filling out the form. Your initial search will look something like this.
All these words: In the first box, enter the skills you have in your current career that you’re hoping to use in your new one. These are called “transferrable skills.” These are single words only (keywords).
This exact word or phrase: The second box is for skills that require more than one word to describe. For example, “machine operator” is a skill, but it wouldn’t make sense to have Google search “machine” and “operator” separately, so you need to put them together in quotation marks to tell Google to search for the phrase.
Any of these words: Enter the type of work you’re looking for in the third box. You might be interested in several different types of positions (i.e. teaching or training or sales), or you might have interests that can be searched more than one way (“work at home” or “work from home” or remote).
None of thee words: Here’s where you list what you don’t want. Maybe you don’t want to do sales. Maybe you don’t want to travel. Put a minus sign in front of each word, and if you need to enter a phrase, be sure to include the phrase in quotes after the minus sign like this: -“night shift”
Language: Google will default to the language you’re currently using. If you need to add a language, use the drop-down box.
Region: Choose where you want to work. If you’re looking for remote positions, you can leave it on “any region.” Otherwise, let Google know your preference.
Last Update: You’re looking for current, in-demand work opportunities, so choose a time frame that makes sense for your industry. I definitely wouldn’t recommend anything over a year, because those listings will be too far out-of-date to be relevant. Generally, “past month” will give you an idea of what is in-demand right now, while still bringing up enough searches to give you some inspiration.
Terms Appearing: You’re browsing job listings, so you want to select “anywhere in the page,” for this option. The search terms you’re needing are more likely to be down in the job description or requirements sections of the pages, rather than in the title.
Now, click “Advanced Search” and start exploring your new career.
During this first phase of your search, be creative. You might need to run this search several times to narrow down what is available and what you’re really interested in.
Once you start finding job titles that interest you, bookmark those search results, and make note of the job titles. Once you have three or four job titles that really make sense to you, go back to google.com/advanced_search for phase two.
In this phase, you have a better idea exactly what jobs you are looking for. You have a good idea what jobs are available in your skillset. You’ve moved beyond looking for ideas, and you are now looking for job openings, and preparing to apply for jobs and send off resumes, so your search will be more specific.
Most of the fields will remain the same as on your first search, except for one (or possibly two) changes:
Any of these words: This time enter the job titles you discovered during phase one. Be sure to include them as phrases in quotation marks.
Site or domain: This is optional, but if you noticed that a lot of the jobs you are interested in are with one company, or on one search engine (e.g. indeed.com), you might want to narrow your search further to that website. This can be done by entering the url in this box. Also, if your industry has its own domain, you might enter that here. For example, if you are looking for teaching jobs, enter .edu, or if you are looking for government jobs, enter .gov.
Let me know how it goes!
P.S.: If any of my corporate-to-creative friends are looking for additional ways to market your artwork, check out Reworking your Fine Art Prints for T-Shirts: beyond cropping and re-sizing.