My husband has been working in construction since he was 15 and by the time he was 20 was running his own company. It was a pretty good gig, until his joints began wearing out and the financial crisis of 2008 sent most of the contractors who owed him money into bankruptcy. So there he was--forty something--looking for a different way to keep the kids in shoes and food on the table.

He had a couple of problems. First, as a self-made man doing his own thing for decades, his resume was pretty short. Second, he didn't know if he could tolerate sitting at a desk working for someone else. But he took a gulp and reached out to a CEO he knew who was looking for salespeople. That was nearly two years ago. Today my man is a top-performer and responsible for bringing his company millions of dollars in new business. We both agree he should have moved into sales a long time ago.

Here are several reasons it's probably not too late for you, either.

1. Lots of companies appreciate an old-school work ethic.

People have been grumbling about younger workers for a while now. Just look here, here and at the clever wit here.

2. There's a talent shortage going on.

In the last month I've heard several people in random conversations complain about not being able to find good help. And, apparently it's getting worse. In fact, by 2025 the developed world will face a skilled labor shortage of 56 million people. This is good news for workers of any age.

3. You probably have a wealth of experience that will help you be fantastic in a new career.

Are you a pro at solving problems, helping people, or managing large projects? Think about the kinds of pain points you're exceptionally good at handling, and make sure your LinkedIn profile reflects these strengths. My husband sold himself by professing to be likeable. A good trait for a salesperson, right? He also should have mentioned his experience putting out fires and motivating crews to do excellent work. Today, these skills have paid off in the form of commercial customers who want him at the helm of their messy projects.  

4. You're probably better at taking advice than the younger people you will compete with.

Take mine, then. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and includes a professional-looking photo. Employers use this platform like crazy. And figure out a way to prove you're tech-savvy. (This can be an area of weakness for older people). My husband took a different tack and freely admitted he wasn't good with computers, but quickly promised he could master email and Excel, which he now does beautifully.

What's your story about switching careers post mid-life? I'd love to read about it in the comments.

Published on: Dec 29, 2015
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