We keep hearing the same narrative: the days of spending your entire career at a single company are over.
In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most workers spend less than 5 years at any one job.
So what does that mean if you’re 50 years or older? That you’ll automatically be cut for your high salary the minute things go downhill?
However…it does mean taking a more entrepreneurial approach to the next few years of your career.
You stand at a unique moment in your life, where your experience and value in the marketplace can be parlayed to achieve DRASTIC CHANGE…if you have the courage to seize it.
Here are ways to leverage your past to create an amazing future:
1) Move to Consulting (or Vice Versa)
Parlaying your experience into a consulting role can be a fantastic way to achieve a greater degree of work-life balance (a top reason for career change for professionals in their late 40s and 50s). The ability to work with a vast array of clients, and have a set duration to projects can be a real blessing if you’ve spent a long period of time in the trenches at a particular organization.
The flip-side should also be considered: if you’ve spent a long period of time working as a consultant, the appeal of the “have gun, will travel” lifecycle may be wearing a bit thin. Why not take a close look at the client relationships you’ve built over the years and see if there’s an opening to move into a permanent role with one of them?
2) Make a Big Internal Play
If your goal has always been to reach a certain seniority level at your current company (ex. Managing Director), now is the time to make this OVERT. Set up a meeting with your immediate supervisor and lay out a plan for how you’d like to get there. Enlist this person as an active ally. Regularly check in to make sure they understand what you’re doing to reach this goal. The time for sowing is over…it’s time to harvest your hard-earned experience to finally reach that milestone.
3) Become a Thought Leader
Platforms like LinkedIn are incredible gifts to ambitious senior professionals, because it is truly a marketplace where the best ideas and tactics win. You don’t need to speak the secret code to get in — you just need to engage from a place of authenticity and depth. Start regularly sharing content and opinions via LinkedIn Status Updates, Blog Posts, and other venues. Carefully analyze which posts strike the greatest chords with your network, and emphasize them moving forward. You’ll see an immediate uptick in “passive attention” which is another way of saying opportunities (to speak, to consult, to discuss new business opportunities) that come to you without direct outreach. This is an expressway towards creating a unique niche for yourself.
The one must-do regardless of which path you choose is to align your brand and platform with your goals. Make journaling your accomplishments a monthly task (at least) and make sure your resume highlights them. Create a shortlist of competitors on LinkedIn, people with roughly similar backgrounds who have made the kind of move you wish to make, and use their best tactics to enhance your own LinkedIn Profile. Become the person you wish to be for this next stage in your career, OWN IT, and it’ll enhance every aspect of what you do.