Experienced worker job fair

Hundreds of job seekers attended the Experienced Worker Job Fair in Manchester sponsored by New Hampshire Employment Security in November.

Burned out or bored at work?

You can swap jobs or even careers after decades of work experience.

It just takes work.

Employers around the state posted 16,000 openings during November and December alone, though that doesn’t mean you can waltz into a place and snag a new job on the spot.

What's Working

“If there’s a time when someone wanted to make some sort of change, you do it when the economy’s hot — and that’s now,” said Barry Roy, regional president at Robert Half, a staffing agency with three New Hampshire offices.

Here are five tips for boosting your chances:

Decide what’s next for you

Think about what things you are passionate about.

“What do I really want? Find that clarity and focus,” said Sandy Demarest, CEO and multigenerational coach at Demarest Directions. Her Amherst firm helps people change careers and advises others on finding purpose in retirement.

Changing jobs within your current industry is easier than going from, say, an engineer to an elementary school teacher.

“If they’re going to change their career but stay in an industry they’ve been in, they can transfer their skillset from an industry mindset,” Roy said. “They know how that industry operates and runs.”

Research and target possible employers

Find out more about what the potential new job entails.

Locate someone doing that job now. Ask what a typical day is like, what they like the most and least as well as what top skills are needed, Demarest said. Getting advice can quicken your search.

She suggests making a Top 10 list of employers you might want to work for and exploring their cultures to ensure you are compatible.

“A small or medium company could be more conducive to career changers,” she said.

Network to get the inside edge

Knowing people you can tap for advice or an inside advantage can give you a head start.

“Probably the most powerful way to change careers is leveraging your internal network,” Roy said. That can be via phone, online or face-to-face.

“These are people who know you and are more willing to help,” he said.

Also reach out to people in your targeted industry, including professional associations.

Leverage your skills

Explain — on your resume and during job interviews — how your existing skills can help that potential new company.

“Highlighting projects you’ve done that saved the company money or brought in more money,” Roy said. “You’re really showing your value in a monetary way and showing any transferable skills that you have.”

And be prepared to pivot, saying, “ ‘I didn’t do that, but I did do that,’ and drawing some parallel at hand,” he said.

“I think 50 percent of the hiring process falls on chemistry between the person interviewing and the person doing the interview,” Roy said.

“The biggest thing is having a growth mindset,” including the ability to learn new things, Demarest said.

Test-drive a new field

“Be open to volunteer opportunities, short-term assignments to gain relevant experience,” Demarest said. “This is also a chance to test-drive your career pivot.”

“Some can test-drive a new career, so to speak, maybe by doing consulting, by reaching out to a company like mine” that can connect workers and employers, Roy said.

Another option is job shadowing, where you can spend a day following in the footsteps of an employee in your target job. Volunteering and contract work are other options.

Many people don’t devote enough time for a job shift or they believe they’re too old. Demarest says to expect at least three months for a shift within an industry and perhaps a half year or more for bigger career changes.

Yes, changing jobs or careers can be traumatic — to your psyche and family budget — but the payoff could be huge.

“Don’t go in fear but with a sense of adventure, positive attitude and a willingness to learn,” Demarest said.

What's Working

What’s Working, a series exploring solutions for New Hampshire’s workforce needs, is sponsored by the New Hampshire Solutions Journalism Lab at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications and is funded by Eversource, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, the New Hampshire College & University Council, Northeast Delta Dental and the New Hampshire Coalition for Business and Education.

Contact reporter Michael Cousineau at mcousineau@unionleader.com. To read stories in the series, visit unionleader.com/whatsworking.

Monday, February 24, 2020
Saturday, February 22, 2020
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Saturday, February 15, 2020