How to Successfully Change Careers Later In Life

The Rancher’s Wife: Change Careers in Mid-life

By Pierre G. Daunic, Ph.D.

This is a personal story of one woman’s journey to change careers later in life told by Pierre G. Daunic, Ph.D., a senior writer at

How Mary Changed Careers

When I first met Mary, she was despondent, to say the least.  At a time when many others were already thinking of retirement, she had to change careers.

She and her husband had sold their cattle ranch in Montana after 30 years of hard work and sacrifice.  They returned to the Midwest to retire near their children.  Unfortunately, they quickly discovered that their retirement income was not enough to meet their needs.  Mary, they decided, would have to find work.

Never having been in the workforce before, Mary earned a certification as a PC Specialist.  Armed with new knowledge of word processing and spreadsheets, she hoped to land some sort of administrative job, but didn’t really have much hope of doing so or of being paid very much.

“Who’s going to hire me?”

“Who’s going to hire me?” she said.  “I can still only type 30-40 words per minute.  And look at me: why should any employer in his right mind hire someone my age when they could hire someone younger, better looking, and with better skills and experience?”

Three Common Blind Spots when You Change Careers

Mary was struggling with three problems common to older job seekers forced to change careers.

First, she didn’t have a clear understanding of her marketable skills.

Second, she had no specific idea as to where she belonged in this new, somewhat intimidating job environment.

And, third, she was almost totally ignorant of how best to market herself.

How We Helped Mary Change Careers

Many of us, like Mary, are blind to our so-called “transferable skills.”  It’s usually because we are too close to what it is that we do—we lack perspective.  And, yet, upon examination, often with the objective help of someone with more knowledge of jobs and job markets than we have, we realize that we do have many marketable skills!

A little questioning of Mary, for example, revealed that she had done all the bookkeeping, correspondence, and vendor relations for the ranch.  “Oh, I was just helping my husband where I could,” she said. She didn’t realize that her experience, properly displayed, was more than enough for her to compete for better-paying Office Administration jobs.

What she didn’t understand at first was that her background in ranching would be welcomed by many area meat distributors.  Once she accepted that, it was just a matter of fashioning an effective resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn Profile, then directing her toward marketing channels that work.  It wasn’t long before she landed a fine job as an Office Administrator in a packing plant.

Changing Careers At All Levels

Mary’s problem is found at every level in almost every career field for the older employee.  Yet, from downsized Presidents and CEOs to disenchanted attorneys to retired military personnel to countless others, the solutions are much the same.  First, identify your marketable skills, then determine where those skills are most marketable, and, finally, devise and execute a marketing action plan that makes sense.  It works!

If you need help changing careers or getting started in your career please let us know. We have many experts and tools to help you in whatever stage you are at in your career.

change careersPierre Daunic is a highly trained, industry-credentialed Career Services expert who focuses on providing top echelon writing and editing of resumes, CVs, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, bios and other career marketing materials for executives and managers in all industries at all levels. He is a senior writer at Career Resumes. In addition, he assists those needing help in changing careers or returning to the workforce. Pierre’s primary goal is to continue to assist those in need of career help in either a group setting or one-on-one. To find out more information please visit Connected Careers.

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