I used to work in retail [most recently as an assistant manager at a high street store] and when Covid came I was put on furlough and decided to take early retirement [I’m 61], fearing my job would be lost anyway as business has not been great before Covid and I could see the writing on the wall. I’m now worried that I may have acted too hastily and that my pension is not going to stretch very far. I am looking to get back to work, but don’t want to go back to retail. I want to do something that I care more about in health or social care. Where should I start my search?
The secret to career change is to put active research before you go into job search mode. Throwing yourself at vacancies is often unproductive – largely because you haven’t worked out answers to the three most important questions: why, what and where?
Why are you interested in a new career path? What attracts you? What do you hope to get out of a role in one of these new fields (the good news is that both sectors have big staff shortages, so you should have no difficulty getting paid
work in this area).
What do you bring to the party? This is where it’s good to practice talking about your experience with a good friend. What skills and experience will make you useful?
Where do you fit in? Talk to at least half a dozen people working in your target sector to identify the roles which will suit your skill set and lead to the greatest job satisfaction.
Talking to people to find out what different roles feel like from the inside gives you clarity about what to aim for, and how to provide the right evidence to get shortlisted.
*John Lees is one of the UK’s best-known career strategists and author of 15 books on work and careers. How to Get a Job You Love (now in its eleventh edition) regularly tops the list of best-selling careers books by a British author and was twice selected as the WH Smith Business Book of the Month. Find out more here – www.johnleescareers.com