Work: Strategize Before You Change Industries

Manny Avramidis has great career advice for those of us with and without jobs. He looks pretty pulled together in this picture. I’d trust him.

By the time you are 40licious, you’ve probably gotten really good at whatever it is that you do. Even if it’s not your life dream work – say you kind of “fell into” a field and stayed there – you can probably command a pretty good price for your services. This is also the time when we should be taking steps to make our dreams reality. So let’s say you’ve always wanted to have a catering company, but somehow you ended up with a career in PR. If you really want to be slinging canapés, you need to make steps toward that right this instant. Perhaps it’s taking a class or doing some side gigs on the weekends.

Manny Avramidis, the senior vice president of Global HR and Talent Management for the American Management Association, tells us it is OK to dream – but be strategic about it. In our 40s, he says, “it’s more difficult to change careers and you have to consider the pay … If you’re changing industries, can you take a paycut and go to the bottom and start again? The older you get, the more serious your decisions are.”

Avramidis offers this advice: “If you’re in the job market and you haven’t had a break in your career, the key is to stay ahead of the curve and understand what you need to have to stay employed.” So maybe that’s learning about social media, updating your software skills, and adding digital to your analog competencies. For those who took time off to raise a family or because of the recession, he says the key things to know are what you want, and to focus on your unique skills. “What do you bring to the table?”

There’s good news, however, for the 40licious job seeker. “When the baby boomers retire, there will be a lot of work and a lot of choices. That will leave a lot of jobs vacant.” Avramidis says. “It’s a very exciting time.”

Avramidis suggests this reading to help in your professional development:
Work Your Strengths: A Scientific Process to Identify Your Skills and Match Them to the Best Career for You by Chuck Martin, Richard Guare, and Peg Dawson

Make Your Contacts Count: Networking Know-How for Business and Career Success, Second Edition, by Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon
The Image of Success: Make a Great Impression and Land the Job You Want by Lizandra Vega

The Girls’ Guide to Power and Success by Susan Wilson Solovic

Career Match: Connecting Who You Are with What You’ll Love to Do by Shoya Zichy and Ann Bidou

Acing the Interview: How to Ask and Answer the Questions That Will Get You the Job by Tony Beshara

Vanessa McGradyWork: Strategize Before You Change Industries

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