I used to think that midlife meant 50 years old. The reality is midlife is more like 30-35 when you put into context someone’s work-life.
I was going to be an elementary school teacher. That was 19-22. I thought that was my future. It sounded great, nine months of work, every holiday off, golf all summer! Then I found out I liked money, and all that had to change!
I started my first career as a recruiter and worked 22-30. At 30 I decided I wanted to go straight HR. I went back to school, got my HR degree, and started on the bottom rung of the HR ladder as a generalist. It was tough to get a job because most people only saw me as a recruiter; they didn’t see me as an HR pro and one that wanted to go backward in salary. HR and hiring managers have a big hurdle to get over in believing you actually want to work for less money.
In the tech sector today we are seeing a ton of mid-career changers. People see the future of work in the technology space and they want to be a part of it. So, at 28-45 many adults are jumping from their first career—as Accountants, Sales Pros, Operations, Middle Managers, etc.—and trying to break into tech.
Mid-career changers have a ton of advantages over new-hire grads going into the same space. First, there are a ton of educational options to give them the skills organizations are wanting that are non-traditional. You have Micro and Nano-degree programs from places like Udacity. There are personal developer boot camps such as General Assembly and Hack Reactor.
The reality is, mid-career changers are coming into the space with professional skills organizations desire and tech skills they absolutely need.
I think there are 3 reasons mid-career changers make better hires than new grads with the same tech skills:
- Developed Soft Skills! New hires are more likely to bomb when it comes to handling professional situations in a professional manner. All organizations have politics and having individuals that can navigate those keenly is a huge win!
- They’ve Been Through the Honeymoon! Mid-career pros know what they want. This is a second marriage for them! They aren’t trying to figure it out for the first time. We’ve all seen this with new hires. They come in infatuated with their career and nine months later they’re bored and wondering if this is all life has to give!
- They have Extra Clubs in their Bag! I’m an awful golfer, but I love playing. Frequently, golfers will ask each other, “Well, do you have that club in your bag!?”. Meaning, your 200 yards out, behind a tree, no one has a club for that. Or do they… ? Mid-career changers bring extra clubs with them! They have experience in other areas that will be a huge benefit to them in this new career.
I hire mid-career changers in my own shop quite frequently. I find them internally motivated to show you and themselves they can make this change. I find them focused, they’ve figured out what they want in life, and they’re going after it. I find them easier to work with. They want to win, but they aren’t willing to burn the organization down trying to win.
Fistful of Talent partners with great HR and TA technology companies that are changing the face of recruitment. Udacity is one of our Sponsors in the Nanodgree space that is changing how we all hire talent. Udacity is building a new pipeline of tech talent to fill in-demand roles in fields such as web & mobile development, data analysis, and machine learning. Udacity candidates have completed rigorous Nanodegree programs, co-created by industry-leading companies like Google and Facebook, to ensure that they develop the most cutting-edge skill sets. Candidates are pre-vetted through these programs based on comprehensive code reviews and their completion of real-world projects, which can be used to demonstrate their skills to hiring managers. Visit https://www.udacity.com/hire-talent to find your next great hire.
If you Google “Tim Sackett” you’ll find our Tim, and a truck driver chaplain. Our Tim is NOT the truck driver chaplain, although how awesome would that be if he was!? He is a prolific writer in the HR and TA space who just happens to also run an Engineering and IT contract staffing agency (HRU Technical Resources) out of Michigan. He also writes every day at his own blog, the Tim Sackett Project. Weirdly, he’s known as an expert in workplace hugging, which was kind of cool years ago, but now seems painfully creepy, but we still love him and he’s fairly harmless. Tim is also on the board of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP), lifetime Michigan State Spartan fan, husband to a Hall of Fame wife, 3 sons, and his best friend Scout. He also wrote a book with SHRM called The Talent Fix, you can find it on Amazon.