By Brenda Johnson, Work, Careers and Job @40+
Changing careers or finding a job in a new field is challenging, but not impossible. Those who have done the hard work to reinvent themselves and their careers, like Carmel resident Jennifer McLean, only wish they had tried a new industry earlier.
With over 17 years of experience in healthcare sales and sales management, staying in the medical device or hospital industry would have been a direct path to a new job.
Jennifer made a major change to real estate sales. As a successful realtor with Century 21 Sheetz, the multi-million dollar producer with several certifications shares her career change journey. McLean advises others to follow their strengths and interests. “My strengths include building customer relationships and being self-motivated,” McLean explained, “I have always enjoyed home decorating, architecture and living in Indiana.”
Her personal assessment led to real estate. McLean focused on 7 principals that have led to success in both careers:
• Think strategically. If your actions are not contributing to your end goal, stop that activity.
• Sell the way I want to be sold to. For McLean, it means helping clients meet their goals by being a resource and not being pushy.
• Focus on communication. Remember that what is posted on social media is a reflection of your brand. McLean advises, “Always respond, stay emotionally intelligent and clarify to make sure you understand what a client is asking.”
• Don’t let one difficult deal or client get you down.
• Ask for feedback and apply it. McLean explains this is a great way to grow and improve.
• Make mistakes. It is sometimes painful, she admits, but the mistakes lead to learning.
• Pray. McLean says, “I pray that God will lead me the right way, do His will and reflect His grace and light to my clients and fellow agents.”
While McLean took herself through the process of self-discovery that led to a new career, others may need assistance. There are resources available through alumni career offices, career coaches, outplacement counselors and organizations like Passport to Employment that offer career management in addition to job search.
When exploring a career change, it is also important to associate with people with a positive attitude that will be encouraging. McLean is a member of the #1 real estate office in the 9-county Indianapolis area, so she has surrounded herself with other successful realtors. Boomers can look for mentors — who can be younger people — in the career they want to explore.
It is never too late to explore a new career. According to McLean, “Our children were through college and married, it was time to drive my own career and be my own boss.” While grateful for her past experiences, McLean reflects on her new career with three words, “I love it.”
Check out more articles on the related subject – click here.