Here’s how to make a mid-life career jump without sacrificing your salary

No matter your job title, industry, or career aspirations, making a mid-life career shift can be a stressful life change. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there could be many different reasons for wanting to make a career change at any point in your professional development.

No matter your reasoning for changing careers, it is important to prepare and strategize before your anticipated career shift to ensure that you are ready to pivot your career in a way that benefits you and your goals. 

In today’s corporate marketplace, making a career shift later in your career is more common than ever before. As certain industries begin to stagnate and other business opportunities take off, experienced professionals might recognize the need for a shift in their career in order to lead a more fulfilling life and to maximize their skill set.

As a well-established professional in your career, one of your primary concerns you might have is the risk of reduced income. To help combat that fear, we chatted with two seasoned professionals who made a shift later in their career without having to sacrifice their pay grade.

Ladders News interviewed Marketing Strategist, Andy Boyer, and Terry Newman, Creative Director of View The Space to share their top strategies for navigating a career change without taking a pay cut. 

Leverage your experience

When looking to set yourself up for success in a career change, it is important to do a thorough and comprehensive research into your new career, industry, and potential job opportunities. This research will help you to be able to leverage your skillset and experience in your new role.

As an experienced professional, you have highly transferable skills that would benefit a job in any industry or organization. Learning to leverage these skills, along with your experience, is critical in making a sustainable career change that will allow you to keep your current salary expectation.

As Terry shares, “if you’re no longer growing, or if you feel the company you’re working for has hit its’ ceiling, the old saying ‘‘if you’re not progressing, you’re regressing’ rings true. There are always new roles and industries springing up constantly. You never who might be looking for your exact skill set or experience.”

Some highly transferable skills include:

Leadership skills and management skills

Industries and companies are always looking for leaders with experience in guiding a team, facilitating projects, and taking on front-line leadership roles. No matter your previous job title or industry, being able to exemplify your leadership skills will surely help to show your value in your new role. 

Technology or industry-specific skills 

Many job-specific skills can be highly transferable to other job titles across different industries. Being able to effectively manage multiple systems and processes often reinforces your skillset and the fact that your employers trust your expertise. By using these skills as examples, you can highlight your ability to address challenges within any role. This is a highly desirable trait for many employers, especially startups or organizations within new industries where they’re looking for eager learners. 

Interpersonal skills 

No matter what career shift you are focused on, having strong interpersonal skills is a critical foundation for success. Looking back on your career experience, it is important to understand where you can highlight how your interpersonal skills have helped to amplify yourself and your employer. In every industry, employers are always looking for people who personify their vision and values as a company. Having strong interpersonal skills, particularly strong sales or communication skills, will benefit you no matter which new job title you take on. 

Understand your reasoning – not all career changes are risky

As Andy Boyer shares, a career change is not always a risky endeavor. In fact, many professionals choose to make a career change later in their careers in favor of a more stable and predictable career path. 

“Let’s say you started working in a startup or small business early on in your career, probably in your 20s. You are now approaching your 40s and prefer to take your experience to a more stable work environment where you can get steady paychecks, guaranteed health insurance, and a matching 401K. Making a career pivot at this point in your life would be the best move for you, especially if you have children or other reasons to become more risk-averse”.

Look to make a change within your current company

One of the simplest ways to ease the transition of a mid-career job pivot is by taking on a role within your current organization or company. 

Particularly in large organizations, changing roles with your current employer is often a much simpler and more sustainable process than completely changing industries or organizations. Transferring internally can help to minimize potential disruptions in your life, including disruptions in your salary, benefits, or pension. Additionally, working within your current organization can help you to find a role that both you and your employer believe you will be successful in.

While you might not have all of the skills required for this new role, what you do have working in your favor is your reputation and experience with your current employer. Your employer will be well aware of the success you’ve experienced in your role, your reputation with colleagues and team members, and the value you bring to the organization. 

Taking a proactive approach to facilitating a career shift within your current company can be challenging to navigate, but gradual steps will help to benefit you in the long run. 

Some great strategies you can implement could include:

  • Doing thorough research on the roles of others in your organization
  • Volunteering for projects or opportunities on other teams that you think you might like to work on 
  • Meeting with internal teams and HR professionals to discuss different roles in the organization 
  • Continuing to build and foster solid relationships across your company
  • When making an inter-company career shift, your interpersonal skills and relationships are absolutely critical.

No matter your career aspirations and goals, it is important to not let the fear of a pay-cut keep you from making an important personal shift. With a little extra work, research, and comprehensive analysis of your skills, you too can find a new career without losing your current salary range.