Career change isn’t just for young adults. Recent studies show that the average age of job changers is 39.
Many professionals long to make a mid-career shift but don’t know how to start. Searching for a new job is stressful, especially if you’ve been with the same company for a decade or more.
You may feel your skills are out of date, and the prospect of rebuilding your network from scratch seems insurmountable. Not to mention the tedium of updating your resume, writing cover letters, and sitting through interviews.
But I have good news: Changing careers or industries is possible, and you don’t even have to start from scratch.
Having made my own mid-career changes once or twice, I’ve seen first-hand how experience and valuable skills can help you get into positions you never thought possible.
No matter where you’re starting out, these five valuable tips for making a mid-career change will help you on your journey to self-discovery and success. Let’s not put it off any longer!
What Exactly Is a Career Change?
A career change occurs when you change jobs and must acquire new skills in a different industry or position. While this may appear to be an impossible task, it’s an exciting chance to alter the course of your life.
Like any major life decision, making a mid-career change comes with pros and cons. Let’s look at a few to help you decide if this is the right move for you.
Benefits of a career change:
- Changing jobs in your late thirties can provide a new sense of purpose and satisfaction if you’re passionate about your new field.
- You may learn new skills and expand your knowledge, boosting your confidence and creativity.
- It provides new opportunities and networks, improving your job possibilities and income.
- It may renew your drive and interest, eventually improving your health and well-being.
Changing jobs in midlife can have some disadvantages. Drawbacks of a career change include:
- You may experience uncertainty and instability if you must start from scratch or fight against more experienced candidates.
- You may lose seniority and benefits, such as a pension or health insurance, which may impact your financial stability and retirement plans.
- You’ll likely experience stress and anxiety caused by a fear of failure or the opposition of family and friends.
- You may need to invest time and money in retraining, education, or certification, which can burden your budget and schedule.
Despite the challenges of starting a new career, it can still be a rewarding experience and an opportunity to improve the quality of your life.
Tips for a Midlife Career Change
So you know what a career change is, and you know you’re ready to make the jump. But how?
Let’s look at five essential tips to starting your new career journey off right!
Tip 1: Start With Your Skills and Interests
Recognizing your skills and interests is the first stage in any successful job change.
Ask yourself these key questions:
- What do I excel at?
- What do I like to do?
- What activities offer me a sense of success?
Answering these questions will help you identify career paths that match your interests and abilities.
If your answers to these questions differ from what they were at the start of your career, you might be ready for a career change.
Don’t be put off by this. It’s normal for our skills and interests to change over our lives. You’re not the same in mid-life as you were at the beginning of your career.
Think about your previous experiences and accomplishments. This can assist you in identifying the skills and strengths you’ve acquired over time.
Consider taking a skills evaluation or speaking with a career coach to better understand your talents and potential new career paths.
Tip 2: Do Some Creative Research into Potential Careers
Once you’ve figured out your skills and interests, it’s time to study potential career paths creatively.
This can include looking for job openings, speaking with people who work in your desired field, or attending educational programs or training opportunities.
When considering new job paths, don’t be afraid to get creative.
- Look into businesses that interest you. Visit their website, LinkedIn profile, YouTube channels, and blogs to learn about them.
- Consider all facets of a possible new job, such as salary, work-life balance, and opportunities for continued growth and advancement in your midlife career.
Taking a creative approach to this may inspire you to consider non-traditional career paths, such as starting your own company or following a freelance career path in a new direction.
Tip 3: Expect Challenges
Midlife career changes can be complex, and you must be ready to face challenges and even failure.
- You might face obstacles like a lack of experience in your desired area or difficulty finding work in a new industry.
- You might be starting from scratch with no connections in your desired profession.
Maintain your concentration, flexibility, and open-mindedness. Be ready to change your strategy as required.
For example, consider adopting new methods of payroll management and HR policies to record invoices.
Don’t be afraid to seek additional training, education, and freelance or contract work to acquire experience in your new area. You never know what may lead to new relationships and possibilities.
Tip 4: Organize Your Finances
Before taking a giant leap, ensure you’re financially stable enough to support it.
It’s wonderful to have big dreams, but there will always be expenses to pay.
You must be realistic about your financial circumstances. If you’ve never budgeted, now is the moment to start.
Tips for successful budgeting include:
- Examine your financial situation, calculate your weekly expenses, and identify areas where you can save money.
- You’ll have to live a little thinner, so figure out your ‘needs’ and ‘wants.’ And save while you still can.
- Take the plunge and start saving while you’re still working.
If you are an organization, then you can take the help of a paystub template to manage employee payroll records and keep things in order. This way, keeping track of all invoices will be easier.
Tip 5: Draw Attention Using Smart Networking
You must begin a strong networking campaign while learning the necessary skills. Seventy to eighty percent of jobs never enter the general market through an online job listing.
Why? Because the positions get filled before the job posting even goes public.
When you network, which generally means reaching out to employers and employees in your desired industry, you increase your odds of hearing about a job before it hits the open market.
Smart networking requires two steps:
- Target known connections: look for friends, acquaintances, and industry contacts who can help you get a foot in the door at a specific company.
- Use social media: Use social media to increase your networking chances exponentially. Making a strong online impression may be beneficial.
Having a strong online presence and some trustworthy references to sing your praises can make all the difference in your search for a new career.
The Bottom Line
When looking for new work in a different area, managing the change smoothly and avoiding common pitfalls are essential.
Don’t destroy relationships with your previous employer, colleagues, or clients, try to leave on good terms and keep positive relationships.
Avoid comparing yourself to others, instead, concentrate on your development.
Remember to make time for your personal life. Balancing your work and life duties, taking care of your physical and mental health, and seeking support from family and friends are all important.
Finally, be patient and persistent. Prepare for difficulties and challenges but keep going. Maintaining your goals and vision can help you succeed in changing careers in midlife.
Now we’d like to hear from you! What are some tips you wish you’d known before making a midlife career change? Let us know in the comments below!