Research suggest that most people will change their career an average of five to seven times in their life time. This is a far cry for 20 or 30 years ago when the concept of a job for life was the norm.
Many people approaching the mid to late stages of their career come to realise they not only want a change in job, they also want a change in career to something completely different. The question for a lot of us however is what do you do when you have spent 15 or more years doing the same thing?
Another reason that we can sometimes find career change daunting is because we worry about money. For many, who still have significant financial commitments ranging from mortgages to children in school or university to caring for older parents.
While all of these things can make the thought of job change feel overwhelming, it’s important not to let it paralyse you into doing nothing.
It’s easy to think about the things we don’t have rather than what we do have and figure out how to use them to our advantage. Here are some of the things we should consider when determining whether or not to change careers
Determine your needs and priorities
One of the biggest stumbling blocks we need to overcome when determining what we want to with our lives is having a clear idea of what we want to do next. We know we don’t want to carry on doing what we do now as it no longer brings us pleasure or satisfaction.
There are a number of free online tools you can use to identify your strengths and possible career options. They are quick and easy to complete and can really help you narrow down your options for a future career. This is an essential step if you are serious about changing your career but are unsure of what to do next.
It is a common misconception that when you take the leap towards a new career you always have to start from scratch and build up a new set of skills. For those in their mid to late career, you’ll have built up a wealth of experience both within and outside the workplace. The trick is knowing how to translate some of your transferable skills into new roles.
This is particularly important if you want to step out in a new direction. What skills and experience to you bring to the table? How do people know what you have to offer? One of the best ways of getting your brand out there is through networking websites such as the Linkedin website. Linkedin is designed to give users the opportunity to showcase their skills and network with the sort of audience they wish to engage with. If your intention is to find a new job as part of your career change, then having a stellar LinkedIn profile is essential.
Did you know that 80% of jobs are not advertised? Having a wide network of friends, co-workers, past and present, family and acquaintance is one of your most powerful assists when it comes to switching careers. Connect with your contacts and don’t be afraid to ask them for help as part of your job search
Update your CV
Once you’ve decided what you want to do next, It’s always best to be prepared by having a great CV that helps sell your good strengths. Use a CV checklist which will help ensure that you don’t miss out any important details from your CV. You’ve heard the saying, dress for the job you want, not the job you have, so when writing your CV think about how your transferable skills translate into a job that suits your skill set.
The fact that you are older means that you have valuable experience in many areas and you need to make good use of this in your application. Don’t worry if you are returning to work after bringing up children soft skills, such as communication, time management and the ability to meet deadlines are crucial in the workplace today and all of those will be skills you have developed as a parent.
Perhaps the job market isn’t for you. Do you have a passion that you could turn into a living? Going it alone can be risky but as long as you plan for it, don’t be put off following your dream. Some things to consider when thinking of becoming your own boss include:
- Your financial situation – can you afford to pay your bills until your business takes off?
- Have you tested the market to make sure your idea is viable? Are there others who do what you are considering doing?
- Are you able to transition into this new role?
- Do you have an earning goal in mind and if so, do you know roughly how long it will take for you to reach this goal?
Don’t let these ideas put you off, I know of several people who have transitioned from the day job to become successful business owners. The key is in how you plan for it
Have an exit plan
Are you planning on a phased departure or a big bang approach? Is there someone at work you can talk with? If not, you might find it helpful to find a coach or mentor to support you in life changing journey. The better planned you are before making the leap, the more smoothly the transition from old to new will be