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5 Tips For A Midlife Career Change

1st November 2019

When you’ve spent years working in the same profession and you’re feeling unfulfilled, the idea of switching careers can seem enticing. But when you’re a middle aged professional with bills to pay, a family to support and a busy lifestyle to maintain, the prospect of a career change can seem completely impractical.

However, if you’re dissatisfied with your current occupation and thirsting for a job role that satisfies your professional needs and helps you smash your career goals, a career change could be the perfect solution.

With that in mind, here are five tips for a midlife career change.

1. Evaluate your current job

When you’re considering leaving behind the career you’ve worked hard to forge, in pursuit of something new, you need to be sure that you’re making the right decision. So start by weighing up the pros and cons of your current job.

If a lot of negatives come to light, consider whether these dreadful parts of your job are more employer based trivial things, such as annoying colleagues, unfriendly managers or lack of parking facilities; or if your job itself is making you feel deflated. In the case of the latter, a career move might be just what you need.

If you do decide that a career change is the right path for you, it’s important that you try and remain motivated in your current job role. For example, by engaging more closely with upcoming projects and speaking to management about your career aspirations. In doing so, new opportunities might come to light such as a sideways career move within your current organisation.

2. Assess your skills and interests

You’ll find the transition into a new career runs a lot smoother if you target a job role where you can utilise your existing skills.

You’ll find the transition into a new career runs a lot smoother if you target a job role where you can utilise your existing skills.

You shouldn’t focus solely on your professional experience though, consider hobbies, out of work activities and volunteer work that you’ve engaged in and whether these present possible career opportunities. If you can find a way to link your career to activities you’re passionate about, you’ll be more likely to end up in a job that’s enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding.

3. Research the industry and specific job roles

When you choose a career, you’re making a long-term commitment to having a future in that field. So when you’re considering a midlife career change, it’s essential that you research the industry that you’re interested in moving into, to ensure that it’s one where you’ll be happy, successful and flourish as a professional. Here’s some advice on getting to know your industry of interest:

  • Read dedicated industry news sites: This will allow you to learn about the latest trends and the overall direction of the industry, so you can determine whether you’re happy to jump ship and make a meaningful professional contribution to that sector.
  • Read high ranking industry based blogs: This will enable you to identify industry thought leaders – the people driving the discussions in your chosen field. Their insights will prove invaluable throughout your career change journey and beyond.
  • Follow industry leaders and businesses using social media: This will help you to stay up to date on trending topics and debates shaping that sector.
  • Research available jobs roles: In doing so, you’ll be able to target specific jobs roles and so, exercise your career manoeuvre with greater precision.

A mid-life career change can involve retraining, attaining professional qualifications and working your way up from an entry level position. As such, you need to be sure that you’ll enjoy and thrive in your desired job role. Here are some methods to help you determine this:

  • Job shadowing: This provides the opportunity for you to watch someone carry out the job role that you’re interested in and assess whether you’re a good fit for that type of work.
  • Job advertisements: This allows you to see what proficiencies and qualifications are required for jobs of interest and identify any gaps in your current skillset which need to be developed before you start applying for roles.
  • Job profiles: You can use career sites such as Prospects to find job profiles which provide a comprehensive overview of your dream job role.

Once you’ve got a good grasp of the basic workings of the industry and identified the job role you’d like to pursue, it’s time to start planning your way into that field. You should consider how long it will take to acquire the necessary qualifications and secure the position.

4. Build up your support network

Changing career is a taxing undertaking which can have a significant impact on not just your professional life but also your personal life. It therefore helps massively if you have a strong support network at your disposal as you navigate this tricky period.

You should look to your personal support network first (family and friends), as these are the people who will be most affected by your plans. For instance, if you have children and you’re going to be extra busy training for a new job, you might need their help with childcare. You should also garner their opinions on your career change plans; if they’re supportive, you’ll feel a lot more secure and confident, however, if they’re not, don’t let this dissuade you – it’s your career.

If you’re looking to burst onto the scene of a new and exciting industry and forge a fantastic career, you’ll need a professional network too. One of the most effective ways to build a professional network is through attending networking events, where you can meet like minded professionals who can support you on your career journey.

Alternatively, if you’re too busy for face-to-face events, the internet is packed full of business networking platforms, like LinkedIn, where you can connect with other key industry figures and engage in topical discussions.

5. Develop your skills

Once you’ve decided on the industry and job role you’d like to move into, it’s time to start developing your skills, so that you can enter your new profession perfectly prepped for success.

Learning a new skill couldn’t be easier in the digital age, with platforms such as YouTube, which is home to millions expert content creators and teachers, who you can learn from at your leisure.

You can also develop your skills through recreational activities, such as sports, or volunteering. Such activities equip you with core business skills such as teamwork, leadership and planning, which are relevant to pretty much any profession.

However, you’ll find it easier to break into your new profession and boost your skills if you undertake a professional qualification. If you’re worried about fitting study around work and other life commitments, distance learning is a flexible option, which allows you to study at the times that suit you best and gain a well-respected, industry recognised qualification in the process.

It’s clear that there are ample ways to pull off a mid-life career change, whilst causing minimal disruptions to your life. So if you’re fed up of your current role and looking for a new professional challenge, these five tips will help you conquer a new career with precision and ease.

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