Changing careers can be scary at any age, let alone once you’ve reached a mid-life stage. You’re removed from that “entry level” stage and probably have life responsibilities that make it challenging to fully start over.
Age shouldn’t be a reason, however, not to change your path if your current role isn’t serving you anymore. Here are some tips to consider on your journey.
Know Your Why
Before making the transition into a new career path, it’s important to evaluate your why. Why do you want to change careers? And why now? There can be a number of different reasons driving this desire for change and at this particular moment.
Are you looking for more control or freedom over your work? Do you want to do something that you’re more passionate about or change to something that’s been a long-time dream of yours? Running towards something is a good sign. If you’re making this change due to a bad boss or a toxic work environment, you may want to take a step back and re-evaluate. Running away may not be the best reason to uproot your entire work life.
Disregard Doubtful Chatter
When you are confident in your decision to make the change, try to avoid any outside doubters’ opinions. Career changes are not necessarily the norm, despite career changes recently becoming more common. People will always have their own opinions, but remember that at the end of the day, it’s your life. You need to do what makes you happy.
Have a Clear Goal
Taking such a big leap shouldn’t be done lightly. To set yourself up for success, spend time thinking through your long-term plan. What is your end goal?
Explore options for the work you would like to be doing. Will they get you to the place you’d like to be in? Having a plan in place ensures you won’t be wasting your own time.
Tackle Missing Requirements
More than likely, switching careers will take some effort to acquire additional skills needed. Depending on the amount needed, you may want to stay at your current job while working on this.
See if certification or specific course credits will be required. There are also a variety of online resources that are available for unofficial means of training. Figure out what’s mandatory or where there is a workaround.
Do Your Due Diligence
If the career move is going to be a complete 180 from your current (or former role), you will benefit from doing some pre-change checking. Find out what skills are absolutely necessary and which ones are recommended.
Interact with people who are doing what you want to be doing or the population you’d like to be helping. The more you know, the more you can prepare yourself. You don’t want to be midway through or at the end of this transition and find out it wasn’t what you were expecting it to be.
Do a full overhaul of your resume to phrase your current and newly acquired skills in a manner that sells it to their needs. Highlight anything that will make you stand out from the crowd. You may want to look into a resume service to assist you. Update your cover letter and reference list to reflect the most up to date information and make any changes accordingly.
At the end of the day, confidence in yourself will be important. A career change mid-life does not mean you will be any less successful than if you were in your twenties. While you may have to do a little extra work, you have experience on your side.
If you’re having concerns about making a career change, reach out to Integrative Psychotherapy Group to help address those fears.