Midlife Career Change – Success in 7 Simple Steps!
A mid-life career change can be a challenging project. Think about the possible results after you make the career change. The rewards should bring you new job satisfaction and fulfill a range of personal and financial needs.
Midlife career changes occur for a variety of reasons. One reason not to stay in your current career is that you’ve achieved some success and you then rationalize staying in a job as you are becoming more and more disillusioned and miserable. Another thing you might hear is that you shouldn’t be changing careers because at your age it either can’t be done and you should be satisfied “you do have a job don’t you.”
Leaving one career for another for the wrong reasons will not fix the problems; it will just transport them to a new location.
As you develop your midlife career change plan here are 7 steps to consider:
1. Where are you now? Carefully consider you current career. Is there anything you can do to make the situation better? Can you transfer to another career with the same employer? Is it the employer or the career that’s the problem? If it’s your current employer that’s the problem, should you consider staying in the current career with another employer?
2. Self-Assessment and Research: Review your skills and knowledge. What do you enjoy doing? What do you not want to do? Why? Do you have any interests that translate into a new career? Are there parts of your current career you really enjoy? Do not enjoy? What skills and knowledge are required in prospective careers? What possible gaps do you have to fill to qualify for the new career?
Gather information about prospective careers by talking to those currently working in the field, reading job descriptions and other internet resources. After you’ve analyzed your situation, looked carefully at your likes and dislikes and sketch out a possible direction building a new career plan. As you research possible new careers you should write out new career goals. Stay flexible and be willing to move in another direction if you reach a dead end.
3. What are the skills you bring to your new career? Your new proposed career may require different or additional skills and knowledge. However, with your previous experience you will find a whole family of transferable skills to your new career.
Skills and accomplishments in leadership, project management, problem solving, communications and others will cross over into the new career. How you list achievements in these skills on your resume and cover letter will help get you noticed and scheduled for the job interview.
4. Adding Qualifications and Education: Once you’ve identified a possible career look carefully at the normal qualifications and skill sets required. Do you have a possible gap in any area?
If the career requires specific training or education can you cover it with self-study, internet learning, or seminars and workshops? Perhaps a night course in a local junior college would be sufficient. Or a mentor could put you on a path toward completing the required qualification.
Sometimes the requirement is career related experience. This can be solved by doing work for a non-profit, or helping on a committee in a career related association, or part-time, temp or working as a contractor.
5. Networking your way to Success: Find others working in your planned career. You can locate them through friends, relatives, co-workers, or area or national career related associations, or LinkedIn and other social networking sites.
You can learn a great deal about your proposed career by speaking to those currently working in the career. There are many good articles about making maximum use of this resource. Study the information available to turn networking into a valuable source of career information.
6. Financial Planning is a Must: You must integrate financial planning into your midlife career change plan. Your prospective new career may not pay you what you earned in your old career. How you cover the shortfall is important. It can be a combination of savings or reduction in expenses.
Be realistic in you planning on promotions and pay increases in your new career. With proper financial planning you can reduce your money concerns in the job change. In your career planning you may find you need to make several jobs change to qualify for your proposed career. This also must be factored into your career and financial planning.
7. Plan for Success in your New Career: You’ve now gotten a job on the first rung of your new career ladder. It is absolutely not the time to coast or put you career plan in the closet.
Continue your course of study and reading in the new career field and business and leadership in general. If your new employer offers help in added education take advantage of his offer.
Work carefully with you new boss on what is expected in the job; under promise and over deliver. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to excel. Build up your network of like-minded individuals. Help others find their dream careers, you’ll feel great and be building a productive network.