How to Change Careers at 30, 40, 50 and Above
The older you get, the more difficult it can seem when considering a career change, but in the end the success you attain may outweigh the risks of changing careers.
People don’t always go for a career change to chase after their dreams and passions – they could be looking for career progression, escaping negative work experiences, going after better working conditions or reacting to external factors such as a redundancy. A 2014 study by Seek found that 38% of Australians have intention to change jobs in the next 12 months but only 23% actually follow through. Of those whom followed through with a career change, 88% believed it was a good decision. Another study by the School of Life in 2008 showed that 60% of employees would pick another career if they could begin again.
If you’d like to save yourself from career regrets here are some pointers on how to change careers at 30, 40, 50 and above:
Assess Your Career Situation
Search for the answers to these questions – “What are my career options?”, “What should I study?” and “Why do I want a change of career?”
In a survey conducted by USA Today, it was discovered that for midlife adults who were considering a career change, 80% wanted to pursue their personal passions while 75% wanted to bring more meaning to their life. If you’re not entirely sure what you want in a career, you can try doing career quizzes or tests online. There are tools such as the CareerHQ Compass which act as a career planning platform, helping you through a career assessment and management of your career path.
You should brainstorm a list of career change ideas that you want to know more about. Find a database or list of jobs and careers and research to learn more about the types of jobs you could target and find out about the job outlook or job prospects of specific industries.
Seek Career Advice or Counselling
Gather all the career advice you can, whether it be from your family, friends, professional network, career counsellor, advisor or coach.
If you’ve networked well throughout your career, now would be the time to reach out to people who can give you insights into the career you want to get into.
Professional Networking for Your Career
How do you increase your chances of finding a job in a new career in which you have no direct experience? Networking with professionals in your target industry is a great way to get a head start. Attend networking/business events, make use of alumni databases, hop on LinkedIn and examine career paths of people in your target role. Reach out to those people and try to learn more about the industry and how to break into that field.
Have a Career Backup Plan
Leaving a secure full-time job in your 30s,40s 50s and above is quite a risky move as it can be a fresh start where you may have to take a cut to your pay and start from the bottom. Save up money for rainy days in the case you have a struggling period of job hunting. This financial buffer will support your career change decision should things go wrong.
Consider Further Training and What to Study
Upskilling yourself is key when you’re changing career to one that is completely different to what you’re currently employed in. To ensure your competitiveness in your new industry you’ll need to show that you have the determination and meet the requirements for that career. Further training can be undertaken, certifications acquired and knowledge obtained.
Writing a Career Change Cover Letter
Entering a new career with no direct experience can be daunting but as long as you are able to convey your transferable skills and how you can apply them to the new career, your personal brand, and why you are chasing your dreams, you’ll be alright.
Focus on Your Positives
Last of all, you need to always focus on your positives. Don’t let your age be a barrier or let it define you. Tailoring your experiences that you’ve acquired throughout your career and the valuable transferable skills you’ve honed over the years to the requirements of the new career will show the employer that you will be a valuable asset to their company. Confidence in yourself is key to landing a job in a new career.
For career changes, age is definitely no barrier – when you continue staying focused on all your positives you’ll become part of the percentage of career changers who have no regrets.