At some point in life, we all will realize that the career path we take is not exactly the one we want to follow into retirement. That’s normal. Our preferences, priorities, interests and goals change over time as we mature.
Despite those adaptations and adjustments, most people stick to the one industry they’ve spent years in. Their thinking is guided generally by risk aversion – and this only increases when we reach into our 30s.
Still, you should never rule out the chance to switch career paths later in life – or at any time along your career journey. Most people navigate their careers successfully, and many find happiness and fulfillment in the new careers they choose. So if they can do it, so can you!
Change, however, especially in something as important as your livelihood, can be a painful process. Self-loathing can easily set in. That’s why the guide below, what I call ‘7 Tips to the Smoothest Career Transition Ever,’ might boost your confidence and set you along a new pathway of professional discovery.
7 Secrets to Reinventing Your Career
I have lost my job twice in my career and, if you ask me, that’s two times too much! Add to one downsizing, the simultaneous loss of a parent and it all feels like the world has turned against you. Why me? Why do I have this storm cloud following over my head? Will it ever end?
- Try to learn more about the new industry you choose.
In order to increase your chances of getting hired in a new industry, you need to first do some old fashioned intelligence gathering. You can start researching online about a new industry’s practices, office and work processes, systems, and especially company culture. If possible, try to look for information that is relevant to your city, but don’t also forget to look at the bigger picture – like trying to learn how the industry fits into the larger world setting. Opportunities abound in every industry, large or niche, and today most industries typically have tentacles that reach far beyond their home bases.
- Attend short courses, programs and seminars related to the new industry you like.
When preparing for a career transition, researching may give you a good idea as to how a field or industry works, but it cannot forge new skills like seminars and short programs can. Attending workshopswill enhance both your skills and knowledge and this can give you an edge when the time comes to make the jump to a new career. And, of course, think of the networking possibilities. The more you put yourself out front and meet new people, the more you increase your chances of getting noticed by someone who can make the magical difference in your career journey.
- Make a list of skills and experience that could still be relevant to your new job.
Even though you have been trained in one industry, you do have transferable skills that can be useful in another. For example, if you have been working in customer service for years, those same basic skills can be easily applied to, say, the world of banking and finance. So, just remember that you have already developed a set of skills unique to you – and those skills can be used in multiple ways and in any variety of industries.
7 Key Questions to Ask Yourself Before Changing Careers
Changing careers is a big move to make. There are lots of things that you need to consider thoroughly before making any drastic decisions like quitting your job. According to specialists in the field, there are many factors that you should first think about carefully before concluding what your next move should be.
- Save up!
Before quitting your job or closing shop (if you are entrepreneur) to pursue a new career path, make sure you have enough savings that can sustain you for at least six months without a salary. This can help you live comfortably while you pursue a new job. Job hunting is not easy, and you can become discouraged along the way. The last thing you need to worry about is paying your electric bill or putting food on the table. Bottom line: a lot of advance planning goes a long way to increasing the odds of a successful job search.
- Scout for possible opportunities first.
To ensure that your job hunting days will not last more than six months, it pays to research and scour job opportunities first. Survey your landscape! This will give you an idea of the job possibilities that will be available to you.
- Talk to people who are already experienced in the industry.
No one can attest to how a certain industry works other than an insider. Insiders are the ones who know best about common industry practices and they can even give you tips and tricks when it comes to working in their respective field. Networking with these people can also potentially put you in the running for unadvertised jobs.
- Prep up your resume.
The first and foremost thing you need to show to a potential employer is, of course, your resume. And if you want to make a good impression, you must make sure that your resume is comprehensive – and truthful! You don’t have to list every experience or training you have had over the course of your entire career, but do include those experiences and skills that will be likely relevant to your new industry.
Switching careers – even when done later in life – is entirely possible as long as you prepare for it. Like everything you do; and especially for a career transition, preparation is key! Career journeys are never easy; they push you to move away from your comfort zone. But the reward is usually a self-fulfilling experience and a new career. The journey is just as important as the destination – so get to it!