November 2, 2021

How To Change Careers At Any Age

Career Guides|Career Resources
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Most people spend a third of their lives — or 90,000 hours — at work. Changing your career can sometimes be the next best step for your career journey, and in many instances, may be necessary to live the life you want, and in many instances, may be necessary to live the life you want. Because this is a big decision that will affect the rest of your professional life, taking time to do it right is essential.

No matter how you plan and execute a career change, there are some steps you can take to help manage the process.

If you are thinking about changing your career, maybe it’s time to start! Read on!

Why People Change Careers

There are many different reasons why one would want to change their career. Of course, it’s a personal decision with many factors involved. Joblist’s Midlife Career Crisis survey tells us the top five reasons people change jobs:

  • 47% switch careers to earn a better salary
  • 39% change careers because their job is too stressful
  • 37% change because they need a better work-life balance
  • 25% want a new challenge in their career
  • 23% are no longer passionate about their field

If one of those reasons resonates with you, we have some advice to help you get what you want.

  1. Keep a Journal

Keep a journal of your career journey. This is an excellent way to get to know yourself better to figure out what you want in terms of job satisfaction. You can also use it to figure out what makes you unhappy, so you can work on changing the things in your new job that are causing unhappiness.

You can keep a physical journal or do it electronically. Once you decide how to keep your journal, start writing entries about your thoughts and feelings related to your job satisfaction. 

Next, make a list of your skills and interests and consider the ways your strengths and weaknesses impact your satisfaction level at work.

Once you have a list of skills and interests, consider the opportunities you might have to use them. For example, if you’re a strong writer, look for jobs that emphasize writing skills. If you’re a creative thinker, think about jobs that will allow you to display your creativity.

  1. Decide if you want to change industries

If you are ready to make a career change, you may want to consider moving from one industry to another. 

When deciding to change careers, most people have a sense of discontent in their current position. However, it is crucial to determine if this feeling is related only to the specific job or the whole industry. If you are looking for a way out of your current career, changing industries may do the trick. On the other hand, if it is only your specific position that causes dissatisfaction, then changing careers may not be a viable option for you at this time.

The decision to move from one industry to another can have several advantages. The new industry might be growing faster than your current industry, and the old skills will translate into a new career path. Also, you might find that you are more passionate about your next career choice than your previous occupation. 

3. Brainstorm Careers

To become more informed on your career options, brainstorm the jobs and industries that may be a good fit for your skills and values. If you find it challenging to find a career that fits your needs, ask others in your professional network. You can also seek guidance in the form of career counseling, where you’ll likely learn more about your personality and how it fits into today’s evolving workforce.

One good approach is to collect information about the various occupations that interest you. First, however, it is helpful to list all your interests and other vital factors. If you have a strong sense of identity, you may know very well what you want to do, or at least have a few possibilities already in mind. Taking this preliminary step before diving into thorough research will help you narrow your career focus.

4. Research your target industry

Once you narrow your search to a particular industry, you can conduct informational interviews. If you are considering changing industries, your first step should be to conduct informational interviews with people who work in this field. An informational interview is a conversation with a professional in a specific area of interest to you. The purpose is not to secure a job but to learn about opportunities, challenges, and responsibilities associated with that career and the skills required for success. 

Before attending an informational interview, it’s a good idea to do some research, so you know what the company does and how the industry works. If possible, try to identify a few important trends in the industry. These are people who are already doing the work you are considering, so they have first-hand insight into whether or not it will meet your needs.

5. Make An Action Plan

Now that you have an idea of what you’ll need to do to accomplish your career change, think about your short-term and long-term goals for this new phase of your life.

If you’re changing careers, you might not know exactly what you want to do yet. That’s okay. The key is to develop a plan for achieving your career change. Planning ahead will help keep you on track, prevent burnout, and make it easier to manage competing priorities. Your action plan should outline what steps you need to take to achieve your career change and identify any potential barriers or challenges along the way.

An action plan is an organized way of making sure your goals are specific and measurable, as well as time-bound and rewarding. It is a way to help you ensure that you are on track to achieve your goals – and give you something to show potential employers when they ask about your career goals! It will keep you focused on what needs to be done next – and help ensure that you don’t miss critical opportunities along the way. You can use it as a checklist for achieving your ultimate goal: a new career.

6. Use your network

As you begin your career shift, remember to leverage your network. In the past, job searches were primarily done via classified ads or with headhunters. Today, however, you have a vast social network through which you can reach out to recruiters and hiring managers.

Building a professional online presence is a must when you are in the job searching process because it helps others learn more about who you are and what you bring to the table. Be sure to be professional in all of your online interactions. You never know who could be looking at your profile, so avoid posting anything that would harm your professional reputation.

7. Consider educational resources and develop new skills

If you are considering moving into a field that requires a degree or certifications, you may need to seek additional education beyond your current work experience. College courses, continuing-education classes, or even free online resources can help deepen your understanding of your new potential career.

The first step is to assess what you already know about the industry or occupation. Then, research what educational requirements are necessary for landing your dream job.

If you can’t take time off for school because of different reasons, don’t forget that there are still ways to gain new skills. You could take classes at night or pursue other training in your off-time. In addition, there are online courses available from reputable universities, podcasts from industry leaders, and formal and informal communities where you can connect with other people in your target field.

For example, a marketer who wants to move into finance may ask for control over the marketing budget to gain skills regarding working with ledgers. Seizing opportunities like this is helpful, but only if you remember to apply those newly acquired skills to your resume and cover letter.

Go to our get matched page to find a bootcamp that’s right for you. 

8. Commit to your desired career change

To keep yourself motivated in your career-change plan. Consider using a spreadsheet to log milestones as you make your way toward a complete career change. Sometimes, changing your career can take time. However, by tracking your progress, you acknowledge all the small victories along the way — and that can make you feel a greater sense of accomplishment as you successfully complete the switch.

Don’t look back and wonder where the time went. By implementing these eight steps, you can make a successful career change! If you’re looking for a career change but don’t know where to start, check out our get matched page to get matched with a career-building program!

About the author

This post was prepared by the author, in her/his personal capacity. The views expressed are her/his own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Meratas Inc.
The information contained in this site is general in nature and should not be considered to be legal, tax, accounting, financial or other professional advice. In all cases, you should consult with professional advisors familiar with your particular situation prior to making any important decisions. Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, Meratas Inc. makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of this content. Meratas Inc. assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained herein or the operation or use of these materials. Copyright 2022

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