Do you find yourself dreaming of a new career? You’re not alone. More than 80 percent of people over the age of 45 dream of making a midlife career change. Dreaming is easy, but taking that leap and actually making a change isn’t. Here’s how to change careers and get a job you’ll love.
Ask yourself the tough questions
Ask yourself why you want to make the change. This may be a difficult question, but it can help you determine if you want to change fields completely. You may find you enjoy the type of work you’re in, but want to look for opportunities at a new company. Most importantly, take time to think your decision over. If your judgment is clouded by a few bad days or weeks, you’ll want to mull this big decision over and thoroughly weigh the benefits and drawbacks.
Consider your finances
Your new career path may promise a bit more variety, flexible hours or an opportunity to practice your passion, but if it’ll leave you strapped for cash or delay retirement it may not be the best move. Take a close look at the new gig’s salary, benefits and retirement offerings to ensure you can afford the change.
- Salary: If your new career path promises a higher salary, then this is one factor you don’t need to worry about. But, if changing careers means taking a pay cut, you may need to evaluate your budget to see if you can swing the move financially.
- Benefits: Pay isn’t the only financial factor to consider. Do you depend on your current employer’s benefits such as a variety of insurance offerings — medical, dental, vision, life, and long-term and short-term disability? If so, you’ll want to be sure your new employer will offer the same level of benefits or it could end up costing you more.
- Retirement: During the midpoint of your career, you’re probably thinking about retirement more and more each day. When looking at new employers, evaluate their retirement offerings and whether or not they offer a 401(k) match.
Ultimately, it’s your decision, but trusted friends, family, and industry experts may provide valuable insight and offer significant career change advice. Gaining your closest confidants’ support is critical for making your career change at 40 (or older) successful.
Give your new career a test run
Without some firsthand experience, jumping 100 percent into a new industry may not be the best choice. If there’s a new industry you have an interest in, gaining a little experience working hands on in the field may be key for a successful midlife career change. A job shadow, internship or a part-time job in that field could give you the insight and experience you need to decide. While helping you decide if this is the field for you, these experiences can also help build your resume at the same time.
Take a class or two
If it’s a completely new career path you seek, taking a class or two related to the new field can help expand your knowledge base. Research what classes are available through a local college, online or in your community.
Update your resume and cover letter
Because your resume and cover letter are often the first opportunity you have to showcase your skills and express your job interest to a prospective employer, it’s important these tools are up-to-date. Especially when you’re shifting your career in a new direction, highlighting your relevant skills is a great way to connect and tie your experience to the new position. These tools allow you to tell your story and convince your prospective employer you would be a good pick. When your resume is current, reach out to those in your network that have a connection to the field you want to pursue. They can help you network and make connections in the profession.
When there’s a big change in your world be sure you’re covered.