Are you looking for a new career? This step-by-step tutorial on how to change careers at midlife can help.

Changing career at 30, 40, or even after 50, is possible. In fact, the average person will change career somewhere between four to six times in their lifetime.

And the reward of the right career is long-term joy and job satisfaction — it fulfills your professional, financial and personal needs.

Whether you’re facing a fading occupation or just tired of your current job, you are no different from others who are experiencing similar midlife crisis.

If money was not an issue you are starting to build a more meaningful second half of your life. The pressure of social status and meeting the expectations of significant others are no longer your highest concern.

Back to top

Things That Hold You Back

how to change careersBefore learning about how to change careers, do you know the things that hold you back, your main obstacles?

Because you have already achieved some successes, you might have made some excuses for staying in a job you did not like. What’s more, some people in your life may tell you to stay with the job.

You may hear that you shouldn’t be changing careers “at your age” and that “it’s a job, you aren’t supposed to like it.” But both of these are false.

If you want to get a second chance but you don’t want your situation to become worse, thoroughly assess your situation and find a career that is right for you.

Think it through and take things one step at a time. When you do that, not only will you have all the ammunition that you need to combat that naysayer who wants you to stay where you are but be on the path to a brand new career and loving every minute of it.

Back to top

10 Sure-Fire Steps to Change Careers at Midlife

My advice on how to change careers at midlife consists of 10 steps:

1. Current Position
2. Skills, Interests and Values
3. Transferable Skills
4. Career Choices
5. Additional Education

6. Career Networking
7. Financial Preparation
8. New Career
9. Burning Bridges
10. Measuring Results

Back to top

Current Position

Take a look at your current position, both professionally and personally. Is your current job satisfying? Do you actually like your job? Should you have to drag yourself to the office or store or whatever each day? Do you dread returning to work after a day off?

Those are the most basic questions to ask and ones that are often overlooked.

Are you stuck in a rut? Do you feel stifled or held back? Do you feel as if you are going nowhere?

The need for a job change can be due to many things such as poor management, boredom, or lack of motivation. If you feel that you just can’t get any more out of your job after utilizing your existing skills or that you may have hit a professional plateau, it may be time to think about a new career plan.

Keep a log of how you react to various job issues. Jot down various thoughts that you have about your job throughout the day — those that are positive as well as negative.

Don’t just focus on the tasks; also think about the company culture, your co workers and other factors. For instance, do you work for a corporation but you are more idealistic in nature?

However, make sure that you are in a new career for the right reasons. A career change is not an effective way of fixing a problem that you may be having at work. As a matter of fact, that is a pretty good way to go about possibly messing up your life even more.

If you can deal with the fact that you can’t run away from your problems even with a career change, your life will be better for it.

Once you analyze your situation remember to set up your personal goals. These should be your first career planning step to a new, perfect career. You do deserve to enjoy a career success as well as a meaningful life.

By setting life and career goals you’ll enhance your career plan to the next level since your career has an undivided relationship with each area of your life.

Back to top

Skills, Interests and Values

Have you found your ideal career? If you haven’t, take some career tests and make a self assessment. Your values, personality, interests and aptitudes as well as your overall qualifications are useful for two reasons.

Not only will these help discover your perfect career, these also uncover your true reasons for switching to a new career.

Take a hard look at your skills and values. Is your current career addressing them? There are lots of free skills assessments and interest assessments that you can take on the internet.

Think about things you have done in the past that you enjoyed including volunteer work, activities you did in college or school and jobs that you really liked.

Back to top

Transferable Skills

When you change jobs you are typically making a lateral move. A career change is usually not even on the same scale and often requires different or other skills.

When you are deciding on a move, take a moment to think about it. Are you making a lateral move? Or are you making a move into a job that challenges you more and asks more of you than your current job?

Once you have taken a good look at your new career, determine what transferable skills you have that you can bring to the table. Transferable skills are those skills that you can bring from one job position to another.

When you are pursuing a new career, it is important that you can find your own transferable skills. This can be very useful in when and how you make your move.

Back to top

Career Choices

If you want to be happy with your career change, it is your responsibility to make sure that you pick the right job this time around. Take some time to research and explore your options. Volunteer, get a part time job, visit a site.

Do whatever it takes to get as much a feel for the real world of the job that you are considering so that you won’t regret your career change in a few months.

Think about not only what you can do but also what you like to do. If you are going to make a job change, salary and benefits may be a factor in determining the route you should take, but that should not be the only reason that you make the move. Find a career that you will actually enjoy.

Statistics show that people who work in a job that they enjoy are healthier and experience fewer stress related illnesses. Also, take a look at the knowledge, skills and abilities that your prospective career requires.

Do some research on your chosen career and your state’s department of labor is a good resource for finding profiles on various careers.

Select several career choices and read up on them. Read about the requirements as well as any more education or skills that are needed.

Back to top

Additional Education

additional education - how to change careers at midlifeOnce you find the career that matches your overall background check out the gap between the required qualifications and your competencies.

Does the field need a specific training and education? If so, it can range from self-study, specific certification courses, more formal education, volunteer work, part-time job and everything in between.

Depending on the career move that you are making, it may be necessary for you to get some training. With the boom of online schools that allow professionals to take courses online, on their own time, getting a college or graduate degree to boost your career change is now easier than ever.

If the online route isn’t your thing, though, you can also take classes at your local university or community college. There are also technical schools that offer courses in many careers.

Also, note that non traditional students — students who are older than 24 years old — are a rapidly growing population on college campuses throughout the United States.

Back to top

Career Networking

Begin networking with people in your new industry. As a start, you can find a person who will help you through the industry association in your local area.

As he or she will refer you to prospective employers make sure you build a positive rapport with the person. By demonstrating unique personality and potentials you will promote yourself to your target employers long before you want the job.

Talk to some professionals who are already in the career of your choice. They can be great sources to give you career change advice. Ask if you can shadow them for a few hours or a few days so that you can get a feel for what the career entails. Ask questions and learn about the education and skills that they needed to get to the place that they are.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask. Find a mentor or life coach who can help you take a good look at yourself and your life, your profession and your goals. They can help to guide you and make your transition from your current career to a new career much smoother.

You can find a life coach or if you know someone who is already in the field that you want to enter you can ask them for help. If you are attending school, you can talk to a career counselor there. The point is, if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Back to top

Financial Preparation

When you are starting out in a new industry, you are worth less than you probably were at the job you had become a seasoned professional in. You have to take a look at the market and see what the demands are like for the career that you are considering changing to.

At the same time, it is your responsibility to make sure that you explore all of your options as far as education and see just what the implications would be as far as time and money are concerned. The more savings you have the more ready you are for a career transition.

Do you have more than twelve months of salary in your savings account? This reserve is what you need to cover your monthly expenses during career transition.

Make sure your savings are also enough for financing your training and courses. Once you budget all of your expenses, take an action to accumulate more money so that you’re financially ready to change careers.

Back to top

New Career

how to change careers - a new careerMany employees will start their new career while they are still working at former employers. To become an entrepreneur, for example, you definitely have to work hard. But you’ll find that by starting your business this way, you’ll be able to see it off to a good start.

You can start making investments and putting money aside for larger investments to come while you are still working steadily and bringing in a stable paycheck.

You’ll also notice that you might be able to play with your existing work schedule a bit. You can cut back on hours, or you can rearrange them to have more time to do what it is you want. Take some time to see what can be done to maximize the amount of time you have.

Do your reading and your research, not only on your own industry but on what other people in your position have done since. You’ll find that there are many roads to get to the success you want and that a midlife career change is just the first step!

Back to top

Burning Bridges

When you change careers, be aware that this does not necessarily involve burning bridges. You can part ways very amicably with your company, and ideally, they would be happy to have you back should you ever be in a position where you want to think about working for them again.

To further encourage good relations, make sure that you never spread bad or slanderous material about your past employer, and make sure that your leave-taking is done with plenty of notice. Leave on good terms, and you will find yourself in an easier position than ever before.

Many people are a little concerned that the thing that is keeping them from making a dramatic job change is the benefits that they receive. For instance, if you go from working for a company with insurance to being self-employed, you will find that this can be a bit of a burden on you and your family.

Take some time to really think about what you need, and to see what independent medical insurance has to offer. Before you leave, visit the doctor for a full checkup, get any dental work done that you need, and fill up on any prescriptions that need to have.

Back to top

Measuring Results

How to tell if you are heading to your perfect career? The bottom line is what counts. Are your part-time jobs generating more satisfaction or rewards?

Do your part-time employers like you? Or, if you are starting a business, what is the response of your target market? It may take a while for employers or customers to fully accept your services. But you can use your precious time to build your personal brand value.

Just track your progress and to determine whether you are on the right track. But be flexible to make some adjustment if your situation requires you to do so.

And if you want to keep up with your career change process always keep this midlife career change resource handy.

With all the preparation you’ll know when the best time to confidently jump into the new career is. It might be a year or two or may be even more. But it won’t bother you because you enjoy the process of acquiring the perfect career.

That’s the tutorial on How to change careers at midlife. I hope you find success with your midlife career change journey!

Back to top