Ask a Career Coach: “How Can I Switch Careers Mid-Life?”

March 4th, 2016

Studies show that up to 80 percent of baby boomers plan to do some sort of paid work till the age of 70, so they can stay mentally sharp, keep socially engaged, and achieve financial security in their retirement.

Whether you are in your 30s, 40s or 50s, you may be contemplating switching careers. Is it too late? The answer is a definitive “no”! But like all the best things in life, you have to work for it. This means not rushing into the next phase of your professional life, no matter how anxious you are to make it happen.

Do it right. Develop a strategic process that includes careful thought, and capitalize on the resources you can glean from your friends and advisors.

Know Your Priorities

Who are you at this point in your life – and what do you want and need?

These are simple questions, but they need careful, thoughtful answers. Take some time to slow down, decompress and reflect. Resist the urge to find a quick fix.

  • Ask yourself the hard questions. For starters, what is your financial status? This may not be the deciding factor, but be sure to balance it with the other priorities in your life. It may very well be time to trade in plans for that vacation home or annual European cruise for less time spent commuting and more time spent at the beach. Or not. The point is: Plan. Think. And then act.

Unsure What You Want to Do?

If you want a change but are unsure or not completely confident about your new career direction, try the following options:

  • Take a self-assessment test: Myriad options can be found online, in books and at the offices of vocational psychologists and career counselors. They can provide suggestions and ideas, but the definitive answer is up to you.
  • Test the waters: Take a second part-time job – or volunteer – in the field you are considering. This will allow you to gain hands-on experience and test drive a new pathway before you quit your current job to head down it.
  • Switch careers in steps: If you have followed the previous step, you are already on this track. A related strategy is to begin by changing titles or roles within your field, and then later on, switching to a new industry all together. By making your transition in steps, you can legitimately claim prior experience each time you make a move.

A professional recruiter or career coach can help you to accurately identify your short- and long-term goals – and then develop a realistic action plan to achieve them. The experienced team at the Select Group, Inc. can partner with you on this journey. As a full-service recruitment firm, we have helped thousands of professionals take the next step in their careers. We have access to market intelligence and the best opportunities with some of the nation’s premier employers. Contact us today to learn more.

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