Are you thinking about making a career change? If so, you are not alone.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average worker holds upwards of 10 different jobs before the age of 50, and 12 to 15 in their liftetime.
This number will only continue to grow, as the changing nature of work has made switching careers more feasible for everyone compared to previous generations.
People switch careers for various reasons. They often do so because their goals and values have changed, or perhaps they have discovered new interests that they would like to incorporate into their jobs.
Whatever your reason, careful planning is essential in achieving a successful career change.
This article will outline several ways to prepare and ensure a smooth mid-career transition.
Table of Contents
Understand why you want to change career
Many workers change careers in order to do something more meaningful with their time.
Therefore, if you are keen to make a career change, the first step is to explore and understand why you want to do it.
When changing careers, ensure that you work toward your passion and what you love doing. In these circumstances, your reason might seem like this:
- I want to run a business to have more control over my professional career. I want to have more flexibility to do my job where and when I want to.
- Since I was a child, I’ve always been passionate about helping businesses and wanted to have my own consultancy firm.
- My IT job is no longer fulfilling me. It makes me feel miserable. I want to start a PR business career where I can interact personally and work with real people.
Understanding your reason for changing careers allows you to concentrate on where you are going, what matters the most in your life, and what decisions are aligned with your goals and interests.
In doing so, you can become more committed to your new career and ensure that you make the change with a clear mind.
Explore your options
Now that you’ve established why you want to change your career, the next step is to figure out what you want to do and explore your options.
The last thing you want when thinking about a midlife career change is to end up in a new job you hate equally.
Therefore, you must research and ensure that you know enough about the industry and role you want to pursue.
Your goal should be to find a job that enables you to work in your sweet spot – the crossroads between what you do best, what you love to do, and the results that matter to you.
So, how do you go about it? Although there are no hard and fast rules, an excellent way to identify your sweet spot is to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my natural talents, skills and abilities?
- Of those abilities, which am I passionate about? Which talents make me feel alive and give me energy?
- What problem do I want to solve, and what can I provide?
When you sit down to reflect on these questions, you will notice that several patterns appear from nowhere. Pay attention to these patterns because they are indicators of what your dream job could be.
Alternatively, you can try using career quizzes online, though you have to take the results with a pinch of salt.
Once you have an idea of what type of job you want to pursue, conduct extensive research on where you can perform that role and the skills and qualifications that are needed to do the job.
Do you have a skill set that would make you a better fit to pursue that career? Or is there something that you still need to learn?
You must be honest with yourself when finding out what skills you need to learn to ensure that you don’t find yourself caught like a proverbial deer in headlights.
Set a budget to fund your career change
Before you learn the skills that will equip you to pursue your dream career, you must initially make a budget to support your career change.
Like it or not, a career change is financially demanding. Not only will you have to think about taking more training and education, but you may also have to set aside something for boarding expenses.
It is, however, worth noting that you do not necessarily have to be rolling in money to change careers. You only need enough to get started.
Based on the skills you need to learn to start your new career, come up with an estimate of the expenses required to get that education.
If you need financial resources for formal education or training, create a budget that considers all possible expenses, including books, journals and other learning materials.
By creating a budget, you can put yourself on a firmer financial footing for both the day-to-day and the long term, while ensuring that you always have enough to spend in case some programs require membership fees.
Learn those new skills
After setting a comprehensive budget, the next step is to learn the skills needed to become more effective in your new career.
Now, you might be wondering how you are supposed to do this when you still have other more pressing priorities.
Enter online learning. Learning online allows you to have additional flexibility and autonomy without undermining your priorities.
Thanks to the emergence of powerful technologies, you can now study a specialized MBA program at Walsh University from the comfort of your home.
Unlike the traditional classroom setting, an online MBA program does not require you to attend classes at a particular time or day.
This means that when you sign up for an online MBA course, you get to fit your learning around your busy schedule and not the other way around.
You can attend classes and watch lectures at the most convenient time. Instead of skipping family dinner or leaving a prior work commitment to head to campus, you can sign in at a time that does not interfere with your obligations.
In addition, it also allows for more focused learning. Usually, traditional education works on a specific schedule.
The instructor discusses a topic with the class, assigns homework, and quizzes students the next day. After a week, a new topic is discussed, and the previous one can sometimes become an afterthought.
This can be pretty alarming for someone studying to earn an MBA degree. The reality is that an MBA course is complex and requires students to allocate sufficient time to learn technical and business concepts.
With online learning, you can proceed at your own pace and ensure that you retain what you learn as you go along.
This allows you to delve deeply into the specializations that correspond to the four pillars of business: management, marketing, finance and operations.
Additionally, it can help with inductive reasoning, which is the capacity to take in data and draw inferences from it.
This can be especially important in business administration, where good decision-making depends on making decisions quickly and effectively.
You will be able to effectively improve and critically analyze the effectiveness of your education and make the required adjustments for optimal learning once you can learn at the pace that you find most enjoyable.
Additionally, self-paced learning enables students to concentrate on topics that interest them the most or that they already understand.
This, in turn, lessens boredom, anxiety or irritation that students may experience while learning.
In addition, learning at your preferred pace allows you to take control of your education. You specify what to do, how to do it, when, and how long to study or review material to amass a vast body of knowledge to deal with every scenario that might arise in business administration.
Through this process, you increase the likelihood of delving into more profound research to expand your knowledge even after your online class is done.
Network with industry leaders
It is not uncommon for individuals changing careers to want to make it on their own. However, the sad truth is that doing this by yourself can only take you so far.
By joining a professional organization related to your dream job, you will meet other passionate and dedicated professionals who will motivate you to take the plunge and gain access to the latest practices, advancements and techniques in your field.
Members of professional organizations also get job invitations and recommendations in addition to employee assistance resources.
With networking, you become more involved and engaged. You meet like-minded people with the same struggles and ambitions, while understanding changing trends within the industry.
Moreover, these networking opportunities will often work on your schedule as the members are as busy as you.
When networking with other nurses, ensure that you record contact details and ask individuals if you can contact them in the future to ask for professional advice, job prospects and discussions.
While your goal is to advance your career, you may find that you can meet an invaluable mentor.
Achieving successful career change
A career change poses several challenges. You can overcome these challenges by signing up and enrolling today.