It’s very common for midlife to be a time of great change and reflection. For many, this might mean a desire or a need to change your career. Maybe you’ve reached a point where you no longer find your work fulfilling, or maybe you’ve developed a new passion that you’d like to pursue. Or, maybe you’re feeling squeezed out by younger talent. Whatever the reason, making a career change in midlife can feel daunting. I’ve put together six tips for you to consider to successfully change your career in midlife.
Begin With Your Skills and Interests
The first step in any successful career change is recognizing your skills and interests. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? What activities give you a sense of purpose? Answering these questions will help you identify potential career paths to consider that align with your interests and abilities.
If your answer to these questions is different than they were at the beginning of your career, that is a sign that you’re ready to consider a change in your career. Don’t let that intimidate you. In fact, it is very common for our skills and interests to be different in midlife compared to when you first began your career.
Be sure to reflect on your past experiences and accomplishments. This can help you identify the skills and strengths that you’ve developed over the years. You may also want to consider taking a skills assessment or talking to a career coach to gain a deeper understanding of your strengths and potential new career paths.
Do Creative Research on Potential Careers
Once you have a better understanding of your skills and interests, it’s time to start doing some creative research of potential career paths. This can involve researching job postings, talking to people who work in your desired field, and exploring educational programs or training opportunities.
Don’t hold back in your creative thinking when exploring new career paths. Explore companies that interest you. Visit their website, their LinkedIn page as well as their YouTube channels and blogs to learn as much as you can about them.
Make sure to consider all aspects of a potential new career, including salary, work-life balance, and opportunities for continued growth in your midlife career and advancement. Approaching this creatively may also inspire you want to explore non-traditional career paths, such as starting your own business or pursuing a freelance career path in a new direction.
Create Your Action Plan
Once you’ve identified some potential career paths, it’s important to create your action plan for achieving your goals. Start by writing down your goals. Are you seeking to develop a new skill, pursue a life-long dream or pursue a brand-new dream you now realize is a burning passion of yours? Know your why!
Be open to going back to school to gain new skills or certifications, building a portfolio of work to showcase your abilities, or networking with others in your desired field.
Make sure to set specific career goals and deadlines for yourself. This will help you stay motivated, accountable and focused as you work towards your new career shift. It’s also advisable to seek out a mentor or career coach who can provide guidance and support throughout the process. You’re going to need it and there is NO shame in that!
Pivoting your career in midlife can be challenging, and it’s important to be prepared for setbacks and obstacles. You may face challenges such as a lack of experience in your desired field or difficulty finding employment opportunities in a new industry. You may be starting from scratch with no network in your desired field.
Stay focused, flexible, and open-minded., And be prepared to adjust your plan as needed. Don’t be hesitant to seek out additional training or education, or to take on freelance or contract work to gain experience in your new field. In fact, doing freelance work could open doors to new relationships and opportunities.
Embrace the Career Pivot Journey
It’s important to embrace the journey of career change in midlife. It’s natural to feel some anxiety or uncertainty when considering making a major life change, but remember that this is an opportunity for growth and self-discovery.
Take time to celebrate even seemingly small successes along the way, no matter how insignificant they may seem at the time. And remember that every experience and challenge can teach you something new about yourself and your potential.
Build New Relationships
Whether you decide to start a business in your midlife career change or land a new job, relationships rule. Chances are that you have relationships you’ve had for many years in your current career. A pivot to a different industry requires building new relationships.
Don’t overlook your network-building skills. And, don’t be hesitant to start building your network in another industry. In a post-Covid pandemic world, there is a kindred spirit that is prevalent in business. It’s as if the world has awakened to the fact that business is comprised of people and we need each other.
You might be pleasantly surprised to learn how people are willing to meet you for a virtual coffee to give you insights into an industry or a company that interests you. It won’t be long in your new career before you’ll have an opportunity to do the same and pay it forward for someone else.
Changing your career in midlife can seem like a tall mountain to climb. But, it can also be an exciting and rewarding experience. By taking stock of your skills and interests, researching potential careers, creating your action plan, being prepared for challenges, embracing the journey, and building new relationships you can successfully pivot your career and find fulfillment and purpose in your relationship with work.