Expert tips on how to make a mid-career switch

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Changing jobs is one of the most stressful life experiences.  But what about when you are changing careers entirely?  It is a huge undertaking that involves a considerable amount of risk and stress.  Business Optimizer takes a look at how to manage the switch successfully.

As the world of work changes, an increased number of people will be making mid-career switches.  This can be a challenging process – full of fears, doubt, and uncertainty.  It can also be a time of hope, personal growth, and empowerment.

As with so many things in life, good planning is critical to ensure the best experience during a mid-life career switch.

#1. Know what drives and inspires you

Changing careers is a good opportunity to think again about your values and what you want.  Choosing a new career that more closely fits with your values will ensure that your new career is more satisfying and meaningful.

#2. Reach out for help

Once you have chosen a field or role that you wish to enter, reach out to coaches and mentors who have experience of similar roles in the same field.  The support of a good mentor helps not only with practical insights about the career switch, but it can also offer an emotional boost; for example, to help you deal with change more effectively.

#3. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to gain experience in your new career, especially if you can arrange to volunteer alongside your existing role.  This way, you can understand whether the career switch is right for you before taking the plunge.  Plus, it’s a great experience on your CV and a whole new set of contacts in your chosen field.

#4. Look for opportunities to formalise new learning

For some career switches, you may need to have formalised learning and accreditation before you can think about making the switch.  For those jobs where formal accreditation is necessary, you should look for opportunities to demonstrate learning.  As well as proving your knowledge of the new field and your commitment to working in that field – gaining formal accreditation helps to boost your confidence.  And you will appear more job-ready on your CV and at interview.

#5. Remember work is about people as much as the work

Interviews are two-way processes; they are as much an opportunity to see if the job and the organisation are right for you as they are for the interviewer to find out if you are a good fit with their organisation.  Taking time to be with people and to understand the culture of an organisation can be a much more important indicator of whether this role is right for you than merely reading the job spec.

#6. Market yourself well

Spend time honing your CV and giving all your social media profiles a spring clean before you start applying for work.

#7. Set your goals

While making a career switch may require you to accept a step backward in terms of payment or seniority if you’ve chosen the right one, the rewards should more than compensate.  However, to “catch up” you do need to take a proactive approach to manage your career.  Use the support and advice of your mentor and continually look for learning opportunities.  Perhaps the best incentive of all to succeed is knowing you are now doing something you truly love.