It can be difficult for anyone to contemplate a career change, but as we age it becomes ever more difficult to consider starting life anew. A midlife career change can be very rewarding, but it can also be very difficult. Finding good career change advice or career change coaching can make all the difference, especially in a midlife career change.
- Why do people contemplate a change later in life? The average person will change jobs between 10 and 15 times during the course of a life. Between 2015 and 2016 alone, almost 4% of the entire United States workforce transferred from one occupation to another completely different one. Many of these changes are spurred on by a desire to do something more meaningful or rewarding. Another reason for a midlife career change may be the desire to find something more challenging. Some simply want to find something that pays better or is a better fit for the personal changes they have gone through.
- How is it possible to stay competitive with younger workers in the field? For anyone contemplating a midlife career change, the issue of competing with younger and possibly more energetic workers can be daunting. This is especially true when younger colleagues are typically far more flexible when it comes to technology. In order for a more mature worker to restart a career in a new field, it’s important to get certification and training to help you close skill gaps and practice learning how to utilize technology effectively.
It’s not enough to simply have the skills. You also need a way to help employers see what unique skills you can bring to the table. Even if you’re quite adept at using the latest technology, you may never be able to use it in business at quite the same speed as someone who is half your age. However, you have other skills and strengths that younger workers may very well be lacking: experience in the working world, staying power, the ability to manage others, proven responsibility, the ability to take a budget seriously and stay within it, etc. Remember, employers are concerned with making money. Many worry that employing an older and more experienced person will cost more. You need to find a way to highlight the things that you can bring to the table that younger workers typically lack and which will be an asset to a company.
- To succeed, you need to have a strategy. This can start with something as simple as taking an aptitude test. You may have taken one back when you are in high school, but the results might be very different now that you’re ready for a midlife career change. Once you get an idea of what you’re good at and why you want to make the change, identify your priorities and stick to them. Do you need to make a change because you need more money? Do you need to be more creative? Do you need to feel more relevant? Understanding what’s driving your feelings can help. It also doesn’t hurt to try volunteering. Volunteer work can give you an idea of whether or not a career path interests you, as well as give you an idea of what might be involved.
- Don’t forget to hire a career coach. A career coach is there to tailor advice specifically for your personal needs. Career coaches are skilled in listening, uncovering hidden potential, and steering people in the right direction to make a fulfilling midlife career change.
Changing careers later in life can be a little frightening but many people find it one of the best decisions they could ever make. If you’re contemplating a midlife career change, think carefully about your motives, look at volunteer opportunities, and higher a career coach to help you make a smooth transition in the right direction.