5 Steps to a Successful Midlife Career Change

When we originally embark on our career it is usually a job we have fallen in to, having left college or completed a degree, eager to avoid any further education and to be finally earning some money.

midlife career change

It wouldn’t have been our first career option, in fact it probably wouldn’t have been our last career option, but we stick with it because it pays the way and you’re not too fond of change.

However, five even ten years down the line it will eventually hit you, this isn’t what you want to be doing for the rest of your life. But is it too late to change direction now?

As far as we’re concerned, it’s never too late to change your career path, you just need a well thought through plan in place for when you decide to take that leap. You don’t want to spend the rest of your career days stuck in a soul destroying job, which was only ever meant as a summer placement.

Having a solid career plan will ensure you make your transition as smooth as possible, landing soundly on your feet in your ideal job.

5 Steps to Making a Midlife Career Change

#1 Know your values

As we get older our values will likely change from when we first set foot on our career path, and it can lead to extreme job dissatisfaction if our values and job role contradict one and other.

Make a list of your values, what you believe in and the terms you refuse to work under; this will assist later down the line when you begin to weigh up your new career options. Aligning your values and career path will prevent you becoming dissatisfied with your new career path.

#2 Learn about yourself

When embarking on the journey of a new career path, it is important to learn about yourself. Take an objective view; what are your likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. It may be worth surveying various friends or colleagues, your view of yourself can be very different from everybody else’s.

What are your hobbies? Not everybody is lucky enough to have a job in something they truly enjoy; however with a career plan in place, and dedication and hard work, it is possible to have a career in an area you are passionate about.

What are your career goals? Do you wish to be an assistant, supervisor, manager or own your own company? Your strengths and weaknesses will determine which position you are most likely to suit. These decisions will ultimately help when short listing companies for your new career path.

#3 Identify your skills

What work experience do you possess? Although your current job may not provide the direction you wish to head in, you may have gained many extremely value skills that can be transferred to your ideal role.

What accomplishments do you hold? Either inside or around work, not only do your accomplishments look amazing on your CV but they showcase how you are able to put your skills to practical use.

There will be certain accomplishments you enjoyed achieving more than others, note down what areas these were in and why you enjoyed each particular one.

#4 Research your career options

By now you should have a pretty solid idea of the kind of career path you wish to follow. Its best before you start to review positions to picture where you plan to be in 2-5 years’ time, play out various scenarios and provide yourself with options in your job search.

With your scenarios in place research online your career ideas, read up about the good, the bad and the ugly. Speak with advisors, recruitment specialists and people within the industry, asking all the questions you wish to be answered in relation to your career path.

This should hopefully leave you with a clear and realistic view of the path you wish to follow. Remember, the grass may not be greener on the other side.

#5 Link your values and skills to your career options

The key to finding a career path that you will be truly happy with, that will provide you with direction and professional development for years to come is matching your values, skills and desired career options.

It’s not guaranteed that by changing career paths that you will be happier in your new job. There are many daunting aspects to embarking on a changed career path, such as the new skills you will need to acquire and the new social circles you will be mixing in. But like most things in life, unless you try you’ll never know.

    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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    5 thoughts on “5 Steps to a Successful Midlife Career Change

    1. Hi Jonathan, with the “worldwide” recession still with us – we are sometimes forced in making a career change. The secret to surviving these days is being “flexible” and being willing to learn new skills. I have been able to survive in spite of being 55 and laid off since 2008. What helped me was Nicholas Lore’s book “The Pathfinder” – maybe you could feature him on your site. He also runs the Rockport Institute which has an AWESOME “Career Change” program. Love your article! Thanks, Angela J. Shirley

    2. Great article! I believe people shouldn’t just jump for a
      random job, but think what they would do even if they wouldn’t get paid for it.
      “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your
      life.” Confucius. http://needacareerchange.com

    3. Hillman, having changed careers no less than four times I can attest that your advice is spot on. The only thing I might add for a #6 is, If you really want a change be prepared to make short-term sacrifices to achieve a long-term goal. Great post.

      • Great point, Darrell. Many people aren’t willing to make that short-term sacrifice and so they end up paralyzed. Doing nothing is not the answer either.

        • The first time is the hardest. Letting go of all that you know and feels safe is really scary and difficult. Then you discover that the worst didn’t happen, or even if it did, the reality is not nearly as bad as you had imagined. That is a turning point because never again will you let yourself be stuck.