Changing careers isn’t easy. After all, your job is not just a little thing; it is a major part of your life. Yet, as you grow older, something happens within you. One day you wake up and suddenly the job that you have been doing all these years is no longer interesting or even acceptable.
Like a restless newbie, you start asking yourself existential questions: “Why am I doing all of this? What is my purpose here? Is this really all there is?”
There can be many factors to this restlessness– you may be shaken up by a job loss, breakup, or health issue. You may feel like you’ve come to a major turning point in your life, and time is slipping away, faster and faster. Whatever it is, it happens to all of us at some point.
Yet, it is never too late to change jobs. It’s just a matter of when. For instance, take a look at Philip Gaud. The once HR Director for Apple (Europe & Middle East) wrote for Forbes:
“When I reached my mid-50s I decided to make a radical career change. I’d spent 25 years in industry in a series of increasingly senior HR roles with high profile companies and I had no real reason to abandon a career that was developing very well. No real reason, that is, except one, crucial one. I wanted something different. Much to the surprise of my friends and colleagues, instead of being a senior executive in an international company, I decided to become a teacher.”
Today, Philip Gaud is an affiliate professor at HEC Paris. You see, on the surface, you may have a great job in a well-known company. You would have done what was expected of you post university. You must have even been promoted several times.
Yet, if inside you feel deeply unfulfilled, like you aren’t using your full potential, and if you long to wake up feeling like your work should make a difference, financially or emotionally, you need to change your job.
We’ve got a few very simple steps that help you gain clarity and eventually find the right job that you need.
1. Don’t pull yourself down by thinking that you only have one chance to change careers
You will probably change career direction several times in your life, so try to think in terms of what you would like to try next. Just remember, you can always change your mind.
2. When you believe it can happen, everyone else will believe it can happen
One of the toughest things with a career change is believing that we can do this new task. We tend to think of ourselves as a professional in the field we are in. That’s what seems to define us. Now we have to re-define ourselves and believe in it. Because once we believe it, others will too.
3. Look for people, not for jobs
Job sites, recruitment consultants, resumes all have value in career change. But, they’re not the place to start. Instead, focus on connecting with people. In the long run, the right relationships will help you get farther than you intended, unlike a piece of paper that has a list of your accomplishments.
4. Network your way through
An ideal way to understand another profession and make a swift career change is to expand your network. Talk to people of all levels in your field of interest to understand how it works and whether the culture is accepting of career changers.
5. Add one skill at a time. Accumulate a diverse set of skills.
As you grow older, you will realize you have a world of experience with you. Yet, if you are making a career shift, you probably want to focus on something that either challenges you more, or makes your job easier. Today, there are thousands of courses (a lot for free) that teach new subjects and offer new career opportunities. From mobile app development to Cyber Security, you can acquire and master new skills.
6. Take action.
The odds might seem against you, but don’t run back to your comfort zone. Rather, restart and take that will lead you to a satisfying job and career path.
Remember, your job is not just a little thing; it is a major part of your life. Switching careers may seem daunting. Yes, you’ll need a plan and it might take some time, but for a change, take a leap of faith. You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve.