Considering a career change can be a daunting prospect, especially when you’ve built up experience, reputation and salary in your current career.
You’re not alone in wanting to make a change; the latest statistics reveal that those from Gen X and Y experience five careers in their lifetime. So, we know this change is a real possibility!
With many more responsibilities, the career decision you are making now is more complex than the one you made in your teens or twenties. But, this isn’t a change that will happen overnight and there are steps you can take to test the waters before taking that plunge.
Ask, what do I want to do?
You might know the answer to this question already, or be struggling to make a decision.
For those of you who know you want a change but are not sure which path to take, Morrisby can help! Take our online aspirations, aptitude and personality assessments and we will match you to careers which play on your strengths. We have a database of over 650 careers, so plenty of browsing opportunities.
A follow up discussion with a careers adviser to talk through your work experience and qualifications to date might help solidify some of your thoughts. As experienced hires, a careers adviser will also discuss your barriers, challenge any unrealistic expectations you may have and relate these to the careers you are considering.
Define your skills
Your experience to date, whether related to the career you want to move into or not, provides you with the transferable skills which are desirable to employers in other sectors. Consider the roles, responsibilities, tasks and situations you have faced professionally and extract the skills you used. Although your experience isn’t grounded in your new sector, your skills will transfer across.
Considering your new career, are there any skills which are required for this role, which you don’t have. You can gain these skills through taking on different responsibilities at work, volunteering or through work experience.
Examine your experience
Some of your experience may be transferable too. Perhaps you have experience in chairing meetings, writing minutes or managing a team, experiences which you could relate to your next career move. Or perhaps your subject knowledge is transferable. For example, in the case of an aviation journalist moving into a public sector role, their knowledge and writing skills might be useful in transport policy writing.
Think outside the box. But if your experience doesn’t match your desired career, then think about how to gain relevant experiences through volunteering and work experience.
If you lack experience on your CV, or need to add to your transferable skills, consider voluntary work. This can be an excellent way of boosting your CV and making connections. do-it.org lists voluntary opportunities in your area.
If you are interested in trying on a career for size before committing, then work experience, or internships (yes, you can be an intern at 40!) is an excellent way to test it out for yourself and to prove your worth to any future employer. Especially useful for skills based careers, if you are willing to learn on the job and forgo a salary, there might even be the prospect of a job at the end of it. Think about utilising any contacts you might have to gain this experience, check employer websites or approach employers on LinkedIn.
Once you’ve decided to take the plunge, you need to look at the pathway into your career. You may be able to do on the job training, or it might involve further studying. In some cases bursaries or other financial awards are available for funding - research your options.
Remote / online studying
If time, work or family won’t allow you to consider the option of full time studying, then you always have the option of remote or online courses. This type of learning used to be constrained to the Open University, but these days many universities offer remote studying.
Find out more about making that career change at 40 on our careers changers page.