Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Sometimes it’s by choice, when the career that seemed so exciting at 25 has lost it’s zing at 50. Other times a midlife career change becomes a necessity when technology changes or companies downsize.
But whatever the reason, looking for a new career as an adult can be a wonderful chance to grow and explore new options. Ready to take the plunge? Here are our top 10 tip for making a midlife career change a success.
10. Beware of snake oil salesmen
Before you commit to that $10,000 program that promises to be the latest and greatest thing to ever hit the Internet (or the stock market or … ), stop and do your research. The lure of instant wealth and a new ready-made career is understandable, especially if your midlife career change was forced upon you. But be careful. Check out complaints online, visit the Better Business Bureau site, ask around.
9. Revisit old dreams
Think about what you wanted to be once upon a time. Always wanted to be a vet? Maybe four more years of college isn’t an option, but becoming a vet tech might work. Be creative.
8. Ask for change of career advice
Odds are you know more than a few people who have made major career changes in their life, so ask for their help. Whether theirs was a midlife career change or something earlier, they may be able to point you in the right direction for success.
7. Do your job prospects homework
Spend some time researching your career options. Find out where there are needs in your areas of interest. Make sure the new career you choose needs entry level employees.
6. Check out the requirements
Maybe you always wanted to be a firefighter. You know you have the physical endurance the job requires, and you’re able to stay calm and collected in an emergency. But some jobs, like firefighter or police officer, have age, height, weight or other requirements that can’t be addressed by study or degrees. Make sure you qualify.
A great way to find out if the career you think you want is really right for you is to volunteer. Not only will you get a great feel for what the job entails, you’ll be making contacts in your new field. That could give you an advantage when it comes time to apply for a paying position.
Most cities have networking groups for people experiencing midlife career changes. Religious groups, community schools, local business publications and online networking sites are all great places to look for groups. No career change groups in your area? Consider business networking groups instead. Either way, the human contact will make the process easier, and the connections you make may help you find a new career faster.
3. Stay open to detours
Especially in the early stages of a midlife career change, it’s important to keep an open mind. On your way to what seemed like the perfect new field, you might find a detour that leads you to something even better.
2. Be realistic
If you’ve spent 20 years in an office processing accounts receivable, it’s going to be difficult to get on the path to becoming a surgeon. While almost anything is possible, make sure your expectations are realistic. Know what your career change requires, in detail. And then go for it.
1. Be optimistic
A midlife career change can feel daunting, especially if it’s been years since you’ve been in a classroom, or learned a new set of skills. But with patience and persistence, you could discover that this experience becomes one of the best times of your life.