How to Make a Career Change in Mid-Life

Blog / How to Make a Career Change in Mid-Life

6 Tips to Help You Make a Big Career Switch 

Things change, and sometimes how we feel about our current job does too. Sometimes what you always dreamt of doing no longer brings personal satisfaction. Other times, life changes require better work-life balance, or the company or people around you change and things just don’t mesh like they used to. Then sometimes, technologies or world-events change the playing field for your industry. 

There are a lot of reasons people make a career change, but doing it mid-life can seem like a daunting task. But if you are unhappy at your current job, staying in it might be worse. 

Ready to learn how to make a career change mid-life? Here are some tips to help make it more successful.

1 | Con Job

If you aren’t sure where to even start, the best place is to be clear about what the problem is. Start by making a list that identifies what you really need to change and be specific about it. Is it the people you work with, your boss, or the hours? Once you understand what makes you unhappy with your current job, the path forward to job satisfaction and overall happiness will start to take shape.

2 | Hobby Horse

Next, assess your interests, skills, and values. What activities make you happy? What skills do you have? And where do your core values lie? Perhaps your next career is turning a hobby into a profession or maybe you just need to find change companies and work for one that shares your core values. 

3 | In Need Of…

Whether you are switching departments in the same industry or completely switching gears all together, it’s likely you’ll need some skills or experience that you don’t currently have. Sure it’s nice to have someone take a chance on you, but that isn’t always how things work out. You might need to consider less traditional ways to get the experience you need, especially for a big career change. Some of these ways could be taking some classes or even volunteering. 

4 | Lifelong Learner

If you are completely switching industries, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about that field. Reach out to some personal contacts in the industry for an informational interview. If you don’t want to just start connecting with people on LinkedIn and messaging them, try finding people to network with through your college alumni association. You might even inquire with them about shadowing on the job for a little bit of first-hand experience (this can also be a good way to gauge if this new career is really what you want). Then, don’t be afraid to go get some certifications, or even a new degree to go after the job you want. 

5 | Don’t Forget the Past

There is a common misconception that if you are switching careers that you need to start over from square one and that really is just not the case. Your past experience and jobs still matter so bring it with you. When writing your cover letter and during interviews, acknowledge how that past experience can help inform your work in a new career. There are a lot of transferable skills, such as interpersonal or soft skills. 

6 | Personality Pro

The personality, or work culture, of a company matters. We already mentioned that many people find greater happiness working for a company whose values closely align with their own and that is part of that work culture. But it’s also about the personality of the people who work for the company and how well your personality meshes with theirs. 

Even with networking with former and current employees, it can be difficult to discern the true or full personality of a company. But no one wants to start a new job only to find out it’s a nightmare job. 

But you don’t have to worry about that anymore! Workzinga’s personality insights aren’t just on job seekers, but companies too. We like to think of ourselves as a matchmaker for the working world, helping companies and job seekers with similar personality and core values find each other! 

And when you and your company mesh on personality, you’ll find greater happiness and personal job satisfaction that you may have been missing at your old job.