No doubt about it, the prospect of leaving a long term job and starting a new career is a daunting one, not to mention intimidating, overwhelming and scary. It is very easy to stay in a job that is comfortable but unexciting, or where you are well paid but unlikely to progress, the hard bit is making the decision to move on.
There are plenty of reasons why you might be looking to change your career, and it is not always because you are necessarily unhappy in your job. Quite often refreshing your career appeals to you because you are ambitious, confident and focussed. So you can start a new career as an apprentice, retrain and pick up new skills in your own time, or find a profession where on-the-job training is included. However you wish to do it, there are a few things to consider before you make the leap.
List your assets
Now is the time to take stock, take a step back and re-appraise yourself. You need to be very proud of what you have achieved in your career so far, but you also need to be honest. Make a list of all your best assets and see if those are aligned with the kind of career you have an eye on. This is no time to fool yourself, as there is no hiding place out there in the cut-throat world of the jobs market.
There are lots of potential sources of advice around and available, so don’t be afraid to approach them. On a local level you will have careers advisory services with specialist help available to assist people of any age. You should also approach people and organisations in the industry you are looking at, you can quickly gain good first-hand knowledge of the qualifications and experience required and will be able to establish if this is for you. It is possible you have held out a long term desire to enter a certain industry, but things change, and what might have been accessible 20 years ago, might not be the case now. So speak to people and do your homework; read job adverts, get help with applications and most of all, establish whether this is really the career for you.
Open your mind to new experiences
Taking the leap into a new career will involve lots of new experiences, so you need to mentally prepare yourself for this and make sure you are ready. You will have to update your CV for the first time in a few years, hopefully you will have your first interview too. You might also look into doing some online vocational tests, to test yourself and establish what the right career for you is. Once you land a job or a retraining opportunity, it will be very much like going back to school, there will be excitement and nerves, you will be starting afresh again after a number of years, but you need to embrace it, because opening your mind to these things is a very necessary step in the process.
This might sound like some kind of marketing nonsense, but starting afresh with new people and a new organisation is an opportunity to be more positive about yourself and promote yourself differently. First impressions are very important and now that you are out of your comfort zone, it is time to tidy up your image. We are not talking about a radical mid-life crisis here, but invest in new clothes, get a haircut, perhaps go on a fitness spurt. This is all about promoting yourself in the best possible way, and is a commitment that you need to make and follow through.
Establish what is important
Before you definitively decide on the next career in your journey you need to work out what your priorities are, and in effect, why you are leaving your current job. Is it the job itself you don’t like? Are there people there you don’t like? Do you need more money? Do you crave more responsibility? Or do you simply want more flexibility? If so, you might want to consider working part-time, or becoming self-employed, or freelancing. Either way, you need to ask yourself whether a new career will be the solution to your issues with your current job. You don’t want to go through the emotional wrench of changing careers, only to make the wrong decision. So make sure you are changing careers for the right reasons, because then, your natural qualities and taking all the above advice will lead you to making that change successful.