Career Change at 30? 6 Steps to Success

Written by Nicola Wylie
Last updated May 22, 2022

Are you considering a career change at 30? With a whopping 65% of millennials wanting a career change, you aren’t alone.

Research suggests that over half of employees in the UK aren’t sure if they are in the right career. If you are part of this group and want to change careers in your thirties, there is a wealth of resources, advice, and support to help you through the process.

In this article, we explore the benefits of a career change and how to change careers at 30.

Why Make a Career Change at 30?

There are lots of reasons why you might choose to change careers at 30. One of the biggest reasons is a lack of fulfilment. Studies have revealed that 47% of workers in the UK don’t find their careers fulfilling with 33% admitting they don’t enjoy their jobs. Considering that the average person in the UK retires at 65, thirty-somethings still have around 35 years in the workforce. That’s a long time to stay in a career that is unfulfilling. 

Another big factor is life-long learning. For 25% of the workforce in the UK, the motivation for a career change is fueled by the desire to learn new skills. 

Finally, a third of workers cite better work-life balance as the main reason they want a career change.

That’s not to say switching careers is a walk in the park. Changing careers at 30 (or any age), can impact your finances, relationships, and even your health. While the end result is worth it for most people, it’s a big decision to make. Before taking the plunge, discuss it with friends and family and learn to recognise the signs you need a career change.

Benefits of Making a Career Change at 30

Although looking for a new career in your thirties can be daunting, there are many perks too. Firstly, switching careers in your thirties is easier than later in life because you are less likely to be in a senior position. Most people in their thirties have been in the workforce for around 10 years. While you may have climbed the career ladder during that time, most people in their thirties are not in high leadership positions yet. Changing careers when you’re a low to a mid-level employee is much easier. 

Another reason why your thirties are a good time for a career change is that you are likely to have fewer responsibilities than, say, in your forties or fifties. According to research by Statistica, the average age of motherhood in the UK is 29. Similarly, the average age of first-time buyers in the UK is now 32 This suggests that the average worker in their thirties is not tied down with responsibilities just yet and can better transition into a new career. 

Finally, people in their thirties only finished education relatively recently. This will come in handy if you need to retrain or refresh your skills to make a career change at 30

How to Change Careers at 30 in 6 Easy Steps

So, you have made the decision. It’s time for a new start. Now the big question is how to change careers at 30 in the UK? Follow these 6 easy steps to land the career of your dreams. 

1. Get to the Root of the Issue

Planning a career change will require a lot of self-reflection and honesty. The first step is to get to the bottom of what is really making you unhappy at work (or prompting a career change). Understanding the root causes will help you to assess how big of a change you need to make. For example, is it the job role or the company? Are you working in a toxic work environment? Is your workload too much to handle? Or, is the role itself unfulfilling? Does the thought of working in the same role for the next thirty-five years make you miserable?

If the honest truth is that the job role itself is leaving you cold, then it’s definitely time for a career change. If the issue lies with your workload or the culture you’re working in, then maybe you need a job change as opposed to completely switching careers. At the end of the day, only you can answer these questions. So, listen to your gut.

2. Analyse the Pros and Cons of Your Current Role

The next step is to identify what you like and what you don’t like about your current career. Understanding that will give you invaluable insight into what you should prioritise in your search for a new career path. And ultimately, what career path to choose.

Think back to when you started your career. What drew you to your current job? For instance, were you drawn to the dynamic nature of the role or the stability? Were you drawn to the creative side? What has changed since then?

An in-depth assessment of what you like, what you don’t like, and what values matter to you will help you decide on your next steps. Be realistic. For example, if you hate the constant travelling in your current job, then your new chosen career should involve little to no travel. 

3. Identify Your Skill Set

As we work, we develop a wide range of technical and soft skills. While some technical skills tend to be very industry or job-specific, soft skills are often easily transferred to other job roles. Learning how to identify your transferable skills is an important step for career changers. Examples of transferable skills include communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and collaboration.

By understanding what transferable skills you have, you can identify and plug skill gaps. This might involve retraining or volunteering to gain experience. 

Once you have identified the core competencies you have and those you need to develop, you can make a solid action plan.

4. Research the Job Market

Changing careers is a huge decision. Whether you know exactly what career you want next or have no idea, you’ll want to carry out extensive research on the job market. But, where should you start?

This stage of the process can seem overwhelming. We recommend breaking it down into smaller steps. First off, narrow down your job search. Choose one industry or job role to research at a time. If you’re still feeling a little lost, why not begin by researching what jobs are in demand in your area. This will give you a jumping-off point. The best place to start the search is on specialised job boards for career changes

Next, read through the job descriptions. Make notes on the skills and qualifications required for this role. These notes will come in handy in the next stage of the process. Read through the job descriptions carefully picking out keywords and looking for possible pathways to that job role. For instance, do you need to create a portfolio of writing samples or demonstrate a proven sales record? How can you do this?

Finally, tap into your network. You probably already have someone in your network who works in the industry you want to break into. Reach out and look for mentors in your chosen field who can coach you and give you some insider advice on how to secure that dream job role.  

5. Update Your CV

Now it’s time to put your hard work into action. Once you have found the job role that you want, you will need to update your CV. You will need to tailor your CV to suit the specific job you’re applying for, removing all irrelevant information.

Start by adding in the transferable skills you possess that are relevant to the job. For example, if you want to change to a career in social media, highlight your communication skills, empathy, and proven ability to read data. Get creative. Personal branding is a hugely valuable skill in itself, so read up on some tips to help you sell yourself. Ensure that your CV is written using active words that demonstrate what you achieved as opposed to what you did.

6. Put Yourself Out There

The final step is to start the job hunt. You’ve done the hard work and now you’re ready to apply for jobs and nail the interview. Be sure to check out our live job board for career change opportunities near you.

If you need further support, our website has a wealth of valuable resources on changing careers, including guides on adult apprenticeships, adult internships and night courses to prepare you for your new career.

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Last Updated: Wednesday June 8 2022
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