In today’s workforce, changing careers is virtually inevitable for the average person. Many people end up changing careers out of necessity because of the many technological, cultural, economic, geographical, and other forces that constantly shape our world.
Other people change careers out of desire. It is common for the average middle-aged person to have an urge to transition to a different career field. This is often because of the many changes that they have experienced throughout life.
Around mid-life the average person doesn’t have the same influences or mitigating factors that helped them to make their first career choice. Typically, these individuals are more financially stable and socially empowered to decide on the career path that they are truly passionate about.
If you are one of the many people considering changing careers either by choose or force, here are some steps you should take when making your career move.
Assess Your Career Aptitude
The average, traditional college student selects his or her career major based on financial or social influences. They usually select a career field in which they can easily find a job and earn a decent salary. Typically, they are heavily influenced by their parents or guardians and/or their peers.
When this happens, the average person doesn’t usually select a career based on their innate passion. They decide on what is convenient from a variety of aspects. They may go on to have a fulfilling and pleasurable career. However, they may not have made the best career choice according to their natural aptitude.
When changing careers, this is something that you should think critically about. Does your chosen career field align with your natural aptitude and desire? If not, you will probably be setting yourself up for disappointment.
There are a number of ways that you can assess your career aptitude. You can take a career aptitude test. There are many free and fee-based aptitude tests available online or through college career service centers. Such tests can give you a basic foundation in which direction to go in when selecting a suitable career path.
Another great way to dig deeper into your career aptitude is to work with a career or life coach. Working one-on-one with a coach can help you discover your passion and purpose on a deeper level. The right career coach can give you substantial feedback in an unbiased and professional manner.
Research Your Desired Career Sector
Once you decide on which career path you want to take, you need to do some research. You need to understand how the career field works and how you plan to navigate through the career path.
All careers aren’t created equal and all career paths aren’t for everyone. You may feel a burning desire to pursue a career that just isn’t a good fit for your age or your life path. You must consider your financial situation and responsibilities when changing careers.
Some career transitions may necessitate a pay cut, schedule change, etc. that may interrupt the flow of your life. These are things that you need to be aware of before moving forward.
Get the Proper Education and Training
When it comes to changing careers, you should never shortchange yourself when it comes to education and training. It may feel daunting or overwhelming to think about going back to school or completing an entry-level training program but it may be necessary.
In some cases you may be able to transition to a new career field without much time or effort. But the average person will spend about one to two years preparing for a career transition.
The good news is that it is not a long period of time in comparison to years of joy and fulfillment that you experience in your new career. Anything worth having is worth waiting and working for.
Redefine Your Personal Brand
Finally, you need to redefine your personal brand when changing careers. Most likely your career portfolio is solely based on your previous or current career. You will need to fine tune your career portfolio and your sense of self in order to access opportunities in your new profession.
In order to do this you will need to take inventory on how your past education and experience integrate with and complement your new skillset. In essence, you need to reinvent yourself. Not just on paper, but you need to reinvent your person.
Changing careers comes with new demands and requires a different way of relating to yourself and your work. Chances are you won’t be able to show up in the same way unless your new career is closely related to your previous or current one.
It is a good idea to work with a professional such as a career counselor or coach to help you redefine your personal brand.