Career changes can feel incredibly intimidating for anyone. For some reason, the older we get, the less possible it feels to change careers.
Young people are not always being told that they need to choose a career path and go for it. Of course, they usually settle on a career after years of being told they can explore and figure out what feels right to them. However, after you reach a certain age, the attitude about exploring what feels “right” seems to change.
So what changes? Why aren’t career changes as encouraged for people over the age of 30? Here’s the truth. People over the age of 30 often have more responsibilities than those who are younger. Making a career change at 30 or older feels “too late” to make changes after you’ve committed to one path, especially if you have been pursuing that path for a long time.
However, in the job market today, a lot has changed. People aren’t starting at jobs and retiring from the same employer. People are switching jobs as often as every two to four years. The benefits of doing this are plentiful. In the end, people who switch jobs are making more money and generally getting more experience, wider skill sets, and having a better quality of life.
This is for job changes though, what about full-on career changes? Though it sounds a lot more intense, it is achievable, and just because you are over a certain age does not mean you cannot or should not explore a new career path. You can make a career change at 40 or even 50 if you are no longer experiencing career satisfaction.
Top Reasons People Switch Careers (At Any Age)
Everyone’s situation is different. Honestly, no reason to switch careers is invalid. If something with your current situation isn’t working or isn't making you happy, it makes sense to change it up.
Here are some of the top reasons why people switch careers:
- Flexible schedule
- Work for/at a specific company
- Better pay
- Travel more (or less)
- Going back to school for a degree
How to Prepare for a Career Switch
Preparing for a career switch can be one of the biggest decisions you make. Here are some tips to help you navigate this change with confidence.
Deciding you are no longer interested or engaged in your existing career.
Get real with yourself. How long have you been feeling unfulfilled or dissatisfied with your current career? If you are no longer happy with your current career, it’s up to you to commit to trying something else.
Do your job research - what do you really want to do?
It’s a good idea to research what other careers you may be interested in before quitting your current position. Think about what aspects of your current career you like and the things you don’t. Also, think about different tasks and hobbies that make you feel fulfilled. What kinds of careers include those kinds of tasks or ideas?
Identify jobs you are interested in and qualified for. Do you need extra training, schooling qualifications, or certifications?
Depending on what kind of career switch you are making, there may be some additional skills you need to pick up before you’re ready to start your new career. Make sure you are aware of all of the new requirements and necessary skill sets you need to enter into this new field as prepared as possible.
Revamp your resume and cover letter and apply to new positions.
Chances are your resume could always be improved. Entering into a new career field is the optimal time to update that resume of yours. Try to think about an experience you have had in your current career that is relevant to the one you want to have. Also, remember to include all of your new credentials and certifications before submitting your resume to a new potential employer.
Prepare for and go through the interview process.
Go into your interview with as much knowledge as possible. If it has been a while since you’ve gone through the interview process, make sure to brush up on your professional skills and practice before it is time for the real thing.
Put in your notice at your current employer.
After you’ve landed the job in your new career field, it’s time to turn in your final notice and wave goodbye to your old career. This can feel scary, and sometimes you might even think about backing out and staying in your current job. Try to remember that with new things always comes a little fear. Remind yourself of all of the reasons that you decided to make this change in the first place.
Start your new job.
After you take all these steps, it’s time to dive into your new and hopefully exciting career!
5 In-Demand Careers to Consider as a Second Career
If the reason behind wanting to leave your current career is that you crave more job security, here are five of the most in-demand careers that are sure to provide job security in the coming years.
1. Computer Support Specialist
helping businesses with their technical problems, system updates, technical maintenance on the company’s systems
- technical abilities
- many employers will require a Bachelor’s degree in a related field.
Learn more about the process of becoming a Computer Support Specialist.
2. Real Estate Agent
Assist clients in purchasing or selling property
- obtaining a real estate license for the state you want to sell in
- working under a broker
$50,000 on average, however depending on the volume of sales and the prices of the properties an agent sells, it can be substantially more
Learn more about the process of becoming a Real Estate Agent.
3. Police Officer
Emergency response, law enforcement
- training includes the police academy
- background checks
- psych exams
$67,000 on average
Learn more about the process of becoming a Police Officer.
4. Flight Attendant
Assisting passengers during flights, ensuring safety requirements are met on the flight
- flight attendant training course
Learn more about the process of becoming a Flight Attendant.
Fixing electrical issues, installing electrical systems
- electrician apprenticeship
- pass a written exam
Learn more about the process of becoming an Electrician.
Life Is Too Short To Hate Your Job
If you are no longer happy in your current field, it is always okay to make a change. Regardless of what age you are, you deserve a career that you find fulfilling and that meets your needs.
If you’re feeling hesitant to make a career change, remember it is okay to make a career change at 50 or any other age to better fit what you want to get out of life. You should always accommodate your needs and wants to get the most out of your life, even if it means making a tough decision.