Four things to consider before making a midlife career change

Picture this: it’s 4am and you’re wide awake again. This is the third time in the past week that you’ve awoken at an ungodly hour, thanks to a culmination of ruminating thoughts.

None of this is surprising to you, however, as you’ve been mulling over the idea of diving head-first into a different career for quite some time now.  

It’s normal to feel an overwhelming mix of emotions while considering such a monumental life decision. After all, changing career paths is up there with key life events such as marriage, divorce and even the death of a loved one. So what exactly should you consider when it comes to changing career paths?

If you’re looking to pivot into a completely unfamiliar field, it’s likely you’ll first need to gain some qualifications. Carefully consider the impact that pursuing further study will have on your day-to-day life in both the short and long term. Condensed and virtual courses such as an online accelerated BSN can be convenient options, especially for those with growing families.

However, before committing to further study in order to qualify for a career in a different field, ensure you immaculately analyze all components of your decision.

1) Have you had enough time to consider all aspects of your decision?

We’ve all encountered that one person who jumps in and out of a relationship with the same person, as frequently as washing clothes. A friend of a friend once mentioned that it took her six months to finally break up with her partner of nearly three years.

Why? Because she wanted to be sure she wasn’t making the wrong decision. Since finally committing to her decision to leave, she hasn’t looked back and is now in a happy six-year relationship with another person some years later. There’s a reason why they say ‘sleep on it’ when it comes to making any decision.

While there’s no set time frame, it’s recommended to consider your options over at least a month rather than a few weeks or less. A longer amount of time will allow you to think more rationally about your decision and not let emotions be the guiding force of your judgment. The more time you allow yourself, the more time you ultimately have to do your research. The more research and analysis you conduct, the more educated your decision will be.

2) Consider your personal motivation

The first component of your research should be weighing up the pros and cons for you on a personal scale.

This applies twofold; firstly, what are the pluses and minuses of staying versus leaving your current career? What are the potential pros and cons of working in your desired field, in your desired role? Is your goal within reach? Assess your unique circumstances and desires; including a deep dive into what you personally define as career success.

It’s important to also try and be as objective as possible here. Analyzing your own motivation should be somewhat humbling. Carefully assess your current role and industry and the reasons why you want out. What are your non-negotiable, deal breakers for a position?

The grass is not always greener on the other side. Sometimes it’s just different. Is your new career an improvement to your current one? If so, how? What will your new work-life balance look like? Put all your questions and answers in writing to easily reference back.

3) Do your research into your desired industry and role

You simply cannot make this decision without conducting broader research. What is the average remuneration package for the role? What kind of responsibilities does your new position entail? Is there great demand for the role in society and an ever-current flow of work? Is it a competitive industry?

Also, will you be working in an office or on the field? Is this a preferred environment for you? If so, how and why? What kind of qualifications will you need? Do you have the right experience, aptitude, and attitude or soft skills required of the new role, in the new industry?

4) Be realistic

A 2019 survey into resignation motivation found that 80% of respondents quit their jobs due to the working environment or culture. Another 77% of those respondents left their positions due to a lack of career progression. What are your motivations for leaving your current career? Can these be resolved if you were to work at a different company in the same field?

A part of defining whether your choice is worth it for you involves asking yourself some hard questions, including the financial impacts. For example, are you willing to take a pay cut at a lower position than in your previous field? What is your individual and family budget going to look like moving forward? Is this a financially feasible decision at this point in time?

Changing career paths is no easy feat even for the most resilient of workers. It’s absolutely crucial to take as much time as you need to analyze your unique situation holistically.

Assess your personal motivation, including all the pros and cons of every outcome, as well as more general considerations such as the employability of your dream role. Be as objective and realistic as possible and include an analysis of how the change will impact your everyday life.

Make sure you are prepared for a successful midlife career change

Diving into a midlife career shift is both exhilarating and daunting. And being well-prepared is essential.

If you’re committed to changing careers, ensure you’re truly ready to dive in. Ask yourself: Do I have the right interview attire? Is my CV polished and professional? Have I allocated enough time for job applications? Preparation is key to navigating this exciting transition successfully. Without it, your efforts may lack the necessary vigour.

Think of your CV as a canvas, each stroke adding depth and colour to your professional past and aspirations. Professional CV writers, like CV Experts, stand ready to refine your CV and give it that professional touch, or alternatively, if you’re adept at writing, numerous online guides can offer valuable assistance.

Your interview attire should mirror the professionalism and confidence you aim to bring to this new career phase. Tailoring your CV and choosing your outfit with care are equally important. It’s about more than just appearance—it’s about feeling empowered and confident as you step through those doors.

Moreover, allocating time in your schedule for job applications, interviews, and networking is crucial. Career transitions require dedicated effort, not just spare moments. By setting realistic goals – such as applying to a specific number of jobs weekly or regularly networking with industry professionals – you create a structured path toward your objective. This approach keeps you focused and motivated throughout your career transition journey.