It’s never too late to start a new career (and here’s how you can do it)
A career change can sound like a daunting prospect after many years of doing something you know, but can also be considered a positive way of injecting excitement into your life.
Many things can influence your decision to look for a change. You may simply be bored of the 9-5 and looking for new adventures. You might prefer a career that offers more flexible working hours that suit your lifestyle outside work. Or perhaps you’re inspired to turn a hobby into a full-time job.
Whatever the reason, changing your career, even later in life, is a worthwhile pursuit. If you’re ready to step into a new chapter of your life – moving forwards, or in a completely new direction – it’s refreshing to know there’s plenty of ways to approach this.
#Make2017Count and begin the process of starting your new career.
Starting a new career – Steps to help you find a new career
You’ve probably researched industries and even companies you’d like to work for. But if you’re still scouring the job sites in hope, it’s time to start searching like a pro.
Yet to join LinkedIn? Waste no time and create an account now. Think of it as your online CV, with a social network presence like Facebook. Start by uploading your education and experience, qualifications and skills, then add people you know from previous jobs or elsewhere. Vocations relevant to your experience and skills will be advertised – though not necessarily with your current job title. LinkedIn is a great way of discovering which industries would utilise your existing expertise, while providing you with the opportunity to network with the right people.
If you have your heart set on working in a particular field, approach a recruitment consultancy which specialises in that industry. They will provide guidance to take you from your new CV to your first interview. They’ll then do the job-seeking for you, focusing on those that require some of the skills you already have.
Jobs are created by people. It pays to make connections with people before applying for jobs. If your passion is to explore an unfamiliar industry, networking is essential. Your connections could open doors to new opportunities, and may even help you land your first job. So get out there – attend seminars, conferences, sales events and conventions. Don’t be afraid to hand out business cards and make people aware of how eager you are to learn. You never know where you could find the person to give you that head start.
Don’t let your lack of experience or qualifications in the relevant field put you off your dream job. There are thousands of retraining classes out there to equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to ensure you fit the bill. Naturally, some careers require more training than others, and some may be out of reach unless you are able to go back to university. But other professions have lower tiers of entry. Some require a qualification you can achieve through evening classes or independent study. Whereas some (including many artistic roles) require no training at all – but you may need to put a portfolio together. Many even offer on-the-job training. If you choose to retrain, be realistic about the time it takes, and recognise that you may be taking a big step down the career ladder.
Switching jobs? Remember to get these basics in order
Before handing in that letter of resignation, get prepared for the transition. Most importantly, be discreet – you don’t want to upset your current colleagues by letting them know you’re headed for the exit.
- Update your CV
- Write a template cover letter
- Ready a portfolio of previous work examples
- Contact recruitment consultants in your industry
- Confirm your notice period
- Save some time off (which you’ll need for interviews)
- Know also how much annual leave you have left before you quit (and use it all!)
- Set aside some money for expenses during the transition period
Find a new take on your existing career
Perhaps it’s not your profession that’s the problem, but where you work. If you love what you do, but want to work for yourself, the internet can help facilitate this desire.
You could be one of many, who after a long career, turn to freelancing. There are many wonderful perks of working for yourself: your hours are flexible, you can set your own rate, and choose which clients you want to work for. But before going solo, you should:
- Secure at least one client – and devise a strategy to gain more
- Prep your ‘advertising’ – most people create a website
- Contact businesses and agencies directly – some will remember you for the future
- Print business cards and attend a lot of conferences – you’ll need to network
- Prepare all tools necessary to do your job from home
- Register as self-employed (and learn how to file your own tax returns)
Although it may take a while to get set up, many freelancers eventually find themselves working fewer hours for more money than they did when employed.
Start your own business
Advances in technology are making communicating and selling easier than ever before – making the start-up of your own company a more realistic goal. If you have an idea, and the determination to follow through, you’ll find all the help you need from people, books and material online.
And with all that considered, it’s time to think about all the possibilities for the year ahead! How will you get there? Don’t forget to share your plans for 2017 with us on Twitter and Facebook and make it your best year yet.
Published 05/01/2016, updated 05/01/2017