If you don’t feel particularly motivated when you wake up in the morning, should you be looking for a new boss, a new job or change to an entirely new industry?
We’ve all asked ourselves this question at some point in our lives.
Despite your work achievements and successes, you may feel that you’ve outgrown your ambitions. Or you are starting to develop an interest for a different career after speaking with your co-workers or friends from other fields of work. Perhaps, at this point, changing careers is the best option.
Midlife career changes require commitment. However, if it is done for the right reason, you’ll be extremely glad that you’ve made that career change decision in your 40s. Read on to find out what you need to do to make a successful mid career switch.
finding out who you are and who you want to become
Cameron Brett, Managing Director of Randstad Technologies in Japan, points out that mid career job seekers typically transition from an exploratory part of their professional journey to one in which they start to specialise in their skills.
In other words, what you are doing at work may not be exactly what you hope to be doing, but it’s going to help get you to where you want to be and perhaps achieve your ultimate dream job.
One of the most important things you can do at this stage is to find out what you like and what you don’t like in a career. Do you prize a healthy work-life balance over career progression? Are you an introvert, extrovert or someone in-between? Do you get excited by new challenges?
Your answers to these questions can likely explain why you feel unsatisfied with where you are presently in your career. More importantly, they will give you a direction of what are some of the career options that can meet your aspirations.
Here are some useful tips to help you structure and refine both your personal and career goals to plan your mid career change.
3 steps to start your mid-life career switch
1. take a self-assessment
Assessing your strengths and weaknesses can help refine your career decisions.
To get a better sense of your personality traits, try taking psychometric and career-exploring tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Career Explorer. These tests are designed to reveal your career interests and aptitude that you may not even know about yourself.
“Something I recommend for everyone is to do a skills assessment - to better understand where they are today, where they need to be in five years. Take a look at the skills they currently have and what they are lacking,” Brett quips, explaining that it’s important for mid-career professionals to understand their abilities and needs to set more realistic and achievable goals.
It is also beneficial to learn about the skills and qualifications needed for the new career to know what type of training and experience you need to acquire. By attending training courses, you can close the skills gaps and meet your new career requirements for a smoother mid career shift.
2. seek inspiration and guidance
Besides conducting a self-assessment test, you should also consider seeking a mentor who can help point you in the right career direction.
Reach out to others whom you aspire to be to learn about their successes and failures and how they eventually get to where they are now. They could be acquaintances, managers, friends or someone you’ve read about on the news or on social media. More often than not, they have been in your shoes before and will be more than willing to help you out.
In his own career development, Brett has reached out to other thought leaders whom he admires on LinkedIn to ask for their practical advice.
You can start by connecting with professionals through LinkedIn and other social networks. Join relevant groups and attend (virtual) industry events to meet and interact with others who work in the fields that interest you. Alternatively, you can also join Reddit communities targeted at industry professionals to ask for opinions from its members.
If you prefer to have face-to-face consultations, you can seek help from specialised recruiters or career coaches. These professionals can offer valuable insights such as starting salary and job progression outlook that will help you make a better career choice. They can also highlight to you what are some of the skills you’re lacking in, and which employers are more likely to hire a mid-career switcher.
3. know your AQ
You’ve heard of IQ and EQ, but do you have a high AQ?
Adversity quotient, or AQ, measures your level of resilience and adaptability. The more flexible and adaptable you are, the more career options you will have. This is because many employers tend to look for candidates who are creative in finding new solutions that are useful and effective, especially during these challenging times.
You could self-evaluate your level of adaptability too. For example, if you aspire to change your career from accounting to advertising, learning to use Adobe may not be the biggest obstacle. Instead, whether you can consistently come up with new ideas and communicate them clearly to your audiences in your current role will be key to whether you’ll thrive in the new career.
By assessing your adaptability and understanding where your gaps are, you’ll be able to better scope your career path and make clearer decisions when navigating your mid career switch.
it’s time to make a change
It’s never too late to give it a try. Changing careers at 40 is not uncommon. 40s are the new 30s. 30s are the new 20s. The most important step is to take the plunge. Because for all you know, you’ll emerge happier and more confident about who you are or who you can be.
For more information, reach out to our specialist recruiters to better understand the latest job market trends and use those insights to assess your options. If you’re considering switching careers or looking for a new job, download our digital career guide for tips and tricks on how to optimise your resume and job interview.