Though the United States Department of Labor notes it’s difficult to pinpoint how many career changes the average worker undergoes during his or her lifetime, career coaches typically say men and women will undergo between three and seven career changes during their lifetime. Of course, such estimates no doubt include career changes at the onset of a one’s professional life, when many people are not precisely sure what they want to do for a living.
For older workers, the uncertainty lies less in what they want to do and more in if they can pull it off. For those who have already decided what they want to do, consider the following tips to help ensure that dream becomes a reality.
• Be patient. Aside from being qualified, the most important thing a person changing careers can be is patient. A successful career change does not happen overnight. Some career changes might require returning to school. Others might not require a new degree but might require an established professional start from the bottom up. Whatever the situation, it’s best to remain patient. If your new career is worth pursuing, be patient enough to see it through.
* Network. Networking is often seen as an opportunity to advance within your own industry. However, networking can be just as valuable when changing careers. People within your network might be able to introduce you to new contacts outside of your industry. These contacts, even if they don’t have a job to offer, can often provide valuable insight into the industry you’re attempting to enter.
• Volunteer. If your second career is going to be a complete 180 from your current field, it might help to volunteer and gain some experience before beginning a job search. Volunteering can prove beneficial in many ways. First and foremost, it provides potentially valuable experience you likely don’t have, and that experience may help down the road when you begin looking for a full-time position.
Another benefit to volunteering is it can provide a genuine look into the industry. This will either strengthen your desire to enter this new field or might encourage you to think more deeply about your pending career change if the field isn’t quite what you thought it was going to be.
Volunteering can be a great way to get your foot in the door. Should a position open up, a company is much more likely to consider the man or woman who has been volunteering at the firm than someone they don’t know.
• Be flexible. In today’s job market, the flexible candidates are more likely to be successful.
When changing careers, be as flexible as possible. Determine if relocation is a viable option, and assess your financial situation to determine how much financial flexibility you have. Career changes often come at the expense of a er salary. If your financial situation does not allow for a reduction in salary, now might not be the right time to change careers.
Thinking of opening a business and becoming an entrepreneur? First and foremost, enjoying this time of your life should include work you truly love to do. Turning a hobby, interest or passion into a successful career can add enjoyment, a sense of accomplishment and worth as well as extra income. Research the possibilities of success in your area with a new business based on your interests. Don’t forget online money makers, as well, such as blogging or consulting.