Changing a career at mid-life is an intimidating affair, and often there will be many concerns. For instance, financial worries, a resistant spouse and the fear of failure are likely concerns. Such fears often prevent anyone from moving beyond their comfort zone and seek actions addressing their tingling itch to switch careers. Yet, sometimes life’s biggest rewards come from taking the biggest risks.
Trend of Career switches
It is common for certain sectors such as the healthcare industry to have many employees taking the plunge to switch careers. Moreover, there are even programmes tailored to help employees in such matters.
The Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) initiated by the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) is designed to help Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) acquire new skills or to make a career change to growing sectors. Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP) for Diagnostic Radiographers, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Registered Nurses are also available.
However, beyond familarising the various types of programmes, there are steps that you can take to manage a career switch. Firstly, you have to understand your own priorities and needs. Use some time out of your busy schedule to assess what gives you joy and passion. As you embark on your new career, this will help you discover your interests.
Slow down and take time to think about what you have been doing and what you would like to do next. Who are you and what do you want? Are you still interested in the corporate life or is doing something more meaningful appealing to you? On top of it, there are also other important considerations such as family commitments, financial implications and a change in lifestyle. Lastly, are you willing to accept a pay cut when you make a career hop?
Develop a blueprint
Developing a blueprint can also be effective in helping you decide where to go. After being in your career for some time, starting a whole new career can be overwhelming. However, the process becomes much less intimidating when you break it down into smaller and more manageable steps. Choose the industry that you are about to venture in carefully.
Some industries have lower barriers to entry such as non-profit sectors, healthcare and consulting. Next, find out if your new career requires specific certifications and skill sets. If there is, sign up and start going for these classes. You can also begin reading a book or guide on your new prospective career. Research on the industry as much as possible and understand the challenges that it might bring.
As usual, tailor your resume specifically to the job role you are applying for. Even if you do not have the relevant experience for your new field, you would have definitely acquired transferrable skills in your previous years of work.
For instance, you can highlight your extroverted personality and broad network of contacts, if you are making the switch from sales to recruitment. A common issue you can encounter when you pen down your experiences is whether one should list down the years of working experience. Although it might seem that disclosing your experience would make you seem too old or over-qualified, it is hardly a cause for concern.
This is because, work experiences are invaluable assets for you and your employer.
Lastly, as much as it is a calling or a new found passion, it is important to always have contingent back-up plans. Set a personal timeline to track if you are doing well in your new career.
There is no hard and fast rule about how long the time the time should be; it can range from 6 months to 12 months. Should you find yourself progressing less than you expect yourself to, it is wise to not close the back door to your previous career.