If you have been thinking about a change of career recently, you are not alone. Thousands of Americans change careers every year, and this has become increasingly popular recently, as Coronavirus and lockdown have left people with a need to reevaluate their lives as well as the time to do it. Changing careers after a few years of working, or even in the middle or end of your working life may seem daunting, but with some careful planning, it is quite easy to achieve. Here is a guide on how to plan for a second career.
Unfortunately, it could be too late to realize your childhood dream. If you always wanted to be an astronaut or a lion tamer, then this is likely to remain a dream. However, if your aspirations were a little more achievable to start with then there is no reason why you can’t have a career change. Popular second careers include nursing, teaching, or even sales, and there is no reason you shouldn’t try your hand at something new just because you have been working in a different industry so far.
Researching an industry is a good way to find out if you would enjoy working in it or not. This means that you can rule out some of your options and embrace others before you even start making the choice of career a lot easier for you. Once you have a shortlist, speak to people who already work in the industry and ask them questions about their careers. This will help you see if your chosen career may turn out like you thought it would, or whether you might enjoy doing something else more. If you can arrange it, spending a day or so shadowing someone in the industry will really help you too.
Assess Your Interests
If you are unsure what you might want to do as a second career, then start by assessing your interests. What are you good at and what are you interested in? You may have some excellent skills that have nothing to do with the field you are already working in. They could relate more to hobbies or personal interests and now might be a great time to utilize them.
If you have been working in the industry for a while, chances are good that you have picked up some transferable skills without even realizing it. Your job may have made you a great people person, a fantastic negotiator, or a wonderful problem solver. These may all be skills that you can use in a different industry. Although you will have to be realistic in terms of your starting position in a new industry, if you have transferable skills, you may not always have to start at the bottom to change career. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself.
The chances are you will need some new qualifications for your second career. However, you can train for this while you are still working at your old job. This may feel like a bit of a juggling act but with some careful planning, it is possible. This means that you don’t have to give up your full-time salary until you are ready to make the switch. Online studying is a wonderful way of balancing your time and you can climb as far up the academic ladder as you want to go before you change career meaning that you may not have to take a massive pay cut. For example, a Wilkes DNP will give you a fantastic nursing qualification and is highly sought after in the nursing industry.
Update Your Resume
Your existing resume is unlikely to get you a job in your chosen field as it will be for a different industry. HR departments and recruitment agencies like to see a clear career path before they will put you forward for a new job or arrange an interview. This does not need to be too big an obstacle though. Update your resume to reflect the transferrable skills you already have and why you think you would be a good fit for your new company. Include qualifications you have obtained to work in the industry and attach a covering letter explaining the reasons for your change of career. Once a recruiter has these things, they can start to see the benefits of interviewing and hiring you.
You will need to consider your budget before you start on your second career journey. It may be that you won’t earn anything like your current salary for the first few years of your new career and you will have to think about how to manage this financially. It may be that once you have started work your salary will rise quickly and you may find that you will eventually earn more money than you do now, but you will have to research this carefully before you start and possibly make cutbacks on your general spending before you start.
Create a 5-Year Plan
You may already have a 5-year plan, but this may change when you change industry. For example, you will probably need to spend a part of this time studying before you start. It could be that five years will give you time to get your first job in your new industry or you may find that you could realistically be working towards your first promotion in this time. Set yourself realistic time scales over the next five years and work out what steps you will need to take to get there.
These are good steps to take if you want to prepare for a second career. It may not be the easiest path to take but if you know it will make you happier in the longer term then it is the right decision to make. It may turn out that deciding on a second career and taking steps towards achieving your goal was the best decision you ever made.
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