Downsizing, aging or just the desire for something different can all be catalysts for a career change. However, no matter why you are looking to navigate the second (or third or fourth) phase of your career, it’s important to have a plan before you make the leap to something new.
Here are some key steps courtesy of Consumer Reports to help you get the process started.
Do a self-assessment
Ask yourself what are you best at, what do you enjoy doing and what did you enjoy as a child? Ask friends and colleagues, too. They might see things you shine at that you take for granted.
Scan your part for clues to your future
Think about how your current skill set may be transferable to other fields, and then explore potential new ways to leverage your talents.
Take baby steps
You don’t want to act rashly and spend a lot of money on a degree or on launching a business that turns out not to be a good fit for you. Volunteering or attending workshops can give you insight into a particular second career before you commit to it.
Get financially fit
Economic strength gives you freedom of choice. Begin by drawing up a budget, cutting back on expenses and making sure you have a cushion of at least one year of living expenses set aside for transition costs.
Learn before you quit
Take courses or workshops while you are still working. Your employer may even cover some of your tuition fees or offer full reimbursement. Also make sure you take advantage of educational tax breaks.
Find a mentor working in your new field. Reach out to your colleagues to see whether they can make introductions for you. Two heads may be better than one, and together you can explore possibilities for collaborating in the future. Also, check out career centers at area colleagues and sign up with the professional networking website Linkedin to meet others in a field or job that interests you. If there’s a particular industry you’re intrigued by, join an association affiliated with it and attend conferences
Stay physically fit
Contemplating any kind of career change is stressful, and that’s why exercise as well as eating nutritious foods, is important as this time. Plus, when you’re physically fit, you exude energy and give a positive vibe that lets potential employers know that you are up for the job and that you have the stamina to take on new challenges.
Anytime you start thinking about making changes in your work life, advanced planning will give you an advantage. Start with the tips above, and then get ready to take on Act 2 of your career!