How to change careers in your 30s

Once you’ve hit your 30s, it’s likely that you have invested a considerable amount of time, money and energy into building your career to date. It’s no wonder that you might be feeling a little apprehensive about making a move into another field. However considering that most people will work well into their 60s and 70s, it could be worth putting in the time to find a career that’s both satisfying and rewarding.

If you find yourself dreading the prospect of going in to work every Monday morning, here are some of the best ways to move into a career that you’ll actually enjoy, regardless of your age.

How to change careers in your 30s

Do some self-assessment

You can’t afford to make a career change without assessing your career situation first. Look at how you like to work, what your career values are and the things you’d gladly do even if you weren’t getting paid to do it. This will help you identify the kind of role you should be aiming for.

Then it’s time to look at what employers are looking for when it comes to that particular role. Do some research by checking out current job ads and seeing what skills are required of potential applicants. This will confirm your suitability for that level of work, or give you some idea of the skills you need to work on.

Look at what transferable skills you have

While you may not have direct experience in the new field you’re aiming for, it’s still worth examining your skill set and looking at what you can take with you into your new career. Strong administration and computer skills are easily transferable to industries ranging from finance to marketing, while communication skills and an aptitude for problem-solving can be applied to almost any role. List your strongest traits and assess how they could prove invaluable to your next employer.

Consider further study

Undertaking further study can often give you the new credentials required to make a career change. This is what psychotherapist Dr Karen Phillip discovered when she decided to leave behind a career in executive management in her late 30s. “Because of the hours I was keeping in my executive position and the fact I had three children to look after, I thought I didn’t want to continue making money for an organisation. I’d prefer to do that for myself and my kids.”

After ending her marriage and realising how valuable counselling was to her during this time, Dr Phillip made the decision to move into counselling work. To help facilitate this, she completed a Diploma in Counselling at the age of 38. Dr Phillip says that her successful career transition was owed to “60 per cent study – the rest of it was internal drive and confidence.”

As her practice grew and her career expanded into writing a series of books and TV work, Dr Phillip went on to study further degrees including a masters and PhD.

Make a lateral move in your company

If your current role is not the right fit, you may not necessarily have to move into a completely new industry altogether. Look at the current company you work for and see if there are any other areas in the business that you could move into. Start by speaking with your HR department to explore the possibility of making a lateral move into a different area and seek advice on how best to approach this with internal stakeholders, including your current manager.

Volunteer your time

Remember when you were in high school or uni and you did work experience to get a taste for a particular line of work? There’s nothing stopping you from doing the same thing now. If, for example, you’d like to get into event planning, contact some of the event planners you’d like to work with and offer to help out at their next event at no cost in exchange for the work experience. This will give you some first-hand experience that you can add to your resume plus it allows you to start gaining the necessary skills to move into your new career.

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