Making a Career Switch at 30
Change, in whatever aspect of your life, is always exciting and daunting in equal measure.
That’s probably why there are still a lot of people who desperately quell their career doubts even when they’re obviously no longer happy. Deciding that the job you have is not for you when you’re 30 can be confusing and paralyzing, and rightfully so.
You’ve invested your time and energy on a job that now does not satisfy you. To make that even more terrifying, you’re no longer the doe-eyed, carefree recent graduate that you once were. What do you do?
Figuring Out If You Need a Career Change
At 30, most people have a stable job, with a comfortable salary, a steady stream of bills to pay and people who depend on them. On the surface, they have everything they could ever need to be happy, but they’re not.
The job – while it may be stable – is unfulfilling. They resent the pattern of waking up in the morning, going through the motions at work, rushing home, sleeping and waking up to the same thing the following day.
Do you feel the same way?
The good news is you’re not alone. There are thousands of 30-something professionals with the same struggle as you. In fact, you’re already a step ahead. You know you’re unfulfilled. Now, you need to decide what you want to do next.
5 Tips When Switching Careers at 30
While it’s tempting to cheer for the leads who make these daring career changes in movies, it’s a lot harder to do it in real life and succeed. It’s littered with many obstacles that many don’t expect to face. Conversely, there are a lot of myths that you may deem true but don’t really happen.
This article can be your roadmap, rich with lessons in switching careers, to help you go from the job you have to the job you want.
1. Trust what your instincts tell you
More than likely, you’re unhappy in a job because you know in your gut you’re meant to do something else – whether the specifics of that something is known to you or not. Follow that instinct because that’s the compass that will bring you closer to the career that will fulfill you. Julia Child was many things, including a CIA agent, before she finally gave in to her calling, food. She was 50. Had she not listened to that inner voice, we would not have the benefit of her amazing recipes.
If you find yourself gravitating towards a career and that pull does not waiver, stick with it. You never know, you could be the Julia Child of whatever profession you end up picking.
2. Take time to research
Because you’ve been in a different field all your professional life, think of yourself as a novice on this new one. Absorb information and be open to learning. Start by looking up what jobs are available for the career you want. What companies are hiring? Can you get internships? Do you know people there you can shadow?
Not only is this an opportunity for you to learn more about this new field, it’s also a great way to zero in on actual positions that you’re excited to take on.
3. Commit to act
Nothing gets done by being in your head. True, you need to introspect to figure out if you want to switch jobs and how, but once you know, you need to do something about it. Sit yourself done, do some research and plan what your next move is. If not, you’ll most likely be swept back into the secure job that you have now.
Sample jobs that you want. If you want to be a writer, take creative writing or journalism classes. Want a shot at events organizing? Offer to organize an event for your friends or the company you currently work for. Over the next few months, you’ll acquire more skills and experience that will make you a better fit for the job you want.
4. Establish relationships
The secret is to seek out people who can be either be your support system or your network. They can be co-workers in your current job who are also actively seeking an opportunity in a new field, career coaches who remind you of the changes you want to make or new networks in the industry you want to move to.
By meeting new people or reconnecting with the ones already your life, you’re opening yourself up to more opportunities. You never know, they could be the reference you need to snatch that dream job.
5. Take the creative approach
CVs and resumes won’t be your best friend. Compared to people who have always been in your new field of choice, your CV will not stack up as well. Theirs will always be more valuable for that field. Opt for a more creative approach to make up for that.
Some people offer their services to their dream companies free of charge. Through that, they’re able to build relationships with people in the firm. Over time, they’re asked to be consultants, then full time employees. This unconventional approach saved them from the ruthless filtering process that usually happens with the traditional job applications.
Your Next Step
At 30, people think their lives are set. They can no longer make extreme changes that would alter the course of their lives, even if that means they’ll be happier and more fulfilled. Success stories, like Julia Child, Vera Wang, and many others who discover their true passion at a later age, will tell you otherwise.
Have the courage to go after that dream job even it means leaving an already secure one.
While it is true that making a career switch isn’t easy, it’s not impossible. If you’re sat on your desk, reading this article, and wondering how you can do it, then try some of the tips listed above. They should make the journey a lot easier for you.
Remember, you have the opportunity to change not just your career but your life.