It is very common to have the desire to change careers in your 30s. In fact, a 2015 study showed that an astounding 73 percent of people in their 30s want to switch careers (which is 10 percent more than those studied in 2013). So what’s stopping you from making the leap? Out of those interested in pursuing a new career, 43% said that not having financial stability was a big obstacle, and 36% expressed concern about not being experienced or educated enough.
Here’s what Levo has to say about that: Having a career you’re passionate about (and being happy with it!) is important, so those barriers shouldn’t stop you—or anyone else—from changing careers at 30. Yes, as a 30-something, leaving behind an established career can be anxiety-inducing, but your dream job is worth a few months of discomfort. And keep this in mind: if things don’t work out the way you want them to, you can always fall back on your former field. Amanda Augustine, an expert on career advice and spokesperson for TopResume, has some great tips on changing your career path thoughtfully. Check them out:
- Understand the industry speak.
Knowing how to talk about your industry gives you an edge and the boost in confidence you need when making a pivot.
When you’re job hunting, take a look at how hiring managers in your industry describe positions on various career boards. Which keywords appear most frequently? Keep track of these words and make sure you understand their definitions.
Augustine thinks you should do some productive social media stalking, as well. “Following industry leaders and influencers on social media will help you learn popular industry terms and stay up-to-date with the latest news that could concern your target employers,” she adds.
After you’ve gathered a list of keywords, apply them to your resume and professional profiles. “You may be surprised how many skills you have that can be translated into a new industry—you might just need to change the terminology used to describe them,” Augustine says. So, for example, if in the finance industry you analyzed data—now you’re an expert in using that data to forecast trends Mktg worldwide. And there you have it!
- Make your connections count.
You may feel like you’re starting from scratch in your new field, but that doesn’t mean you can’t utilize the great network of connections you’ve already made. It’s all about utilizing those second and third-degree connections.
If you’re worried about making a request, try to think about how you can help the other person first. Augustine states that “as with any networking relationship, the goal should be to provide value before you start asking for favors.” If you want to change something and use a contact’s resources or knowledge, begin by redeveloping the relationship. It’s always best to avoid cold-calling people for favors. Instead, try to help others as often as you can–such as by making introductions or providing useful resources.
To make the most of your time, create a list of people you need to reach out to with a second column that details how you can provide value to each person.
[Related: How To Make Your Networking Conversations More Meaningful]
- Decide what compromises you’re willing to make.
As Steve Jobs stated in his 2005 Stanford commencement address, “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter into one of the most creative periods of my life.”
Although Steve Jobs is always good for an inspirational quote, it’s OK to be apprehensive about starting again from the beginning. This can often mean looking for positions that are less senior than your current one, taking a pay cut, or even taking a community college class in a room full of 18-year-olds. Accepting your current situation can be hard, but remind yourself that you had the bravery to change course (as those 18-year-olds will someday do too) and follow the path toward your dream job. “Remember that sometimes it’s necessary to make a lateral move, or even a step-down, in order to move up on the right path,” says Augustine. “Accept this fact, and you’re already in better shape.”
“Carefully go over your spending and find ways to save so the transition isn’t as drastic,” suggests Augustine. This also encompasses being proactive about what you’ll need to negotiate once an offer is on the table. For example, if you have to take a small pay cut; request working from home one day a week to bridge commuting costs.
“It won’t always be easy, but keep your eye on the prize,” says Augustine. “If you’re passionate about this new direction, all this hard work will be worth it.”