Changing Careers At 30

Changing careers is a difficult decision to make and you may feel that changing careers at 30 is a road not often travelled but here are some statistics that may surprise you:

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Americans; by the time they are 38 average between 3-5 career changes and between the ages of 18-34 average between 10-14 jobs (the number of career changes is trending towards 5-7 according to multiple sources.)
  • According to School of Life, over 50% of young adults in their 20’s already regret their choice of careers and close to 90% of people over the age of 45 consider changing their careers but only 6% actually make the change.

The trend in the previous statistics are alarming but unfortunately very common.  Many people at a young age already know they don’t want to be in their career field, but most of them do nothing about it and remain in the same career.  Years pass by and their life situation evolves; many people will be homeowners and will have a family to support, but their dissatisfaction with their career choice will remain the same.  People want to change careers because they’re dissatisfied with their line of work, but most of them never change careers due to family and financial obligations.  The moral of the story: the longer you wait to change careers, the higher chance you have that you won’t make the change so do it as soon as you determine it’s the right thing for you to do.  Changing careers at 30 may seem scary but here are some tips to make the process much easier for you.

Changing Careers At 30 without a Plan – Don’t Do It

One of the biggest mistakes career changers make is changing careers without a plan.  How do you know that changing careers is the right move for you?  What if you love what you do but dislike your boss or your company?  If I change careers I most likely will take a paycut; can I afford my current lifestyle if I take a X% paycut?  These are examples of a few questions you should be asking yourself before Changing careers at 30you decide to change careers.  Based on your answers and how you feel about them; you should then proceed to developing a plan for how to make the career change possible.  The career change process takes time; with a plan in place a successful career change can take months to complete so you can imagine how costly starting the process would be without a plan and even worse, can lead you to making decisions you’ll live to regret sooner than later. To summarize, validate that changing careers at 30 is the right thing to do and once that’s done, develop a plan to make the career change possible.  The proceeding steps outline the necessary steps in your career change plan.

Find Out What Your Ideal Career Is

Find out what you really want in a job and most importantly find out what you can’t do without.  This is an important step in helping people changing careers at 30.  Have you always dreamed of being a musician?  Are you good with people but hate dealing with the paperwork once the client/ customer is gone?  At this point in your career you should have a general understanding of what you like and dislike in a career.

If this is difficult for you to determine follow these steps:

  1. Grab a blank sheet of paper and draw a straight line in-between the middle of the page.
  2. At the top of the page on one side of the line write “likes” and on the other side of the line write “dislikes”.
  3. Underneath each category list what you like and dislike about your current career.
  4. Think deeply and be honest with yourself; if your salary is the only thing you like make sure to list that as a “like”; the more honest you are with yourself during this process, the more helpful the list will be.
  5. Once your list is complete, look at the “likes” and determine one-by-one if each item should be something you really want in your next career and/or if it’s something you can’t do without.
  6. Once that’s done, think of careers you have always been interested in and do some research on those careers.
  7. During your research read the job descriptions and see if the “likes” and “dislikes” from the list you compiled earlier are mentioned.
  8. If you see a lot of your “dislikes” mentioned in a career you’re interested in, that maybe an indicator that changing careers at 30 to that particular career field may not be the right fit for you.
  9. After your research is complete you should have a list of potential careers you’re very interested in.
If you would like to see alternative ways to generate new career ideas see this page here.

Build a Network and Reach Out to Them

Changing careers at 30Now that you have a list of careers you’re interested in, the next step is to build a strong network that can assist you with the career change process.  Look within your network first and see if anyone you’re networked with is working in a career field you’re interested in.   Next, develop new network contacts and join industry associations.  New network contacts are invaluable when you’re changing careers at 30 because you can conduct informational interviews with them to ask questions about the career you’re interested in.  In addition, they can inform you when there’s a job opening and ideally, can connect you with a hiring manager with any vacant positions.  After conducting informational interviews, ask people in your network if you can shadow them at their jobs if possible.  It’s one thing reading about a career you’re interested in or even talking to someone who does it for a living but seeing what they do in person during a normal workday adds another dimension of career evaluation that can’t be replaced.

Determine Which Career You Want To Pursue

With sufficient knowledge of what a person does for a living in a career field you’re interested in, at this point you should be able to determine if changing careers at 30 to that particular career field is something you should move forward with.  If you’re absolutely sure you want to pursue that new career, keep building your new network contacts and build stronger relationships with older network contacts so they can keep you in the loop for any job openings.  If you don’t have many transferrable skills from your current career to the new career, now is the time to work on the skills that are needed.   With the help of your network contacts and a refined skillset that matches your desired line of work, you should be able to land a job in your preferred career field in due time.

If you’re not completely sure, don’t proceed with the career change yet.  Write down the things you’re unsure of and evaluate each concern individually.  Changing careers at 30 is one of the most important decisions you’re going to make in your life so you shouldn’t rush it. If you ultimately decide that particular career you were interested in isn’t the right fit for you don’t worry; this is the reason you carefully evaluated that line of work.  Just “rinse and repeat” the steps listed above until you find your desired career.

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