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February 13, 2019

Student Success

5 tips for a career change at 30.

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Do you get into bed on Sunday night, just dreading the week ahead like many Americans? Do you stare out of the window of your workplace, daydreaming about a new career? Do you wish you had the training or the guts to just quit and follow your passion?

While everyone goes through periods of disliking their job or being stressed about their employer or abilities, constant or regular unhappiness with your job and life could indicate it’s time to look into making a career change. If you want to develop new skills and abilities, it may be time to step out of your comfort zone and change to a new career.

But you’re probably thinking, “Hold on. I can’t just quit my job. I’m too old to head back to college or be a student I'm too settled in my workplace.” That’s simply not true.

While in the past many people were settled into a professional career in their 30s, these days career changes are happening with much more regularity, regardless of age.

A career change in your 30s can be a great way to get going on a path you’re passionate about. It may mean a great change in your life: heading back to college, finding a new employer, making new professional contacts, and developing new skills. But many professionals find that changing careers in their 30s is a successful way to solve their motivation and happiness issues.

You likely still have 35 years or more left to work, and it’s a great idea to make sure the career you’ve chosen is one you’re excited about. If it’s not, making a career change is a great way to make sure your remaining working years are successful and enjoyable.

Before you just quit your job, you’ll need to have a plan about a career change and how to approach it. From making sure you are enrolled in college or have a way to gain the skills you'll need to developing a new network to help you find the right employer, there are going to be many steps for this change.

This guide will help you be prepared for the road ahead.

 

1. Evaluate what you don’t like about your work as you are picking a new path.

Maybe you want to work in an entirely different field. Maybe you want more pay, flexible hours, or a career that gives you the chance to work with patients or kids. You’ll need to sit down and write a list of the things you don’t like about your current work as you decide what you need to find in your next one.

Take a self-assessment as a crucial part of the career change process. You need to really know where you want to end up before you take any steps, like going back to college or leaving your employer.

Making a list of what you like about your job

Consider taking career aptitude tests, evaluating your hobbies, and looking at your personality traits as you consider what jobs would be a better fit for you. Researching schools can help you look at the kind of skills you may be interested in for a future career. Make sure you have an idea of what you’ll need in your next career before you make any drastic changes.

2. Utilize your network, conduct informational interviews, etc.

After you have an idea of what field you’d like to go in to, it’s smart to utilize your network or develop connections in that field. If you’re interested in becoming a teacher, reach out to friends or family who are in that career field.

Conduct informational interviews to understand the details of the work day, the pay, the skills you'll need, what schooling they have, and more. Don’t be shy in reaching out to people you know, or even the friend of a friend, as you gather information about a certain path. 

Utilizing network

These connections could end up helping you land a job down the line.

Look at career guides on LinkedIn or the Bureau of Labor Statistics so you understand the broad job outlook for your chosen career path.

3. Find part-time or flexible training so you don’t have to quit your current job.

 

If you’re in your 30s, you likely have responsibilities like a car, house, and family. This means you probably aren’t able to just change your job or go back to school to get the training for a new job. WGU is a perfect option for this situation. You can go to online school on your schedule, with the flexibility to do your coursework when you have the time.

Part-time education on laptop

For some college students, that means they do their degree program work early in the morning or late at night around their job and family schedules. Other students opt to do their online program work on weekends.

No matter what your situation is, you can find time to attend school with WGU. WGU is designed to let you move through courses as quickly as you’re able. This is ideal for adult students who need to develop new skills for a new job as part of a midlife career change.

Competency-based education means that once you can demonstrate mastery of a course, you can complete it. This can cut down the amount of time students spend in school to a year or two, or less. One-on-one Program Mentors help students keep track of their courses and are there whenever students need help. Online education is a great way to make sure you can continue working to provide for yourself and your family while working towards your career change.

4. Save some money so you can start lower on the ladder.

It can be a smart idea to start saving some money from your current job so that a career change with a lower salary isn’t as much of an issue. Sometimes when you change careers you’ll have to start a little lower down the ladder with a smaller paycheck.

It can sometimes take time to work your way up in a new career. You have to develop new abilities, show you can solve problems, and have a positive attitude.

Saving money for career change

Having some money saved up will allow you to make a change to a new career without hurting your lifestyle or family needs. This gives you freedom to send out job applications and be willing to start in a more entry-level position. Being willing to do this can lead to a more successful career change in the long-term.

Start a budget and plan to save money now, so when you do accomplish your career change, you can be prepared for any unknowns.

 

5. Update your résumé, portfolio, etc.

As you prepare to change careers, you’ll need to update your résumé and portfolio. From building a website to utilizing a template to help you craft a good résumé  or cover letter, there are many ways to display your skill set to employers.

As you gain education, training, and certifications, you’ll want to make sure your résumé and portfolio accurately reflect your new skills. New volunteer experience, clinical, or demonstration teaching are also good skills to put onto your résumé.

Resume building on website

Job hunting for your dream job will mean you need to demonstrate your school work, job skills, and career goals. A resume or portfolio can help you do this.

 

At age 30, most experts agree that your résumé  shouldn’t exceed one page and should leave off any jobs from when you were very young.

The idea of transitioning to a new career can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. You can successfully determine what career is the best for you and use education and training to get on the path that will lead you to that job.

Learn to improve your relationships, hone your problem-solving skills, and gain valuable work experience to help you on a new career path.

 

WGU can help you get the educational experience you need to go through a career change and start working somewhere that you’re passionate about.

 

 

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