For professionals in their 30s, a career change this “late in the game” may seem like a terrifying thought. But it’s a leap of faith that’s risky and exciting all at once. Looking to make this bold move? Turn your apprehension into action and get ready to embark on your new journey with the help of this comprehensive guide.
Why Switch Careers in Your 30s?
Picture this: You’re well past your 20s when making bad decisions in the name of “finding yourself” was the norm. But you’re nowhere near retirement, with a solid 30 years ahead of you and still so much to achieve.
Being in your 30s is the golden era of self-reinvention. You’re more confident because you know yourself better and have years of experience to boot. This stark clarity will fuel your drive to look for a job that aligns with your goals and priorities. When exactly is it time to move? Here are some signs to help you decide if it’s time to hit the road and head towards a new career.
Keeping the status quo is safe. But reaching a career plateau won’t keep you motivated. Maybe you’re craving a new challenge or starting to feel that moving up the ladder is taking longer than planned. If you’re feeling detached and disengaged, then it’s time to consider a career change.
Chronic stress and fatigue
It’s normal to get burned out occasionally. But persistent stress is a clear red flag you shouldn’t dismiss. Life is too short to be unhappy! If you think you’ve reached the end of your rope, draw the line and kiss your dead-end job goodbye.
Change in priorities
The great thing about making it quarter-past your life is that you know exactly what you want. Sometimes, your goals when you started your career aren’t what they are today. Held down by a job that doesn’t align with your dreams and aspirations? Let passion defy reason and throw in the towel.
How to Make a Career Transition
So, you’re all fired up and ready to make your big career move. But where do you begin? Carefully examine your greatest strengths and passions. Identify the skills you’ll need additional training for. Preparation is everything. Turn to these tips to help get you started so you can launch your career change with a bang.
1. Conduct a SWOT analysis of your career.
Start by conducting a thorough assessment of your current situation. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis will shed light on your strongest suits to capitalise on and areas for improvement.
You might even want to go on a “working vacation.” Use the time to reflect on what’s important to you and take it from there. Identify your goals and map out how your current skill set will help get you where you want to be. Ask yourself these questions:
- What am I best at?
- What am I passionate about?
- What’s missing from my current job and how can a new career help me find that?
- What do I see myself doing in the long run?
2. Lean on your transferrable skills.
Regardless of what industry you’re in, you’ll find a part of your expertise that you can apply to another. Bank on your transferrable skills and consider switching to a job in a related field. For instance, a software engineer might explore the option of transitioning to website design. Or maybe you’re a surgeon who’s thinking about specialising in paediatrics. Find the common denominator so you can zero in on your best options.
3. Make a SMART action plan.
Once you’ve set a target career path, create a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) action plan. What do you aim to achieve? How can you re-educate yourself for your career change? Be realistic about your goals. Give yourself a time frame for landing a new job and have a backup plan if all else fails.
4. Refresh your resume.
Whether in your 20s, 30s, or 40s, job hunting requires revamping your CV. Update your experience and beef up noteworthy achievements. Craft your resume and cover letter to match the job you’re eyeing. Now would also be an appropriate time to update your details on employment-focused online platforms. While you’re at it, get the word out that you’re in the market.
5. Prepare for the interview.
Can’t remember the last time you were in a job interview? Time to shake the dust off. Prepare for this all-important appointment by doing your homework. A quick Google search will give you a brief understanding of the company and its culture. Also, prepare a list of questions to help you determine if your target job will be worth dropping everything for.
While waiting to hear back from the company, why not use this time to upgrade yourself by honing your relevant skills? Further training is always a good idea. Upskill by learning a new language, whether it’s Python or Mandarin. Tap into your network and talk to people in similar roles to get more insight about what’s in store for you.
Additionally, find ways to boost your confidence so you can impress on your first day. Get out of your comfort zone, take on new challenges, and practise self-care. Why not get a smile makeover? Visit your dentist and inquire about dental solutions you might need. If you’ve been putting off treatment for your crooked or crowded teeth, ask about ClearCorrect aligners. They’re a discreet and comfortable orthodontic option to bring you closer to your dream smile.
A career change may seem like a big risk. But switching professions can lead to the best years of your life. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Be patient and don’t rush the process. Thirty-something and in doubt? Visualise your dream job and go all out!
Nadeem, R. (2022b, July 28). Majority of U.S. workers changing jobs are seeing real wage gains | Pew Research Center. Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project.
Number of Jobs, Labor Market Experience, Marital Status, and Health for Those Born 1957-1964. (2023, August 22). U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.