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Things to Consider While Changing Your Career in 30s

As people move from their 20s into their 30s it commonly occurs that they begin to have second thoughts about their first choice of career. Changing careers in 30s could be a big step. With a decent amount of work experience behind you in this phase of your life, making a change can feel risky and exciting, all at once. We are taking a look at some of the struggles and things need to consider while making a career change in your 30s that are specific to this time in your life. We are also highlighting a few of the positive outcomes that can come from moving to a new industry in your 30s.

If this is you, then you might find that the following 5 areas which will assist you in your decision making for changing careers in your 30s:

  • Clarify your reasons for wanting a career change
  • Identify what is most important to you in your career and life
  • What are your priorities in life for the next 3-5 years?
  • Identify your career options
  • Develop a self marketing plan and job search strategy
  • Let's look at each of these areas in more detail.

1. Clarify your reasons for wanting a career change

You must take your time to fully reflect on and identify your reasons for wanting to change your career. If you are able to fully understand what it is that you want to change in your career then it is likely that you will be able to make informed decisions about your preferred future otherwise you will make a hasty, ill-judged decision that will leave you no better off or perhaps worse off than you are now. If you are turning 30 then it is often a big milestone in people's lives resulting in some reflection about what has been achieved in the past decade and the realization that some changes need to be made.

2. Identify what is most important to you in your career and life

Your priorities will of course change over time and so will your values. However, if you think about it then there will be some fundamental things such as core values and beliefs that have shaped who you are today and will continue to define what is important to you for the remainder of your life.

Have you ever taken the time to deeply reflect on what matters most to you in your life? There is no right or wrong in your answer to this question. Each of us is unique and your core values will be deeply meaningful and unique to you.

So what matters most in your life and career or what drives you or what will you put first in your life? Is it:

  • Your personal relationships
  • Family, children
  • Your country or community
  • Status, achievement, reputation
  • Helping others
  • Realizing your full potential by doing work that uses your best skills & attributes

Such points will however help you in making a decision to change careers in your 30’s. Is a change in career compatible with what matters most to you in life and career.

3. List your priorities for the next 3-5 years

If you have the bigger picture for your future life then you need to now narrow your focus. What specifically would you like to achieve most in the next 3-5 years?

You must think about the importance of a life in balance consider not only what you would like to achieve in employment but also what about other areas of your life.

How well will your current job and employer support your efforts with these goals? How well will a career change support these? You must consider your goals for each of these areas:

  • Personal relationships
  • Family
  • Financial position
  • Health and fitness
  • Role in the community
  • Spiritual wellbeing

4. Identify your career options

Now it is a high time to consider what type of career change is possible for you. People can and do change their careers successfully all the time. The key to doing this successfully is having a targeted approach to your job search. This means you have a concise idea about:

  • The type of employment you want
  • The skills and knowledge required for this work
  • The type of organization in which you would like to work

This usually takes some fairly extensive research on your part. It will certainly involve a comprehensive review of your career so far so that you can identify where you have acquired and used some of the skills and knowledge needed in your new line of work. It is equally important to identify achievements or contributions you have made in past employment using the skills and knowledge needed in your new career. For some people, it may mean that you will have to complete further education or training to assist you to make your desired career transition.

However, there are many websites which will assist you to undertake a career review in order to identify your career options. You must take a career interest inventory which might be a useful step if you do not know about what career direction to pursue. One important step in identifying your career options is to put together a written list of the organizations that you would like to work for.

5. Develop a self-marketing plan and job search strategy

You will probably be aware that different employers have differing approaches to recruitment. Government and large corporates will advertise job vacancies you need to know where, how and even when they will do this, for example in the case of seasonal recruitment. Small to medium sized enterprises and often not for profit organizations may advertise job vacancies but often many will not do this. Their approach in these instances may be word of mouth.

So your job search strategy will depend to a certain extent on who your targeted employers are. You must do your homework on their recruiting strategy so that you know the best way to attract their attention.

In terms of a marketing plan you will certainly need:

  • A targeted resume 
  • A compelling cover or application letter, or email
  • A networking and information interviewing strategy

To practice your job interview skills you must do what you know, for example: - how to participate in a behavioral interview. The whole idea behind a targeted approach is that you are designing a very specific approach which highlight the key skills and attributes you have which are needed in your new career direction.

Changing careers in your 30s is something that people commonly do. However it is not a decision which should be made lightly. This is especially the case if you have family and dependents. But, if you use the above steps, questions and suggested approaches as a guide, it may be possible that you will successfully make your desired career transition.