As 2017 arrives, it’s common to begin thinking about new goals for a fresh, new year — and there is nothing like this time to think about a career change.
Are you unhappy at work? Do you dream of other careers? Have you been looking for the right moment to explore other opportunities — but some obstacles have held you back? If you think about pulling out your old resume and cover letter, but you just get discouraged or don’t know how to get started — then read on to learn our top expert tips for knowing when the right time for a career change real is and how to get started today.
Don’t let ideas overwhelm you and the challenges of potential changes get in your way. Whether you are 20, 30, 40 or older — there always is the opportunity to go after what you want and to do the best for you. Here’s all you need to reach your career dreams today:
Changing Careers: Timing is Everything
Just like a successful relationship, timing is everything in a career change. Don’t assume that just because things aren’t working out for your dream job now that it’s not meant to be. If you have passion for something and you want to go after it — then timing plays a huge part in achieving your career change. Whether you want to become a teacher or go into nursing — you can make a drastic change with the right planning and timing.
How to Change Careers in Today’s Job Market
When you are thinking about changing careers, there are a few paths you need to think about to bring it all together. First, is there a test, certification or degree you need to complete to be competitive in your new career field? Is there a connection you need to make? Do you need to look into specialized training for accounting, nursing and other professional fields? Identify your objective and determine special steps you need to take before quitting your job.
Start saving now because you need to prepare for all the things you need and not necessarily those you are wanting. Finally, don’t take “no” for an answer at first. Consider if the current field is over-saturated or if it is a prime time to enter the your new job world.
How to Write a Career Change Cover Letter
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to start writing your cover letter. You’ll need to format it very specifically to the job description. Sometimes this takes a little time to figure out because you want to make sure you’re covering all of the points in the job description in your cover letter.
One of the best ways to start a cover letter is with an anecdote or quotes that demonstrates a very specific skill in the job description. If you’re a nurse wanting to go into management, you might tell a story about how you successfully cared for a client. If you are a teacher wanting to switch to communications, you might share a story about how your communications skills translate from the classroom to the office. Starting your cover letters with a story helps to create interest and set apart your letter. Check out samples and examples from trusted sources and practice making and writing new letters..
Stand-out Sample Cover Letter
If you’re looking for an example of an excellent sample cover letter, then try this an example:
To Whom It May Concern: (Note: It’s always impressive if you can find out the hiring manager and address your cover letter to that specific person)
I want to tell you a story. From working in crisis counseling in the UK to taking on a career in marketing in Singapore to managing the communications for a Valvoline oil branch, my career spanning the globe has presented with me opportunities to use my psychology degree in effective ways that meet the objectives of your position.
I’ve found that in my 10 years of experience in communications, marketing and writing on the job, I’m an easy and instant fit for many companies — and I want my next fit to be at your company. When life sends you around the world with opportunities such as I’ve had, then you know you have to use them for a reason. I believe I can contribute to the successful future of your Marketing & Communications department with my ability to write award-winning stories, lead multi-million dollar marketing campaigns for companies such as Change.org and manage a team of eight staff.
In addition, I am leaving my current position only because at the end of the day — I have to pursue my passions and live into them no matter what — and I believe I can give you what you need and successfully pursue my dreams at your company. Here’s why:
Changing Careers at Age 40
If you are in your 40s and you’re thinking about changing careers, there are a few things you’ll need to weigh before making the big jump into a new industry. First, many people in their 40s are on their third or fourth job. They probably own a house, may be married and/or have kids and are in a stage of life in which they aren’t ready to retire but are working toward that. If this sounds like your life stage but you would like to make a job transition, you’ll need to consider a few things as follows:
- Do I have enough income to take a job of lesser pay that would make me happier?
- Do I need to go back to school in order to switch careers?
- Do I need to put anything in place to make the transition easier?
- Can I continue on in my current position and still be happy?
- Will I regret if I don’t make a career change now?
Weigh these questions as you begin planning how you will move forward in your career change in you 40s. It can be done — and you’ll be able to experience a new change and new happiness. But you will need to prepare and to get all the help you can along the way.
Career Change at 40: What Are Your Options?
If you’re in your 40s and you’re considering a career change, the options for you really are endless. It’s all dependent upon the resources you have and the flexibility your lifestyle and income can offer you as you make the transition to a new career. Now, the easiest transitions are those in which you can use marketable skills and transfer them to a new job.
A great template to follow is in Figure A, the example of the EMT. Emergency medical technicians have direct care experience in helping individuals in emergency situations and saving their lives. With their vast medical experience and experience with direct patient care, they are perfect people to make the transition to becoming physician’s assistants.
Now, if you attempt to do something like this in your 40s, it’s much more of an option if you expand your medical career from EMT to PA than it is to switch from accounting to medical school. But you get the picture. You actually can do many careers in your 40s. It’s just easier on you if you pick a career where the skills transfer to the new job more easily.
Google Search for Career Change: Not to be Mistaken with PF Changs Careers
If you’re looking for opportunities and ideas of new jobs in your career field, then doing a simple Google search is a great way to do that. From a sous chef or management position at PF Chang’s to a teaching or nursing job — the opportunities are endless when you are looking for your perfect next job. A Google search can lead to persuasive job descriptions and inventive quizzes about your personality and best job skills.
Start by searching a few key words related to your dream job and see what comes up. Expand that search to other job search websites where actual jobs are posted. If location is an important factor in your job search and career change, then add the city and state to your boolean Google search. For example: “accounting jobs in Los Angeles.” Finding jobs via Google searches takes some patience — and you’ll need to keep mining. But it’s a good place to simply get a start to see what might be out there and what might pique your interest.
Get Your Career Change Resume Ready
One of the first steps after you decide to switch fields is to dress up your resume and give it a new orientation for the job you are going into. For example, if you currently are a writer but you are going into management, then you’ll want to rewrite your resume to reflect the current job rather than your former fields.
One pro tip for resume writing: It’s Okay if your resume is multiple pages long. This is to be expected if you are a person with decades of experience under your belt. People change jobs all the time — so you shouldn’t feel badly about those transitions. Instead, an employer is going to want to see how those jobs fit together to tell an interesting story — and how your jobs have built upon each other to become better and more successful jobs.
So orient your resume in that way. Show your most recent experience first and then order your resume in a descending chronological order. You also should list special expertise or certifications you have in a special section — such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro or web user experience training.
Finish off your resume with a special section on your personal interests and achievements — such as hiking, rappelling or marathoning. Show you are an interesting person outside of work — and you’ll become more fascinating to your potential employer. Considering you’ll spend most of your waking hours at your workplace, your employer is looking for the right fit for the team you’ll be in contact with every day.
A Midlife Career Change is Possible
Don’t think you can’t make a career change in midlife. There are many people over 45 and 50 years old who turn their years of experience into new options. There isn’t a template for this kind of change, so what you can do is simply plan, make the decision, and follow through on your dreams. You can make a career change at any point in life with the right direction and resources.
Changing Careers at 30 and Beyond
Changing careers at 30 may be a little challenging in your 30s — only because at this stage of life you may be reaching stride in your job, you may be married and/or have kids and you may be entering your first real estate venture. Having more time may be something you experience closer to your 50s because that is getting closer to retirement age.
Ultimately, it really depends on the person and their season of life — and if it’s the right time to make a big career change. Some things you should consider as you think about switching careers in your 30s include:
- Do I have a family — and if I do, can I support them sufficiently with a career change?
- What are my other financial responsibilities — car payment, mortgage, credit cards?
- Do I have the income saved to pursue additional education to support my career change?
- Does my career change make sense for this period in my life?
- Are there mentors or professionals who have gone before me that I can ask for advice in making this career change?
By weighing these questions in your 30s ahead of a big career change, you can make a wiser decision and decide if the timing and resources you have allow you to pursue your dreams at this moment. Start making a plan now so that you know what you need to accomplish as you move into this season to navigate it successfully and stay happy in the process. It may take extra work to juggle a new career with all of your responsibilities, but it is possible with the right amount of planning and perseverance to reach your goals.
The right time to change your career? It’s when you are ready to go after your goals and change directions. The answer is different for everyone, but don’t let the obstacles hold you back. It’s not worth it to be unhappy in your one life. If you’ve got the opportunity to make a change so that you will be happier and healthier in your life and for the life of your family — then go for it today!
Whether you are just starting out or in midlife, you can find the right path that will bring you happiness and satisfaction. Follow our expert advice today to explore the jobs of your dreams in 2017. Make a plan, save your resources and dream big!