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Changing Career: Finding A New Path Later In Life

Published: Friday 28th February 2020

Are jobs for life no longer the dream? Quite possibly. In a survey commissioned by the Department for Education, 53% of respondents said they would change their current career if they felt they could. Seeking a better work/life balance is a common motivator, but increasingly, people are also looking for a career where they can make a difference. If you’ve been working for a number of years, you may now be in a position to consider a later life career change — perhaps for something more fulfilling or flexible, or even the passion project you’ve always dreamed of trying.

Coffee Mug with the stamp "Begin", on wooden table with chairs in the background. Career change concept

What would you like to change in your career?

If you’re thinking about a fresh start, it’s worth examining the reasons why. A recent poll from Investors in People found that three quarters of British employees feel stressed about work. If that sounds familiar to you, change is clearly important, but it’s worth establishing what needs to change. Is it the industry you’re in, the company, or the role? Sometimes changing jobs rather than career can deliver the results you need. Perhaps you need to revisit your hours, salary or flexibility from your employer, all of which may be possible with discussion —especially if you’re a long-term, valued member of staff. Or, perhaps you’re ready to take a leap and try something you’ve always dreamed of.

two sign posts showing old life and new life pointing in opposite directions. Nature and trees background

Do your homework

Before making any significant change, it’s important to establish your current status and future goals. Do you still have a mortgage that needs to be paid, or dependants who rely on your income? The average British household has around £2,500 in credit card debt alone, so calculate your financial commitments first so that you can establish what you need to earn.

You should also consider your time commitments. Do you have elderly parents to care for, or a hobby you would finally like to devote some time to? Travel is also a factor — can you drive easily to work or do you need to look at public transport? If possible, arrange some work experience or speak to contacts who are familiar with the field you are moving into; it will reassure you that the move is right for you, as well as encouraging future employers that you are well prepared.

Woman doing research, taking notes with a pen on her notebook, job searching on her laptop,

The good news for employers

While making a later life career change may feel as daunting as it is exciting, you can feel confident that potential employers can gain a lot from your move too. Older employees can bring a wealth of transferable skills and life experience to bear, as well as patience and a calm head. Brush up your CV and highlight these skills and experiences. Voluntary roles such as school governance or charity work all count, too.

Making a career change later in life can be a hugely rewarding experience. Having had the time to establish yourself professionally and personally, this is an opportunity to reflect and choose something that works for you at this stage of life. Establish what exactly you are seeking to change, do your homework on the practicalities, but don’t be afraid to carve out time for yourself and others if you need it. This chapter of your career can be as positive and productive as you make it.

Author Bio: Jane Sandwood, Freelance Writer 

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