There are so many reasons why you may need to reinvent your career. Maybe you’re looking to reenter the workforce after staying home raising your kids. Or you might have lost your job after twenty years with the same company. Or perhaps the thought of going into your job just one more day makes you want to do a Jerry Maguire. No matter what your age or motivation, it’s not as impossible as it may seem to reinvent your career. Here’s how.
Decide what you want to do. Now more than ever is the time to really, truly figure out what you’d like to do in your professional life. Just because you’ve toiled away as an ad exec doesn’t mean that you’ll continue on that career path until retirement. If you’re clueless as to what the next phase in your career will be, simply look to your hobbies. Discover what gives you joy in life, then determine a way to find work in that field.
Establish a timeframe. Once you decide which direction you want to take your career in, you’ll want to get there — now. But you’ll need to take the time as you carefully lay down the foundation for your career. Do some research to learn of potential jobs in your area of interest and to also get an idea of how long it might take before you can start working in your new profession. Depending on where you are in life, you may need to find a remote job or one that offers flex. So be sure to look for these job characteristics when job hunting.
Get guidance. If you’re lucky, you’ll already know people who can help you as you begin your new career. If all of your contacts are from your former industry, you’ll need to find a potential mentor for your new career. A great way to gain new connections is to request informational interviews with companies that align with your new career goals. Not only will you get an in-depth look into this potential job field, but you’ll also get to meet industry heavy-hitters who, if you form a connection with, can possibly mentor you along the way.
Build new skills. It may seem impossible to marry your old professional life with your new one, but there’s a great chance that you already possess some of the skills you’ll need in order to make your new career a smashing success. So take a look at your previous work experience and write down all of the skills you’ve utilized in those jobs. Then assess the skills you’ll need in order to get work in your new career. Redesign your resume to highlight those skills, and see if you can take a class or attend webinars in order to build skills that can help you moving forward.
Be flexible. Starting out in a new field may mean that you’ll start out in a lower position than you’ve previously held. It may also equal taking a financial hit by earning a lower salary than you’re used to. Just keep in mind that these are all just mere milestones as you work towards gaining footing in your new career — and a happier, healthier work life balance.
Reinvention at any age can be scary but it can also be an exciting time as you challenge yourself to find a position — and a career — that you truly love.