It's never too late to change careers. More and more adults are making a "mid-career" change. You may want to move from an office to the classroom or enter a new area of work that frees you from your current routine.
Before you start a new academic program or begin taking courses, you should make sure your educational goals are aligned with your career goals. Both sets of goals may be in transition — that's OK — as long as you have each working to meet your needs.
Here are some tips to consider as you plan your future:
- Be realistic about your job skills and interests, both now and in the future. Utilize your skills and build upon them in your educational and career pursuits.
- Get educated about job prospects in new fields by doing extensive research. It's much easier now with the web and various tools at your disposal, including online "affinity" groups that will provide you with insights into new career fields.
- Learn what educational programs best meet your career goals as you prepare to make a change. Often it might not be a graduate degree that will get you there.
- Be sure that you are in control of the process. Career counselors, placement companies and search firms can help, but only based upon your needs and objectives. Be sure you are having them help you find the right niche, and they are responding to your needs.
- Before jumping into a new career, find out more about it — what leads to success in the field, what kinds of traits and skills are needed, and current and future job prospects. Talk with friends, neighbors and colleagues in the field, volunteer, and visit trade and professional shows to ensure you are thorough in your search.
- Develop and use a plan to facilitate your career change. Transitions can be challenging and need to be managed carefully throughout.
- Use your existing network of personal and professional contacts, college and university classmates, and other connections in your life to provide you with leads and advice. They can help.
- Finally, once you have determined your career objective and your path for attaining it, go for it.