For mid-career switchers, joining a new industry might seem like a “restart” to their careers. It could mean taking on a junior position and a lower salary or reporting to someone younger. But there is more to gain from switching careers than being stuck in a job that you do not enjoy and dread every single day. If you feel stuck at a career crossroads, consider the following steps that might convince you to jumpstart your planning and help you decide your next career move.
1. Take a career quiz or play a game to assess your preference
If you have no idea where or how to begin your career planning, you can start by understanding your values and motivations. To achieve this, you can try taking online personality assessments or career quizzes.
With the help of psychometrics, cutting-edge machine learning models and data analytics, tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator will reveal your personality, career interests and aptitude. These assessments will also recommend career paths that match your personality and offer in-depth insights into jobs you might never have considered.
Playing games might also trigger new ideas for your next career, helping you figure out what you’re interested in, what you’re naturally good at, and the range of roles you could thrive in.
Most of these online assessments are free and provide rather in-depth insight into your personality, and can help kickstart your brainstorming process to discover your potential strengths and preferences.
2. Know your AQ
You’ve heard of IQ and EQ, but do you have a high AQ?
Adversity quotient, or AQ, measures your level of resilience and adaptability. The more flexible and adaptable you are, the more career options you will have. Many employers tend to look for candidates who are creative in finding new solutions that are useful and effective, especially during these challenging times.
You could self-evaluate your level of adaptability too. For example, if you aspire to switch from accounting to advertising, learning to use Adobe may not be the biggest obstacle. Instead, whether you can consistently come up with new ideas and communicate them clearly to your audiences in your future role will be key to whether you’ll thrive in your new career.
By assessing your adaptability and understanding where your gaps are, you’ll be able to scope your career path better and make clearer decisions when navigating your mid-career switch.
3. Think back on your childhood, reclaim your dream job
Do you remember what you were doing for fun as a child? Oftentimes, that’s the truest indication of what gives you the most joy and fulfilment. Try to make a career out of those inclinations and experiences.
If you had enjoyed fixing your broken toys and building train tracks as a kid, you might relish a job in the engineering or project management space. Or if you had spent your childhood unlocking your precocious artistic talents, you may consider a career that will allow you to get in touch with your creative side.
Your childhood interests and pursuits may very well reveal your dream job, so you could try reclaiming and taking charge of them!
4. Consult with a recruiter or career coach
Need an expert opinion on your future career options? With their strategic counsel, specialised recruitment consultants and career coaches can be your guiding lights.
Seeking an outside perspective can be very helpful in determining your next career move. Not only are they unbiased and objective, but they can dispense informed and bespoke career advice.
Working with a career coach will expose you to traineeship and upskilling opportunities, illuminate the career path that you will find fulfilling and open your mind to new possibilities for your future. The good news is that such services are easily accessible.
5. Discuss your career plans with your loved ones
In addition to approaching a third party for advice, consider seeking guidance from people who know you well.
Sometimes, they might understand you better than you do yourself. Not only are they more likely to be cognizant of your passions, strengths and personality, but they may see the solutions to your problems more clearly than you do.
When your career planning process feels too complex, remember to take a deep breath. Sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with the ones around you to borrow their strength and wisdom. Who knows, they might have the connections to help you find what you need.
6. Build connections and find new opportunities
Once you have an idea of the type of career you want to pursue, take the next steps toward landing the role. That might mean going back to school, pursuing training in a new field, or participating in internships or traineeships for a chance to learn on the job.
While you prepare to acquire the skills needed for your new career, take active steps to expand your professional network. To increase your exposure to more opportunities in your chosen industry, establish connections with professionals and thought leaders on business networking sites like LinkedIn. Make good use of these connections to find a mentor that can help guide you as you navigate your career changes.
It’s time to make a change
It’s never too late to give it a try – changing careers at 40 is not uncommon. The most important step is to take the leap of faith. Whatever path you take, remember to be patient with yourself. Career changes will take effort and time, but if you’re changing careers for the right reason, you will feel extremely glad that you’ve made that decision. For all you know, you’ll emerge happier and more confident about who you are or who you can be.
This article is contributed by Randstad Singapore.