The Author of this article, Suman Agarwal is an Image evangelist, author, TEDx speaker and the President of Image Management Professionals Association. She is the co-founder of Image Consulting Business Institute.
Most of us make career decisions early in our 20s. And most of these decisions turn out to be wrong because we didn’t know what we really wanted back then. So, what should we do? Continue down the same road or bring a change that we want to see?
I firmly believe that there’s no defined age to follow your dreams. I worked with Jet Airways for eight years, and honestly, I had no complaints. But that was not all I wanted from my professional life; becoming an entrepreneur was my dream. So, I decided to switch careers. I got trained, buffed my skills, and, soon after, started the first image consulting firm in India, ICBI. And that, so far, has been the best decision of my life. Therefore, I encourage everyone to chase that dream job or become an entrepreneur if they’ve always dreamt of it because it’s never too late.
However, before you set out on a new career path, you must have an action plan. So, I am sharing a few tips that will help you prepare for a wise mid-life career change. Read on.
Establish What You Want – If you decide to change your career without knowing what it is that you love to do, you will probably end up making another wrong decision. So, begin with discovering the area where you can put your skills to best use. Even better if you choose something that you are passionate about.
Don’t worry if you do not have anything particular in mind. If you know where your strengths lie, you can always do your research and choose a role that would be best for you. If needed, you can also consult a career counsellor. If you make an informed decision, you will undoubtedly be able to make a successful career change.
Be Mentally Prepared – As soon as you decide to switch careers or set up a business, you will probably be flooded with advice that may make you feel discouraged. But you should know that career satisfaction is more important than job security and that you will have to make a decision sooner or later. So, prepare yourself mentally for the challenges ahead.
You may be going through a rough career patch now, but things won’t remain the same if you take the leap of faith and work hard to prove to your loved ones that you weren’t wrong after all.
Do Not Skip Training – Despite having some transferrable skills, you may need to get trained to develop all the necessary job skills. So, if required, take a break and take time to train. It will only make the transition smoother for you.
Udemy, LinkedIn, and other similar providers offer certification courses online that not only help you develop necessary skills, but also add credibility to your profile. To improve your portfolio and polish your skills, you can also do volunteer work.
Take a Temporary Job – It’s alright if you can’t get your dream job or start your business right away. Castles aren’t built overnight. So, take a temporary job that is directly or indirectly related to your desired field of work. Here’s how it will help you:
- Your skills will be sharpened.
- Your portfolio will improve significantly.
- You will be able to meet your expenses and won’t have to rely on your family.
- The experience will help you in your future endeavours.
Build a Network – Establishing a network will help you a great deal in finding leads if you’re looking for a job. Similarly, if you’re looking to set up something of your own, you will need people who can help you. So, let everyone know about your aspirations and goals. Ask your friends and their friends if they can refer you for a position or find you the right people who can help you with your business. Do not be shy asking for help; we all need it at some point in our careers.
I hope these tips help you. All the best!