How to Choose a Second Career


You may have taken the right option for your post-graduation, but if your priorities have changed since then, or you have simply found yourself getting bored with what you are doing, you may have started considering a new career. It is said that you are never too old to learn new skills, but deciding which new skills to learn can be more challenging. Here are some great tips to help you decide on a second career.

Identify Your Goals

Think about what new goals you may have set yourself while you have been working in your current industry and consider how these have changed. Decide what you want your future goals to look like too and match a career choice that will meet these well. If you can recognize what you want from your career, it will be easier for you to decide which path to take.

Assess Your Interests

What are you really interested in doing? It may be that you took on your first career for the money, but now that you are more financially stable, you would prefer to follow your heart with your next career choice and opt for a true vocation rather than a way of paying the bills. Decide what it is that interests you and what factors you want to look for in a new position.

Identify Transferrable Skills

You are likely to have a lot of transferrable skills if you have been working for a while. Consider whether you want a totally new start or if there some aspects of your current position that you would like to continue doing in your new role. This will help you decide your next move. Your transferrable skills may not be immediately obvious, but if you stop to think about it, you probably have more than you think. For example, if you have been an accountant, you might think that is all about numbers. However, you have had to learn computer skills, interact with colleagues, impress clients, work to tight deadlines and possibly supervise others too. Don’t write your skills off; make a list of them all individually and consider where they would fit in your new career and how you could sell yourself on your resume using them.

Research Job Opportunities

Once you have chosen a potential second career, it is important to do your research thoroughly. Look at the opportunities that may exist in your new career once you have qualified and where your career path could take you. It is possible that you will want to make your first move a steppingstone and then specialize later. Make sure you know exactly where your career is going after the first couple of years so that you don’t end up stuck in a rut again.

Talk to the Experts

It may be that you have a fantastic idea for a second career in mind, but don’t give up your existing job until you have spoken to some people in your new profession, and get the inside scope on what the job is like on a day-to-day basis. This is especially true if you are going to follow your heart as your dreams may not meet the reality you have envisaged. Contact people who are already in the role online or face to face to see what they really think and do. It is worth remembering that if they have been in the position for a while, they might be feeling as jaded as you are in your job, so try to talk to as many people as possible to see what the common likes and dislikes of it are.

Voluntary Work

The best way to find out if you would like a position or not is to do it. Don’t give up your day job yet though. Many companies would be keen to offer you some unpaid work experience or let you get a feel for the position and working environment on a voluntary basis. This is a good way to spend any available vacation time from your existing company. Spend some time doing this before you decide if you want to take the plunge.

Study Options

It is unlikely that you will be able to step straight into a new career without updating your qualifications. However, if you choose to study online, you could still retain your old career while you are training for your new one. For example, Elmhurst University offer an accelerated nursing program online that you can complete in as little as 16 months if you already have a bachelor’s degree. Putting a time limit on your studies will help you to stay focused as you know you are not going to have to juggle work and study for too long. This could make the transition easier for you to manage.

Plan Your Budget

It is going to be important for you to plan your budget around your potential second career. It may be that you have to take a pay cut as you will be starting out again, but with some careful planning, this should not be too daunting. If you are planning your strategy for the future and know that you won’t be able to leave your present position for a year or so due to study requirements or other issues, spend that time saving some money so you will have some money to pay the bills with when the time comes.

Support Network

Enlist the support of your friends and family if you are going to embark on a second career. This will make life a lot easier if you have other commitments, such as picking the kids up, when you need to work or study. Life may become less manic once you have settled down into your new position but having some outside help to get there will be invaluable.

Follow these tips if you are considering a second career to ensure you are making the right decision and to make the transition as smooth as possible.

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