With the year coming to an end, lots of us are reflecting on the things we want to change heading into 2023.

Perhaps you want to get on the property ladder, end a relationship that’s no longer making you happy, or even distance yourself from certain friends?

A new job might even be at the top of your list – and not only that, but maybe you’re considering a new career entirely?

Such a drastic overhaul can sound scary and will lead to significant change in your life – so it’s only natural to be debating whether it’s right for you. And if you’re older, and further into your professional career, you might be wondering whether the boat has already sailed.

If you’re thinking the latter, experts say it’s important not to limit yourself – no matter what your age.

‘Gone are the days of the linear career path where we have a handful of jobs that see us through our entire careers,’ explains Stuart Lewis, the chief executive of Rest Less.

‘Today’s career paths are much more winding and varied – through choice at times and necessity at others – which means that changing career paths at any age has become much more common than ever before.’

This is something backed-up by Victoria Tomlinson, the chief executive at Next-Up.

She says: ‘I cannot stress enough, you are never too old to change careers. The only limitation is mindset.

‘To succeed, you need to make sure you get the right qualifications, be steeped in this new career and use your experience to add value to how you see the job.’

Likewise, Janine Blacksley – the director of Walters People – adds that while changing careers isn’t age dependent, it does demand a level of dedication and thought.

She suggests a few things to keep in mind – whether you’re thinking of changing careers in your 20s or 50s.

For a career move in your earlier years

Focus on career ‘advancement’ 

Janine says, in your 20s, it’s a good idea to think about career ‘advancement’, rather than career choice. 

She explains: ‘By this I mean gaining work experience in general will go a long way to building your aptitude and soft skills.

‘Giving you a solid base to begin thinking about what career suits your style of working.’

Bask in your flexibility 

‘Without the pressure of dependents or bills you are freer to pursue anything you are willing to put your mind and time to,’ she adds.

‘During this time consider side hustles or interning at a few places in order to get to know yourself.’

For switching it up later in life

Stay on the lookout

If you’re thinking about making a career change later in life, always remain open-minded and continue to network. 

Janine says: ‘New doors are opening all the time and, just because you think you have your career path set-out to a tee, if a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came to you in your 40s why would you turn this down?’

Skills, skills, skills

‘Senior workers have one big advantage here – with more seasoned skillsets comes more chance to transfer those skills into a different career,’ Janine says.

‘Consider, for example, a management accountant with numerous years working in commercial businesses has the right footing to break into entrepreneurialism and start their own small business.’

Recognise your passions – and run with them 

This could be cooking, knitting or even customer service, explains Janine.

She adds: ‘Career changes later in life should be based within something you’re passionate about, if you are going to make such a drastic change.’

When it is not the right time?

Is age a factor? 

Janine also stresses that professions that require a significant upfront investment – such as medicine and law (which require years of study) – may not be suitable if you plan to retire within a few years. 

‘You have to weigh up the financial investment you’ll put in vs what you may get back in such a short space of time,’ she says.

Be realistic  

When opting to change careers you should assess not only your capabilities but also your expectations.

She adds: ‘You should be aiming for positions that play to your strengths and can provide you with what you think has been lacking in your work-life thus far.’

Three things to consider when making a career move:

Janine suggests the following things – no matter what age:

  • Have a direction, and know how to get there. When you do choose a new career, carve out a path and come armed with a plan of action detailing how to get there.
  • Don’t be afraid of a little rebrand. This is where those transferable skills come in to their own. You never have to change who you are for a job, however tweaking your CV to suit a specific field can be helpful in appealing to a brand new set of hiring managers.
  • Do your research. Whether you’re choosing a career based upon an existing passion or not it is very important to make sure you’re clued up on every aspect of the position you’re going for – you don’t want to be caught off-guard by any details of the position you didn’t expect. So read up and keep informed on both the career and current events of the field you are looking to advance into.

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