How To Make A Career Change At 35

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Your mid-thirties is a spectacular stage where many things in life are possible. 

Whereas not too long ago tenure was what people strived for, these days, it’s all about finding purpose. As such, a career change at 35 is an exciting possibility that warrants exploration. 

Interestingly, one study reveals that those who leave school today will have about 17 different employers in their entire lifetime. Correspondingly, today’s older professionals aren’t spending a significant amount of time their counterparts did from four decades ago.  

These numbers factored in, it’s worth mentioning that, while the thought of jumping industries at a later age can be daunting, it isn’t impossible—nor should it even be considered a hindrance.

With a comprehensive blueprint and enough maximized resources, a career change at 35 shouldn’t be terrifying at all!

On the contrary, this shift is one that merits applause. For one, people in their thirties have garnered enough work experience, making them strategic talents in the labor market. Regardless of industry, skill sets and exposure to various business and corporate scenarios already make them bankable team members.

What’s more, individuals in their mid-thirties likely have a firmer grasp of their strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to better strategize where and how they fit in the modern work equation. 

All things considered, here’s a rundown of how to make a career change at 35:

Consider viable career opportunities 

Suppose, you’re as sure as a rock that you want to switch careers. Even then, it’s important to establish a comprehensive game plan before abandoning existing jobs. More than anything, determine what goals and values your career change at 35 demands.

Consider the principles you want to uphold and the kind of work culture you want to be a part of. Furthermore, remember that progression may take a while, and seniority in a new workplace may look different for you. 

From pay cuts from your current salary to lower job titles, adjusting to new industries and environments may potentially be overwhelming. Still, this shouldn’t strike you as something negative but as a necessary experience to fully enjoy the career shift. 

In a Forbes article, corporate leader Philippe Gaud writes that rejoining the workforce in a completely different segment when you’re much, much older allows you to remember your value in the “wider world.” 

He says, “If you work in one place for any length of time there is always the risk of becoming ‘institutionalized;’ of coming to believe that you only have real value in your current organization. Stepping outside that company can be frightening at first, but it can also help to boost your self-confidence in the medium and long-term by showing your real, overall worth.”

That said, the decision to re-emerge in the labor force as a rebranded talent is best braved with a smart strategy. 

middle age career woman looking at files

Bank on your skill sets and be open to more growth 

A career change at 35 means experience elsewhere, and that’s a package you have going for you. In other words, it’s only fair to say that you’ve lived through exposure that’s allowed you to become the professional you are today.

Additionally, the skills you’ve honed in previous years already mean that you have skills that are bound to be valuable in your new workplace. In a CNN feature, writer Millie Dent says, professionals who thrive with soft skills make for them outstanding candidates and a “good cultural fit” for any organization. That said, 35-year-old career-switchers are more likely to have mastered a great extent of soft skills, be they problem-solving, people management, or what-have-you in between. 

To add, identifying your biggest strengths and acknowledging what you can better also allows you to study what in-demand skills are necessary for the business space you want to enter.

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There’s no substitute for learning 

You can be the president of a billion-dollar company, and already we can tell you upfront that there will always be new things to study and new skills to master. 

In today’s labor market, over are the days when the only qualifier for promotions and enviable job titles is tertiary education. According to Harvard Business School, experts encourage applicants to go for jobs they wish to bag when they meet at least 80% to 90% of a job description. 

As a result, more people are learning to go for opportunities they feel they can take on despite not consistently meeting every listed characteristic or metric. 

Fortunately, you don’t always have to go back to university to obtain a certificate or pick up a few cool marketing tricks. These days, online learning platforms come in exponentially handy in helping learners bridge skill gaps. 

Up-skilling factored in, take every opportunity to grow and learn. Read relevant books, find mentors you can rely on, and listen to podcasts that help expand your horizon. 

The internet is a beautiful place to source new information, and the best thing is: everything’s online now. All that’s left is to keep searching and absorbing.

Middle aged woman working in office

Make use of your existing networks 

One of the many things that make a career change at 35 a feasible experience is the extent of network you’ve leveraged through the years. Rummage through your pockets and collect the calling cards you’ve maybe ignored. 

Regardless of the industry you used to belong to, there’s a 50-50 chance you already have a contact in the new career path you’re set to take. Don’t shy away from letting them know what roles you’re interested in taking and what jobs you’d be up for. 

In an article for CNBC, author Julia Freeland Fisher says that “Networks unlock valuable advice, insights, and influence that can either exacerbate existing social strata, or be powerful levers for equity and opportunity.”

And we couldn’t agree more. Look up people you admire in the industry and find out if you have circles you can tap to get to them. You might be surprised how much easier your transition could be with the help of a good friend.

It’s always just the beginning if you allow it to be

Overall, remember that you have complete control over the choices you make and the opportunities you work hard to snag. 

A career change at 35 sounds intimidating, but with a whole lot of determination, help from reliable peers, a sound career plan, and stellar digital solutions, this experience can be the beginning of even bigger, better, and greater things for you. 

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