With the average individual staying at each of his or her jobs for just 4.4 years, job-hopping is the new norm, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you’ve hop-scotched through a few different jobs in the last decade but are not loving your chosen professional field, you may be considering a career change at 30. Thirty is the perfect time to start a new career: you’ve amassed nearly a decade of valuable, post-college work experience and you may even have master’s degree or MBA to complement this experience.
As a Senior Partner, I’ve helped many individuals make a career leap. I understand that a new career at 30 can be both an exciting and scary prospect, especially if your desired career path is potentially less lucrative or more competitive than your current field. Making the leap to a new career is never easy, but it is doable. Here’s how to get started:
Do some soul searching. If you are considering a career change at 30, start by asking yourself if it’s your career that truly needs a change or simply your current professional situation. Are you ready for a new professional challenge or are you simply fed up with your current boss, frustrated by office politics or sick of your daily commute? Honest answers to these questions may save you from chasing an illusion.
Turn up your networking game. Reach out to your LinkedIn contacts that work for a dream company or hold your dream job. Ask these contacts out to coffee or lunch. A short coffee chat could lead to a valuable mentor in your dream field and open the door to a whole new business network. Even if a company does not have an immediate opening, it’s important to be on their radar. If you do not currently have a strong network in your desired field, tap into your local college alumni network for a mentor.
Be smart about the transition. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, do not leave your current job until you have a new one lined up. As an executive recruiter, I can attest that it’s much harder to get a job if you are not currently employed – especially if your reason for current unemployment is because you simply “didn’t like” your old job.
Build your skill set. If your current job does not offer you the skills that you need for your dream job, volunteer for additional responsibilities, attend industry conferences, sign up for free webinars, and take online courses until you’re up to speed. Not only will you gain valuable skills, but you also will be introduced to a whole new network in your desired field.
Have you recently made a career change at 30? What advice helped you most during the transition process? I welcome your thoughts below.