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Thursday, 28 July 2011

Midlife career change

Written by Miles Cooper

When you are thinking about a midlife career change, you will understandably want to get it right. After all, you aren't twenty any more and you don't want to choose the wrong career and then have to start all over again.

So, to make sure you get it right first time and make a move to a successful new career, here are three mistakes you simply must not make.

Mistake #1 Procrastination

Putting off the decision to make a career move will leave you feeling dissatisfied and the longer you put it off, the harder it becomes. Now, avoiding procrastination should not be confused with making a rash decision. When you are making a career change, at any age, you need to think very carefully about your choices and how they will impact your lifestyle and the lives of the people you live with. And of course, you will need to assess the financial implications, particularly if any retraining is involved.

But if you allow these challenges to get the better of you, you could end up not making a decision at all and staying in a job you hate for the next twenty or more years. If you are unhappy with your present work situation, now is the time to take action. Do whatever it takes to find the right move. You can discuss your ideas with a careers adviser and read up about careers online.

Mistake #2 Imposing Too Many Limitations on Yourself

One common problem with people who want to start again in midlife, is lack of confidence. If you aren't confident about your ability to break into a new career field, you will place serious limitations on yourself. This means you could end up in a job just as boring as the one you are doing now. So when you are first considering a move, you need to draw up a list of your attributes, that is your skills, abilities, personal qualities and experience. If you find this difficult, Get a friend or a professional career coach or adviser to help you.

Mistake #3 Not Doing Enough Research

One of the major mistakes that people make when contemplating a career change is not doing enough research. There is no excuse for this these days, as anyone who has access to the internet can find information on just about any career with a simple keyword search. If you have a specific career in mind, use that as your search term, for example how to become a secondary school teacher. Otherwise look for something which describes your situation like alternative careers for teachers, or careers in travel and tourism.

Searching for A-Z of Careers should enable you to find a directory of all careers, with a description of the job and the qualifications needed in the country you live in. Look at the career from every angle. Make a list of questions covering anything you are unsure or concerned about and then find someone doing the job . You should be careful not to bombard them with questions. Be respectful of their time and show appreciation and you'll find they are willing to help you as much as they can

If you don't know anyone working in the field, have a look online. There are sites such as Yahoo Answers, where you can ask questions. . There are also plenty of forums related to careers in general or specific jobs, where you should be able to find help. If you are using a forum, be polite and contribute to the forum first. Search to see if your questions have already been answered and if not, ask one at a time and always write a thank you post.

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