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Managing a Career Change From Early to Middle Adulthood

by Casey Kennedy

Although there are a few employees who will stay in one career field their entire life, most people will go through several career changes during their working lifetime. B. Miller, the author of “Movers and Shakers - Statistics on Young People Who Change Jobs,” states that most people change jobs five to seven times during their life. While there are many reasons for these career changes -- such as a desire for more meaningful work or an increase in family responsibilities, managing a career change from early to middle adulthood does require some thought and planning.

Are you satisfied with the direction of your career?

Assess what you like and dislike about your current job. Research the type of jobs that could allow you to transfer your current skills to a new career, while also allowing you to move away from the parts of your job that you don’t like. As an example, you might find that you like the part of your job that allows you to work with customers but you dislike managing other employees.

Think about what you are actually passionate about. You will often find you are a better fit for a career than involves something you love to do or are passionate about than if you pursue a career in a new field that you know little about and have no interest in learning.

Understand that there is a difference between changing careers and finding a new job. Howard Seidel, a partner with the career management firm Essex Partners, states in a Forbes.com article that while a recruiter can assist you in finding a new job, they typically are less successful in helping you make a career shift. Take this into account when evaluating your career options.

Use social media sites, such as LinkedIn.com or Google+, to network with the business contacts you have made over the years. Many hiring managers now use these types of sites to look for individuals that are referred by other professionals.

Tailor your resume to highlight the skills you have that are transferable into your new career choice. Although you do not have direct experience in your new field, you probably do have experience that is somewhat related. As an example, if you assisted customers by answering service calls for a repair center, you could emphasize that you are people-friendly and experienced in helping people.

Anticipate the changes you will face in your new career and plan strategies to help you cope with them. It is common to have second thoughts once you have started a new career. Remind yourself that there was a learning curve when you started your previous career and you made it through that just fine.

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