5 Steps to Making a Late Career Change

3 minute read

Late career changes are a common occurrence for many modern workers, but that doesn’t make the transition any easier. Changing your position, workplace or field as an established professional means overcoming a unique collection of challenges.

Before leaping into the charity sector, take a moment to consider what you will have to face during this transition. Chances are, moving across to a completely different industry, will require hard work and dedication.

Fortunately, the charity sector is brimming with global opportunities and can cater for professionals from all walks of life. If you’re ready to make a late career change into this exciting field, check out these key steps you should take.

Why Do You Want to Change?

It’s rare for anyone to wake up in the morning and decide before 7AM that they need a complete career overhaul. While the signs are often there, these can be hard to recognise and understand early on.

Could you tell the difference between a terrible week and a terrible job? The first step is to work out whether your anxiety is in response to a personal or professional conflict. If you’re short on time, try this neat trick.

Take 5 minutes out of your day to write down the source of your stress. Maybe your work isn’t meaningful enough or you just can’t gauge your impact. By the end of each week, you should begin to notice a clear pattern. This will give you a great starting point for what needs to change (and how).

Should You Change Gradually?

Your late career change doesn’t need to go from 0 to 100 in an instant. If you start by taking small steps this could lead to a better outcome in the long-term. Reinventing your career is a big step that requires a significant time and energy.

For some established professionals, gradually working toward a new job offer, at a pace that responds to your living situation, is best. But if you’re ready to close your eyes and make that career shift, be prepared for the changes that tend to happen with all new roles such as getting into the swing of your new responsibilities, time tables, cultural change and more.


Get Yourself In the Know

Adult learning is essential to career development. Give yourself the best chance to succeed in your new role by researching education options. Testing your knowledge in an unfamiliar environment is a great way to ease into a career change.

The charity sector offers any number of departments, from marketing to volunteer management. This means professionals of all ages, backgrounds and experiences are welcome. The modern classroom space is the perfect place to hone your skills and learn the current best practices within a diverse setting.

While you research, take into consideration the type of adult learning courses that are the best fit for your schedule. This could see you enroll in an internal media relations workshop, learn project management online or join a networking community group to enhance your communication skills. Whichever pathway you choose, heading back to the drawing board could be the confidence booster you need.

Network Amongst Your Industry

Sometimes a decline in job satisfaction has less to do with your profession and more to do with the place you work. If you’re considering moving on to a different company, speak with other professionals in a similar role within the charity sector. This will give you an understanding of where the best opportunities are available.

In order to decide which company is the most compatible, take the time to understand their unique workplace culture. Narrow down your search early on so that you aren’t overwhelmed by the prospect. During your interview, promises are often made, but present employees are more likely to give you a realistic opinion.

Networking with other established industry figures has the added bonus of revealing closed-door offers!

Be Confident and Believe In Yourself

There’s a common misconception that you can only ever have the one dream job. This mounting pressure on both young and established professionals can only lead to stunted career growth and high levels of stress.

Remember, you can change your mind and your job as often as you like. For each stage of your life, there’ll be a different dream job to match. If you think the charity sector is the right move for you, give it a go! You never know, in the process, you might just find what you’re looking for.

Starting the new year with a career shift? We want to know how it’s going! Share your experiences with us by commenting below.

Helen Sabell

Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning. She is passionate about adult learning, further education and encouraging professionals to learn project management online.

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