How to change careers in your 30s

Few things are as foreign as having a “job for life” in the modern Australian workforce – in fact, statistics show that the average worker has around three new jobs per decade, with an average tenure of 3.3 years (or three years and four months). Based on further calculations, this likely leads to one having five separate careers in their lifetime.

Switching career paths is thus a normal practice, and one that’s never too late to pursue. Whether you’re in your 20’s, 30’s, or even 50’s; making the pivot is possible with the right drive, skills, and connections.

If you find yourself yearning for new challenges, we explore the best steps towards changing your career (from your 30’s and onwards) below.

Determine your passions, strengths, and weaknesses

Before diving into a new industry, it’s important to assess what your current abilities and interests are, along with skills areas that may need improvement. You may also want to consider whether your current role simply needs a few tweaks or modifications – or if you’re seeking an entirely new path altogether.

If it’s the latter, it helps to firstly determine where you wish to take new your new career. Questions to ponder on could include:

  • What are you passionate about? Is there a side hustle you’ve been working on that you can now fully pursue?
  • What is your “dream” job, industry, or company?
  • What activities do you feel the most fulfilled, productive, and motivated by?

Once you’ve pinpointed your new field of pursuit, take the time to examine your current skillsets. Perhaps some of your current knowledge, experience, and skills are transferable to your desired profession. Assessing your strengths and weaknesses can also help you highlight areas for improvement and any new skillsets required for the job market.

Consider further training

Now that you’ve formed yourself a new career plan, it’s time to target the necessary skills you’ll need. Being self-taught can only get you so far – but with a professional education or qualification, you’re bound to draw the eyes of employers.

With a wide (and expanding) range of options available, online courses are now a popular choice among aspiring career changers or professionals. Not only do they offer a flexible mode of study – granting those currently employed with the freedom to train at a time, pace, and place that suits them best; but they also focus on equipping students with the practical, work-ready skills they need to step foot in their chosen industry. They’re an ideal, skills-focused launchpad for anyone entering the job market or looking to advance in their current field.

The Australian Institute of ICT (AIICT), for instance, offers a multitude of IT courses – equipping students with the tech skills to navigate an increasingly digital future. Through the practical training these programs provide, professionals can build the skillsets required to develop their current careers or launch a new one in the IT industry. Best of all, they have the option of pursuing these on their own time, around their existing commitments and work schedule.

Start a side hustle or project

To optimise your professional training, however, regular practice is required. Apply your newfound skills and knowledge to a passion project or a side hustle, allowing you to build your field experience while leveraging your abilities in ways that interest you. Pursuing your own personal projects will also show employers that you’re not only technically certified, but you’ve also got the independent drive, creativity, and initiative to make your own opportunities.

Working on a personal side venture is also flexible way of building your field experience if you’re currently employed in a different industry. This way, when it comes time to make the switch, you can hit the ground running.

Alternatively, you could also put your new skills to practice through an internship or volunteer role. This helps you further your abilities in a professional work setting, allowing you to familiarise yourself with the working culture, expectations, and everyday practices of your industry.

Leverage your network

Changing careers needn’t be a lone venture – perhaps there are colleagues, industry connections, or even loved ones in your current network who can help you out. An advantage in making a mid-career change is the amount of work experience you’ve built thus far; at the age of 30 onwards, you’ve likely fostered a wider network of business contacts than, say, a person just stepping into the workforce.

That said, take the time to sift through your current circle of connections. Is there someone in your desired industry who may be aware of new opportunities? Or perhaps someone who knows valuable contacts in your chosen field?

With 85% of jobs filled through networking, it’s crucial step you can’t afford to skip. Of course, it’s important to approach these people with grace – ensure you take the time reconnect and nurture these relationships before jumping in and asking for favours.

Revamp your resume

Finally, when you’ve built the confidence to navigate the job market, it’s time to beef up that resume.

Give your CV a well-deserved update with all the new qualifications, certifications, and experiences you’ve accumulated during your career change preparation. A key tip is focusing on skills, rather than previous job tasks or experiences, as this allows recruiters to easily link your current abilities to the position they’re looking for. Also known as a “skills-based CV”, these types of resumes primarily highlight your transferable skills and the relevant aspects of your previous roles – placing these front-and-centre, and letting prospective companies know what you’ve got off the bat.

With an upgraded skillset, resume, and plenty of newfound industry experience, you’ll have everything you need to make that career switch – whether you’re in your 30’s or well beyond.

Build the digital skills to “future-proof” your career!

In the wake of COVID-19, the desire for career change has never been more prevalent. Recent reports show record numbers in workers yearning to switch their job, location or overall approach to work, and the pandemic drives us to rethink our current trajectory.

As mentioned, online training courses are a great way to help you relaunch your professional goals. AIICT offers a wide range of nationally-recognised qualifications in tech – including in-demand areas of cloud computing, data science, web development, and cybersecurity – helping you skill up for an ever-digital future, or kickstart a career path in the field.

Best of all, our online delivery allows you to easily tailor your studies around personal needs and schedule.

Expand your horizons with today’s sought-after tech skills, and enquire with us on a course.