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How to Start a Second Career

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By Barbara Beauregard   |    September 23, 2019   |    7:41 AM

Plan Your Next Career Move for a Fresh Start

People choose second careers for a wide variety of reasons. Some are forced to find a new job in a different industry. Others have grown bored in their current vocation and crave a new and exciting challenge. Then, there are people who have always wanted to try their hand operating their own small business.

Regardless of your own reasons for starting a second career, know that it’s possible to forge a new path for yourself. All it requires is some careful contemplation, a strategic plan and enough courage to start fresh.

Start with your skills and interests

It’s important to find a second career that fits in with your skills and interests, especially if your current job has left you feeling uninspired. The best career changes make you feel more fulfilled than ever before, so spend time thinking about the type of work that inspires you most… and also the type of work you don’t enjoy.

Someone who feels restless working from a computer all day might explore careers like sales, which often require traveling and talking to people. A person who has always loved dogs and animals could research businesses and careers in the pet services industry. The best thing about a second career is that it gives you a chance to look into dream jobs you may have passed on when you were younger.

Do you have any transferable skills to use in your second career?

You may want to do a career 180°, but that doesn’t mean you should forget all about your past accomplishments and experiences. You could have skills that can easily transfer into a new job or business venture.

For example, someone who works in journalism has the research know-how needed for writing-based careers in fields like content marketing and copywriting. 

Learn new skills to support a career change

We live in a technology-driven world, which means the skills you need to succeed are always changing. This is especially true in second careers, where you’ll likely need to acquire new expertise. 

As you think about the next steps in your professional life, build in some time to learn new skills, trends and tools that will support your chosen career switch. Online classes and forums are an excellent way to bolster your education, and there are groups for virtually every industry. If you’ll need certifications or other formal training, make sure you have enough time to study and pass the necessary tests.

Build a strong professional support network

Oftentimes, starting a new career means cultivating a new type of professional network. Attend professional networking groups, both in-person and online (LinkedIn is a great resource for finding online professional groups.) If you’re lucky, you’ll also be able to tap into your existing network while building a new career.

If you’ll be building a business or working for yourself, consider joining a virtual office space. Since these spaces are filled with other professionals, you’ll never be alone as you work. Networking happens organically in shared offices, but you can prepare ahead of time with these 6 tips for networking in a shared space.

No matter what second career you choose, following these steps will ensure a successful transition. 

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