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How to change careers in your 30s

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay

Whether it’s the dread you feel at work on a Monday morning, a shift in priorities, or the drive to finally pursue that long-held passion – the desire to change careers in your 30s is an all-too common phenomenon. 

Those in this age range, often labelled “millennials”, are known as the “job-hopping” generation; a demographic known for frequently shifting careers in search of new opportunities or experiences. If you’ve ever felt the need for change, you definitely aren’t alone.

While career changes aren’t specific to those in their 30s (in reality, it’s never too late to make a career change), many may also understandably view it as an “ideal” time for transition. 

Below, we explore the reasons why your 30s are often the “best” time for a career change, and the steps you can take to successfully achieve this. 

Why your 30s is the best time to change careers

  1. You've developed new interests.
  2. New industries or opportunities have emerged.
  3. You've built a ton of work experience.
  4. You've expanded your professional network.
  5. You're ready to pursue your passion. 

1. You’ve developed new interests. 

The passions, hobbies, and tastes you held in your twenties are likely a far cry from your current goals and interests. As you grow older and build more experience, it’s common to endure these changes and pivot your career plans as desired. 

Those who’ve stuck to one or two jobs in their twenties may also feel like they’ve spent enough time in their field; having “settled” in their industry, tackled every challenge (that interests them), and are simply trudging through repetitive routines. In such circumstances, it’s easy to feel stunted in your career progression – pushing you to look at your other interests for new, more meaningful work experiences.

2. New industries or opportunities have emerged.    

While not exclusive to those in their 30s, many may choose to change careers later in life due to new career fields or industry roles that arise. The swift evolution of technology frequently spurs new demand for niche skill sets, talents, and experiences; those in their 30s now, for example, may not have even imagined a full-fledged career in social media or cyber security 10-15 years ago. 

With constant changes in the workforce, paired with a waning interest in your current career path – it’s common for professionals to shift their plans towards newer, greener pastures. 

3. You’ve built a ton of work experience.

communication concept

Those who’ve worked throughout their twenties are likely to have built themselves a valuable set of both soft and technical skills. If you’re looking to merely change roles in your field – this deep, experienced knowledge of your industry (along with its newest skills trends and demands) are bound to sharpen your competitive edge.  

However, such work experience can also help when shifting professions altogether. The transferable soft skills you’ve built throughout your career thus far (such as your communication, leadership, and project management abilities) can bolster your chances on the job market – and are typically often desired above technical abilities in certain roles.  

4. You’ve expanded your professional network. 

With hefty work experience typically comes a substantial network of business contacts; and in your 30s, you likely have a good number to guide you in your career endeavours. Fostering positive relationships with those in your network can help open new doors of opportunity – whether it’s a chance to progress or evolve in your current industry; or enter a new one altogether. 

Your professional contacts may also serve as valuable referrals, helping improve your chances of employment when you finally make a change. If they’ve got greater work experience, they may even be able to coach you in your transition.

5. You’re ready to pursue your passion. 

For many looking to change careers in their 30s, their reason may be as simple as finally wanting to pursue a long-held passion. At an age where you’ve already built the experience, contacts, and industry knowledge to make “riskier” career moves; deciding to take the leap in pursuing your personal goals is a common, often worthwhile decision. 

Of course, making the change will involve plenty of goal-setting and financial planning – but is doable with the right skills and drive. Achieving this is also not exclusive to those in their 30s, research has shown that those well over the age of 55 (labelled “seniorpreneurs”) are also among the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in Australia. 

How to decide on a new career path 

Before embarking on a new career path, it’s important to firstly determine and plan out your goals. Are you simply looking to climb the ladder in your current field, or are you looking to enter a whole new industry? Perhaps you’re starting a business of your own? Whatever your motives are, be clear on what you want to achieve.

Secondly, consider your current strengths, weaknesses, technical skills, and business contacts. This can help you determine any skills areas that need improving, training or qualifications that may be required, and whether your current network can help. 

Those looking to progress their career path (or transition to a new one altogether) may benefit from undertaking online courses – a flexible training method that can help boost your chances of employment. 

Can online courses help you with a career change? 

online learning concept

Those seeking to switch careers are typically held back by the notion of returning to school, completing a four-year degree, and spending a hefty amount of time and finances to build the skills they need. 

Achieving can be done in less time (with less expenses) through an online course. 

Through a completely digital delivery of educational resources, these programs can be of massive help to one’s career transition – offering flexible training options across varying qualification levels. Those looking to hone their skills for a new career path, while simultaneously building extra work experience (or continuing with their current job responsibilities in the meantime), will find online courses ideally suited to their schedule. 

How to choose the right online course 

Before signing up to an online course, be sure to have a proper career plan. Knowing your goals, interests, and the skills you wish to build will ensure you undertake the right qualification, helping set you on the proper path to success.

Additionally, ensure you have the proper resources to pursue online training. These include having a stable internet connection, a working laptop or computer, and a quiet, designated study environment. Depending on your education provider, you may be given flexible payment options to suit your financial needs.

Finally, consider your schedule and whether your desired course fits among your current commitments. While online programs are highly flexible and can be tailored around your responsibilities – some may find “short courses” more suited to their current schedule, while others have time to invest in higher-level qualifications, such as diplomas. 

Build the skills you need for a new career today! 

Online courses are a highly accessible, effective resource for those seeking a career change, helping bolster both your technical and soft skills for the job market. 

At Upskilled, we offer a wide range of nationally-recognised qualifications – from “short” courses in marketing and IT to bachelor degrees in business. Each offers an incredibly flexible study experience while thoroughly exploring both the technical and practical aspects of your chosen skills area, helping build your credentials for a successful career change. 

It’s never too late to learn a new skill. Start exploring new or current passions with Upskilled today. 
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