Starting a second career is often the result of a well-thought-out plan. Other times, the decision is a consequence of work becoming too strenuous, industries disappearing, or just the need to make a 180-degree change. Professional career reinvention is possible--with introspection and advance planning.
- Do a self-assessment. First, identify your values. Do you value independence, structure, creativity, adventure, or a team environment? Is autonomy, security, status, or integrity important to you? Next, consider your interests. What activities do you pursue in your free time? What types of books or movies do you enjoy? What did you like about your last job and what could you live without? What motivates you and why?
- Play to your strengths. Create a thorough list of your strengths. Are you organized, creative, a terrific public speaker, or a born leader? Are you a great teacher, problem solver, or technology whiz? To ensure you are being objective, enlist help from friends, family, and business associates.
- Match them up. After identifying your values, interests, and strengths, brainstorm and research some possible careers. Start with the Career Transitions “Explore Careers” section. Consult those who know you best for career matches you might not have considered.
- Research the requirements. Narrow your search to a few ideas and then determine their requirements. Do you need to brush up on computer skills? Does the job require a special certification? Perhaps a semester at a community college is all you need to move forward.
Re-igniting your career takes courage, self-examination, and exploration, but the effort can lead to an exciting and fulfilling new chapter in your life.