Need a Career Do Over? Here’s How To Make It Happen at Any Age

As we begin a new season of the podcast this week – Season 11, which is all about making small life changes that will bring about even bigger (positive) impacts –  we’re tackling a topic on Episode 131 this week that I am so excited to expand on here.

The topic? Our lost dreams: How we can reclaim them (no matter how long they’ve been sitting on the back burner), and what we can do to ensure that they don’t fall through the cracks again so that we can finally take the steps we need toward seeing them through once and for all… and so that we can finally find that element of fulfillment that we all crave.

So today, I want to bring the idea of reclaiming our lost dreams into focus even more by taking a peek at what we can do if the concept of reclaiming essentially means that we might need to make a career change.

Because let’s be honest, making the decision to switch careers can be scary! And for so many, it can be the one thing that prevents us from moving forward when it comes to those big dreams we’ve been putting off for so long.

After all, we all have some responsibilities outside of the workplace: bills, making sure our children and loved ones are fed and have everything they need to succeed, and so on. Making the decision to switch gears and go after a lost dream is a serious thing to consider! And I totally get that.

So without further ado, let’s take some of the fear and anxiety out of the idea of making a big career change (especially if a change is what it might take to reclaim YOUR lost dream!) by looking at how we can accomplish a change successfully… at any age.

Ready to jump in?


6 Ways to Make Your Career Change Smoother

(at Any Age!)


1. Identify Your Strengths (What Can You Bring to the Table?) –

Whether you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s, more than likely you have a unique set of skills that you can bring to the table of any job you go out for. And this is a big deal to employers!

When it comes to applying for a new job or changing careers altogether, it’s important that you get a handle on your strengths so that you can figure out how to market yourself accordingly. Which of your existing skills will transfer easily, no matter the shift you’re looking to make?

Consider things like good communication skills, project management skills, problem-solving capabilities, and so on.

No matter what your career shift holds, the skills that you already have (and excel at!) that are similar to those listed above will be valuable, no matter the industry you’re looking to transfer into.

Make sure you have a clear idea of the strengths that you already possess so that you can be sure to highlight them on your resume as you begin to apply for a new job!


2. Say YES to Learning New Skills –

Just as it is important to get a grip on what transferable skills you have under your belt, it’s equally important to identify certain skill sets that you might need to improve upon prior to making a big career change… And this is especially true if you’re combing through the job market after some time away from it.

In short: Keep your skills fresh!

In order to keep up with the hustle and bustle of today’s market, it’s imperative that you remain a viable contender. Consider the steps you might need to take in order to stay current with technology, for example, and don’t be afraid to get trendy!

What are some of the software changes, new trends in the workforce, and other things related to the career you’re looking to get into that you might need to be aware of before getting hired? Take note of those, and don’t be afraid to dive in!


3. Research Your Options (Make a Plan) –

If you’re following a dream that you’ve put on the back burner for far too long, having a new career plan in place will be incredibly beneficial before you start sending out your resume and meeting with potential employers.

Research your next career move: What careers are truly in alignment with the things that you’re most passionate about? What are some of the jobs that you’re most interested in pursuing?

Take note of the requirements that the careers that are in tune with who you are at your core expect of employees… and start taking the steps toward making yourself marketable to those employers.

And if you’re unsure of where to start, don’t be afraid to meet with a career counselor or take a career assessment for some extra help!


4. Take Advantage of the Network You’ve Built –

Over the trajectory of your current career, you’ve probably built up a pretty impressive personal and professional network. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of it!

Take stock of who’s in your network, what industry they’re in, and so on… If you happen to know someone who works in (or is in the slightest proximity to) the industry you’re looking to transfer into, reach out to them and let them know that you’re thinking about making a career shift.

After all, we’ve talked about this before: Who you know can make a huge difference when it comes to landing an interview with the employer of your dreams. Many, many of the most successful businessmen and women, entrepreneurs, and so on got their start by connecting with an individual that they met through their existing network!

And it never hurts to ask for a small favor – an introduction, or a contact name to pass your resume along to – when it comes to reclaiming a lost dream. Give it a try!


5. Rework That Resume –

This one is big, particularly if you’re making a career change later on in your life.

While I certainly don’t recommend that you downplay your years of valuable experience (especially if that experience lends itself to those valuable, transferable skills that employers are looking for), a great thing to keep in mind as you get ready to enter the job market after some time away is to rework your resume.

Consider it as a self-marketing tool, if you will. One thing to understand from the get-go is that those in the position of passing resumes along to the next “level” of hiring for a position will definitely do the math on you when they review your resume.

Don’t let this unravel you or hinder you from moving forward!

Keep in mind that your resume does not need to mirror your autobiography. It doesn’t even need to be on the same playing field, for that matter. Instead, look at your resume as a document that you’re going to use to position yourself for a particular audience.

More likely than not, you’ll be able to paint a great picture about yourself and your capabilities without having to go all the way back to the beginning of your story.

Unless your experience from 20+ years ago is vital to the career you’re looking to transfer into (and the same goes for your college graduation dates!), consider leaving it off.


6. Play the Part –

Let’s face it: the job market is super competitive, no matter what experience you bring to the table and no matter how qualified you might be for the new position you’re applying for.

One way to present yourself as a front-runner for any position you’re looking to transfer into is to keep your appearance as fresh as possible. And this rings true, no matter where you’re at in life!

Consider the career of your dreams and take note of how you might expect an employee in that field to present themselves. Ask yourself: Is a new haircut in order? Should I update my wardrobe to reflect this new phase?

Similar to keeping your skills fresh, maintaining a fresh appearance – one that conveys the idea that you’re ready to hit the ground running if and when the position of your dreams becomes available to you – is another great way to let your future employer know that you’re the right candidate for the job.


Have you undergone a major career shift lately? What are some of the things that you found most helpful as you started applying for a new position? Share your own tips and tricks for finding the job of your dreams in the comments below…

And tune in to Episode 131 this week to learn about my own experience of chasing after a dream I’d been putting off for one of my Somedays, and how taking those first steps toward that dream has made ALL the difference in my career today!


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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton