Now that you’ve climbed the career ladder a bit you may wonder what’s next. This time in your career can be very satisfying if you’ve reached the goals you set for yourself, but it can also be just as frustrating if you’re not quite where you thought you’d be. Don’t fret. Even if you’re not where you want to be, you’ve gained valuable experience that can give you a much-needed edge when it comes down to you and a less-experienced worker. Be grateful for what you have accomplished so far.
“Experience is a definite asset in many cost-conscious companies that have cut or eliminated training programs altogether. In those companies, management needs to fill positions with individuals who can use past job experience to climb the learning curve quickly and who can work efficiently with a minimum of supervision. Guess who fits the bill,” said James E. Challenger in The Challenger Guide: Job-Hunting Success for Mid-Career Professionals.
Take a look at this mid-career checklist so that you can get back on track.
1. Take inventory
Evaluate your progress. Are you where you want to be at this point in your career? Do you like your job? If the answer is ‘no,’ to one or both of those questions, you have some work to do. Take some time one day after work or over the weekend to think about where you want your career to go. Write down your short- and long-term career goals.
2. Freshen up your skills
Never stop learning. Just because you’ve been with your employer for a few years and you know your job inside out doesn’t mean you don’t have anything else to add to your skill set. Stretch yourself by taking a few job-related courses online or at a local college. It never hurts to pick up a new skill. You may even learn enough to help spearhead a big project or get promoted. Don’t get too comfortable in your current role. There is always something new to learn.
3. Update up your résumé
The résumé you used to get your first few jobs out of college won’t work now. You’ll need to update the language, add new skills, and possibly remove very old or irrelevant jobs. Make an appointment with a career coach or visit your alma mater’s career center for help. When it comes to your résumé, you’ll need an objective opinion. Now is the time to get an honest evaluation — your career could depend on it.
“Don’t be caught unaware when faced with a layoff or downsizing or when the opportunity for promotion arises. Have a master résumé ready that can be tailored for specific job postings,” said career coach Martin Yate.
4. Revamp your wardrobe
Just like your résumé, your work attire must be revamped as your career advances. The good news is you don’t have to spend a lot of money on new threads. Plenty of online retailers offer work clothes that are both stylish and affordable.
5. Think carefully about a major mid-career job change
If you’re thinking of switching to a completely different industry than the one you are currently in, make sure you have a plan of attack. It will take time, money, and connections to reach your final destination. Career changes should not be taken lightly and require a lot of planning.
“…Figure out the answers to some basic financial questions: How much money do you need to live on annually? Do you feel this annual cost will change in the years ahead? Are there ways you can survive if you make x percent less money than you’re making now?” said Marcia L. Worthing and Charles A. Buck in Escape the Mid-Career Doldrums: What to Do Next When You’re Bored, Burned Out, Retired or Fired.