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What makes you tick? Embracing the concept of a career change at 30


Common reasons for a change of career

With an increase in redundancies in recent years, work and life stress on the up and an overwhelming need to find a more fulfilling career; more and more people are finding themselves in career mire. Feelings of being trapped creep in, especially when hitting the ‘grand old age’ of 30. This is the point in which you’re really supposed to have found what it is you’re looking for, be settled, happy, be on the road to a healthy work-life balance and be doing something every day that you really love. Isn’t it!? So, getting left with thoughts of a crushing desperation that you’re never going to find the career you’re supposed to be doing leaves us thinking, ok, now is time for a career change. Sound about right? With this in mind, here is some ‘coach’ yourself tips and advice to get you on the right career track:

Preparing for a career change in your 30’s

Stop the job hunting – this may sound like strange advice to be handing out, considering the overall message. However, spending time incessantly searching the job market will actually stop you from dealing with the one thing that’s going to get you to your dream career. This means you’re desperately trying to fit a job role to your current skills and experience which can really narrow down or hinder the search for your true calling. Instead, start by working introspectively. Research your own motivations, skills, strengths and other attributes first. Create some lists with the above pointers as your headings. These will help you decide what makes you tick; therefore you can start to match career to you, not the other way around.

Explore your values – values are the rules in which you run your personal and professional life and research shows up that successful, happy, fulfilled people really know and understand their core beliefs and values. So, in order to start understanding yourself better, select the top 10 values that best reflect how you run your personal and professional life. For example, if your top values were about fun and adventure; it’s unlikely you’ll find these characteristics in a corporate career. This is an insightful exercise to yourself and will really help you in getting to grips with what career and accompanying life-style will work for you best.

Mind Mapping – No holds-barred with this exercise! Mind Maps are a great way of brain dumping and letting you run a little wild with your imagination. So, have fun with it: wave a magic wand, think back to your childhood, dream about your future – what career would you have loved/would love to do? Place the word ‘career’ or ‘dream job’ in the centre of a piece of paper and write down any words that spring to mind. Section the different ideas and from these words develop ideas, explore and think broadly about everything to do with that original thought. You’d be surprised once you put pen to paper just what your brain comes up with.

Overall, give yourself plenty of time and space to really explore what makes you tick. A few more weeks of your current career are not going to harm you, so set yourself a deadline a few weeks into the future to complete the 3 tasks given and see what you come up with. Treat yourself to a lovely notebook or journal and jot down all your ideas and thoughts into one space.

Transferable skills

When it comes to our transferrable skills we can often see ourselves with not a lot to offer. STOP. You have loads of skills, experience and strengths that can be used in a wide variety of industries and roles; you’ve picked all these up in your 20’s.
A great exercise here (see how this is all about taking action!?) is to write about tasks or projects that you have been involved in, in the past, that have been hugely enjoyable for you. Here’s how it’s done; break each ‘story’ down into 5 sections.

1) Firstly write down a title for your story.

2) The goal – what were you aiming to achieve?

3) What was the hurdle, constraint or obstacle

4) Describe step by step how you completed this task

5) What was the outcome or result

(Why not document and share the result of your projects in the journal of achievements?)

Once you have a good handful of ‘stories’ – up to seven, you will really start to understand your skills, strengths, likes and importantly transferrable skills a whole lot better. Do the stories point to a more people focussed person – managing teams or leading people, are you entrepreneurial? Are you happier when working mentally; problem solving, working with numbers, researching, and compiling data for example? Or do your stories point to a more physically inclined you: working outdoors exercising, constructing, maintaining, tending etc?

Overall, the message here is to allow yourself time and space to really explore what makes you tick. Embrace career change at 30; it’s a great time for you to be finding your dream career. Make it Happen; what are you waiting for?

If you’ve been motived to embrace a career change, visit the New Job ebook and put your plans into action.


Clare Whalley

Clare has been running her coaching and training business working as a Life and Business Coach since 2007. Prior to that she was an unhappy, stressed out, unfulfilled manager in BT. Successfully resigning and retraining to follow her dreams and 8 years in she now works with career changers and business owners to identify their dream career and business and Make it Happen! With an NLP practitioner's qualification and an ILM Level 5 in Coaching and Mentoring she uses N.L.P (Neuro-linguistic Programming) and a wide variety of coaching techniques to help others achieve a more fun and profitable life.


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