When you were a kid grownups always asked you "what do you want to be when you grow up?" Now may be the time to ask yourself "is this what I really wanted to when I grow up?" Your first career may have been chosen by necessity or availability. The beauty of a second career is that now now you have the leisure to do what you really want to do and prepare yourself to do it in the way you want to.
Here are 7 steps you can take to get from here to there.
Assessments. Both informal and formal evaluations can help you identify the general type of job that will make you happy. Informal evaluations are a way of looking back over your career and leisure activities and identifying those that you did well and most enjoyed doing. There is a wide variety of formal evaluations which can help you pinpoint your work style and give you clues about the type of job that would make you happy (working with people, with facts, leading a team, perfecting a process, etc.).
Internet Research. What you have identified your interests and work style, now is the time to go to the Internet and check what you can find out about careers that you think are good possibilities. There are even some websites where you can arrange to "shadow" someone in that position for a few days.
Target possibilities and craft your questions. Once you have narrowed your options down to one to three possibilities, spend some time thinking about the questions you want to ask when you talk to people already in that field. The better your questions are, the better the quality of your research. Go in to talk to people totally prepared.
Network to find and meet people already in that role. Contact the people you know, in all of your networks, and ask them if they know anyone who is doing now what you would like to be doing. You want an introduction and an opportunity to find out from them what their job is really like.
Identify your transferable skills and / or training or credentials needed. Look at your background with the information gained by talking to the person in your new field. Check out if there are specific credentials that are required in you new field and what you need to do to acquire them.
Get to know the community – organizations and hanging out. Getting to know the community can range from getting involved in the professional organizations that are important in your new field to hanging out at a deli in a building where a number of your targets are located.
Create your marketing plan and make your move. Your marketing plan is a description of the role you want to play and a list of organizations in which you would like to play it. You will find sharing this will send your referrals through the roof.