How to Make a Career Change after 40

Are you fed up in your current job? Perhaps feeling undervalued or overworked? If that sounds like you, perhaps you need a career change.

This is a big step, but there is no reason why you cannot make a career change after 30. Changing careers is not just going from one industry to another but it can be moving from one specialty in your industry to another specialty. I remember when I did it after working in one sector of my industry for over 15 year and decided it was time for a change. It was hard and took a while but after following some of these steps it worked.

Do You Really Want to Change Careers?

When you first decide to change careers, you will likely have to start from the bottom rung of the ladder, with a drop-in pay. Are you willing and financially able to deal with these changes?

Ask yourself these questions before you take the plunge:

  • What do you hate about your current job?
  • What attracts you to another job?
  • Do you enjoy anything about your current job?
  • What led you to your current career?

Once you answer these questions, you’ll get a better idea of what skills you have, plus what skills you need to pursue your dream job.

Tips to Help Change Careers:

  1. Look at your professional and personal networks. You heard the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who”, well nothing has changed. Talk with someone already in your desired field of work. This may not be possible by talking to your colleagues. However, your friends may know someone that they could introduce to you. Once you meet, you can ask them what the job is actually like and if they have any leads to keep you in mind.
  2. Do your research. You may think that starting a new career will require a second degree, which will take time and investment to achieve. However, you may not need one in reality, as many hiring managers will value experience and your skills more highly. So, take the time to do your research and brag about your skills!
  3. Work on any missing skills. What skills do you need for this new career path? If you need to develop certain skills, you could try an online course or perhaps some skill-based volunteering, where you can work on your skills in a voluntary position while building your skill set and resume. LinkedIn Learning provides so many helpful courses to help you with your transition.
  4. Gain relevant experience. Luckily, we now live in a gig economy, where you can build up experience by working on freelance jobs. Even if you are working pro-bono, you are still building experience and your skills. This will also help you build your clientele and could lead to working full-time for yourself.
  5. Recreate your resume. Just because you’re making a career change doesn’t necessarily mean that your resume will be blank. Look at your past work experience and see if any of the skills you have acquired are relevant for your new career path.
  6. Write a cover letter. When applying for jobs in your new career, let potential employers know your story and why you’ve decided to change careers. Talk in a positive manner and show how passionate you are about this potential role.
  7. Network. If you are new to the industry, your professional network will be small. It is important to expand this network, not only to increase knowledge and exposure, but also to ensure that you hear about any potential job opportunities.

Making a career change after 40 won’t be as easy as making one at 25, but don’t let that put you off. If you are passionate about what you are doing and are willing to work to gain the necessary skills, there is nothing to stop you from changing careers.

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