Is It Possible To Make A Career Change At 40
Youve probably grown a lot since your first job personally and professionally. You learned how to speak up in meetings, work constructively with difficult team members, keep productive with self-talk, and reinvent yourself time and time again.
With all of this under your belt, it makes sense that you might consider a career change. You have different needs now than before and different interests. You also know more about the possibilities. Your job might no longer be the right fit.
Yes, it is possible to start a new career at 40 or 50, or 60, for that matter. It might take some extra effort, but its never too late to set new personal and professional goals and live a life that feels meaningful.
BetterUp can help you find the best way forward. With support you can review your values, skills, accomplishments, and certifications and also frustrations to find the right career for your life situation now.
Define Your Career Goals And Values
Have your career goals or values changed in recent times? If so, then now may be the time to define your career goals.
Firstly, reflect on the past year and what youve achieved professionally during that time. What new interests have you discovered that youd like to adopt in a new role?
Know your values and whats important to you in your life. Maybe these have changed with time? If so, then figure out ways of aligning your goals with your values to determine your next move.
Explore Other Educational Options
Although many careers in information technology don’t require you to go back to college, a few of them might. If this is the case with your desired career, you may want to find the right option for yourself at a university. More and more reputable schools offer online classes, and these can be a more flexible option, particularly if you’re not ready to quit your current job.
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Focus Your Job Search
Now that you know youre ready to change careersand youre ready to follow your gutits time to start a job search. But you dont want to apply to any ol job in your new chosen field, or you could end up back where you startedunhappy and looking for yet another change. So, when you launch your job search, be clear on what you want, why you want it and what qualifies you, even if this is a brand-new field for you, advises career coachand author of The Wall Street Professionals Survival Guide Roy Cohen. Because, without clarity from the very start, virtually every stage that follows will be based on little more than a hunchand that is an extremely fragile foundation for navigating a dynamic job search.
Cohen says your job search should include some form of self-assessment. It could involve taking a standardized assessment instrument, keeping a journal, or talking with people whose advice and feedback you valuefriends, family, or a career coach, he says. The goal is to achieve self-awareness in the form of a career target. After that, the nextand equally important stepis a reality check, Cohen says. Here is where you determine that the goal you selected makes sense. Is it appropriate for you and is it attainable?
Consider Going Back To School
If you need additional education to pursue a new career, consider night or online classes to complete a degree program or certification. You can also attend local seminars, workshops or webinars if you’re looking to earn skills in a certain area. Another option is to attend a professional development conference with keynote speakers and interactive courses to improve your knowledge of industry topics.
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Identify The Right Career For You
You’ve got your reasons for change, but now you need to find an occupation that fits in with your values, skill-set, and ambitions. This is often the most difficult part, and it can take time before you truly discover the job-type that speaks to you, so it’s okay to pace yourself, here.
You may already have some ideas, but it’s good to go back to the drawing board and check if there’s anything out there that you haven’t considered. A good place to start for an overall search, is a career test.
You should take a career test with a pinch of salt, and it’s worth doing a few different ones, to see if different results appear. The purpose here is to get an idea of where your skills are best suited, and to prompt self-reflection on what you think is a good match. Below are some tests that you can try for free:
- What Career is Right For Me: Career Aptitude Test for a rank-based test based on skills, values, interests, and style.
- 123Test Career Aptitude Test for agree and disagree statements based on your preferences.
- Truity for various free career tests.
Youre Only There For The Money
Money cant buy me love, the Beatles famously once sang. And its the same when youre hearts not in your job.
Having enough money to live on and to be content is very important, but earning lots of money in a job that sacrifices your own happiness is not worth the pay-off. Having a career where you feel like you are following your calling and that brings personal and professional satisfaction beats all that money hands down.
Material things will never make up for hating your job, because even with those beautiful, designer shoes, youll still be walking to the same office every day.
- You tell yourself youll only stay until the January bonus
- You buy yourself nice things to make up for the pain of having a job you hate
- Youre envious of friends with less well paid jobs but who have job satisfaction
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You Still Have Plenty Of Time
Assuming you plan to retire at 67 years old , you still have plenty of time to save money and develop yourself in a new career. You may have even more time: According to recent analysis of US workers, 55% plan to continue to work in retirement. Changing careers might also come with a pay raise and a 401k employer match program.
Health And Social Care
Providing care and support for people with physical and mental health care needs can be extremely rewarding on a personal level, providing empathetic individuals with an opportunity to really make a difference to vulnerable peoples lives. The health and social care sector are always in need of additional support, and there are plenty of roles within these fields that do not require high-level medical expertise. Community-based roles are also available, offering a great degree of flexibility for those seeking it.
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You Know What You Dont Want
A midlife career change is usually a choice rather than a necessity. Its brought about by a desire to do something new or the drive to find a role that is more fulfilling and less stressful.
The desire to change career usually begins around the age of 30. Perhaps that gleaming job you worked so hard for all through your 20s has lost its gloss or maybe your priorities have changed. Lets face it, weve all been there that brilliant career turns out not to be so wonderful after all.
But this isnt as bad as you think.
In fact, it can help you figure out whats really driving this career change so you make the right choice about what to do next.
On the plus side, a midlife career change may become more realistic as you reach the ages of 40, 50 and 60 as the pressure on your personal finances is lifted. Perhaps the mortgage or other loans have been paid off. Maybe the kids have got through Uni and maybe youve finally got some decent savings in the bank.
The good news?
It means youre now in a position to pursue a new career one that is aligned with your personal interests and values.
Mention New Skills That Complement Your New Career
Have you acquired new skills to prepare for your career change? Maybe you have completed online courses, done further study to gain new knowledge, or attended conferences to get a true feel for your new field? If this is the case, make sure you draw attention to your efforts in your cover letter.
Some career changes will necessitate new qualifications, skills, or even certifications. For example, if you are transitioning from digital marketing to web development, you will need to learn programming languages. Mention any courses or additional learning youve taken up.
On the other hand, many career changes dont require brand new qualifications at all and may only necessitate a little bit of extra learning on your behalf. For example, if youre a teacher transitioning to a curriculum development roleyou already have the teaching qualifications. You just need to flex a different muscle i.e. curriculum development. In this case, keep your cover letter focused on your transferable skills.
Examples of new skills
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Whats Holding You Back From Making A Career Change
There is a flood of amazing reasons to get a new career at 40. Heck, you could argue the benefits of making a career change at any age. However, there is something a little different about making a career change at 40.
When you are 40, you probably have lots of responsibilities that come into the decision-making process. What do I mean by responsibilities, you ask?
Responsibilities tend to be our fears and self-doubt wrapped in a bow of logic and reason. You may say to yourself:
I have bills to pay and a family to support. Can I afford the risk associated with a career change?
What about the friends I have made over the years? I cannot just abandon them.
What if I do not like my career change as much as I thought I would? I could end up miserable and stuck in a worse situation.
My new career is so different than what I have been doing, I need additional training and certifications. Can I afford this additional expense and do I have the time to recoup my investment?
The economy is not the best and there is so much uncertainty surrounding a new career. Maybe it would be better to wait until I retire from this company in 15 years, and then I can start something new.
If you have experienced any of these thoughts, they will only pacify you for a short period of time. Whether that time is a few weeks, a few months, or even a few years.
Since you know that you prefer to do something else for a living, you start to feel stagnant in your current position.
Transition With An In
Theres nothing wrong with having huge ambitions but remember: nothing happens instantly. Lifes a journey, and you need to take calculated steps if you truly want to find a meaningful career.
Once youve carried out a self-assessment, youll then have a clearer picture of your ideal destination. Then, you can determine the steps you need to take to get yourself there, including the intermediate positions you could take on before you get yourself to that point.
Reaching your ultimate goal doesnt happen overnight you need to take the right steps to get there. You have to develop skillsets and experiences that are going to more closely relate to the career you want to get into before you can actually get into that position. You must also be willing to embrace any challenges that come your way in order to find a meaningful and fulfilling career.
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Your Friends Dont Recognise You Anymore
When close friends or family are noticing a marked difference in your attitude or behaviour, that youre constantly stressed, unhappy and complaining, this can be a sign that your career is not working out for you.
They remember you when you were passionate, creative and inspired to go out and achieve and they dont recognise this person who turns up late for a beer after work with bags under their eyes and stories of a nightmare boss.
If the people closest to you can see that your job is taking its toll on you and not making you happy, its time to take stock and start thinking about the person they used to know and how you can get back to being that person. If that means ditching the job, ditch it.
- You have less time for family and friends and when you do youre stressed and unhappy
- You dont have the time or energy for the things that used to make you happy
Getting Started With Career Change: Your Top Questions Answered
By Angela Chen
Were seeing more people re-evaluate their current roles, hoping to swap them for something more fulfilling. The potential benefits of changing careers are plentiful, including increased job satisfaction and higher wages. Despite this, changing careers can be daunting and bring feelings of overwhelm and uncertainty about where to begin.
Our career coach, Sim Khandaker, is answering your questions to help you create a plan for success that aligns with your passion and purpose.
Q: I want to change careers, but Im unsure what path to take. How do I figure this out?
A: Start by asking yourself this series of questions to help you discover your passions, interests, and motivations:
- What am I really good at?
- What are my natural interests?
- What do I do as a hobby?
- Whats something that my friends recognize Im passionate about?
- Whats ultimately motivating me to change careers?
During this self-reflection, I see people mistakenly consider only their professional interests. When looking to move into the next stage of your career, aim to find something that excites you every time you talk about it. Once youve done the internal digging to reach that level of clarity, the direction will present itself.
Q: Wheres the best place to start when thinking about a career change?
Q: How do I prove myself to my manager when entering a new industry?
Its not about proving yourself. You are already worthy.
Find people who will advocate for you and challenge the status quo.
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Exploring Career Change Doesn’t Have To Be Risky
These steps are the safe way to approach career change, because instead of just looking through job listings, applying to the first few you see and quitting straight away, or other conventional career advice, these steps arm you with all the insights you need for a far better informed job search.
You don’t want to jump off the deep end, that is where the risk comes from. Instead you want to make calculated, well thought out decisions before taking key actions. You need a plan for you next career. These 10 steps are how you define your own plan.
Before we dive into each step, I want to briefly examine the most common themes people face when they embark on this journey.
Reasons For A Career Change
Whether you’ve reached your limits and are unable to progress in your current role or would like to challenge yourself by putting your skills to use in a different setting, there are various reasons why you may be looking to make a career change.
Some may be feeling the need for a change of scenery or schedule, such as those transitioning into self-employment, to fit around other commitments.
There are also certain professions which have proved popular with career changers. For instance, you can enter areas of teaching and law from a range of backgrounds. The nature of these careers means they’re particularly suited to those with previous experience of working in other sectors.
If you’d like to try something new but aren’t sure where to start, consider taking the Job Match questionnaire. In just a few minutes you’ll discover the roles where your skills could prove to be invaluable.
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Clarify Your Career Goals
Getting clear on the details of what youâd like to experience in a new career can help you focus your efforts. Answering these questions can help you describe your ideal career scenario:
What kind of lifestyle, flexibility, and work-life balance would you like a career to enable?
What skills do you have that youâd like to transfer to another career?
What kind of tasks, projects, and initiatives would you like to be involved in?
What kind of company would you like to work for? What are the qualities youâre looking for, including size, values, culture, products, and services?
What kind of leadership or advancement opportunities would you like to be considered for?
What are your salary goals?
Why People Often Go Through A Career Change
According to the , there is no consensus on how many times the average person changes careers. However, we do know switching careers, as well as occupation and industry, happen often.
Common reasons for wanting to change your career include:
here are nine steps to guide you through a change in your career path:
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