It’s never too late to make a career change at 40. If you’re 40 and feeling bored, frustrated or stuck, it’s time to move on. Here are eight tips to navigate a career change as someone with work experience under your belt.
The job market is constantly changing – so why should you stay stuck in the same place? Don’t stay somewhere where you aren’t happy. There are jobs out there that might not even have existed when you first started your career. New opportunities, new chances to learn and explore – and you can take advantage of these things, no matter your age!
Ask Yourself What You Want
A career change will go much more smoothly if you have some goals in mind. You don’t need to decide everything immediately, but it’s important to consider questions such as: Do I want to stay in the same industry, or change entirely? Where do I see myself ending up in 10 years? What skills do I have that I can put to use, and which ones will I need to study or practice?
When determining goals, don’t limit yourself. It’s totally okay to want to start something brand new! Don’t limit yourself to jobs or industries similar to ones you’ve worked in previously.
Consult a Career Coach
Once you’ve got your goals hammered out, take them to a career coach. A career coach is an experienced businessperson who can help you improve your resume and choose solid next steps to take as you progress towards your endpoint.
Career coaches are particularly helpful for career changes at 40 as they can help you adapt your resume and interview skills to the modern, ever-shifting job market.
Highlight Transferable Skills
What if you’ve decided you want to go from being a lawyer to being a teacher? A scientist to a fashion designer? A zookeeper to an accountant? Even if you’ve chosen two industries which couldn’t seem further apart, odds are, you have many transferable skills which can be focused on in your resume and job application.
Some common examples of transferable skills include: leadership, public speaking, project management, organization, and various software and program proficiencies. As mentioned above, a career coach can help you identify these skills and prominently display them as you apply for each new job.
Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Additional Experience
Sometimes, your desired career may require experience which, even at 40, you don’t possess. Many people are held back from pursuing their ideal jobs because they feel like they are “too old” to learn something new.
Don’t let these anxieties hold you back! Actively seek out and embrace opportunities to learn and gain experience, whether they come in the form of classes or training courses or volunteer or adult internship opportunities. Being a “lifelong learner” demonstrates flexibility and a willingness to grow and improve when needed.
Use Your Network
By 40, you’ve probably already established somewhat of a “network”. Friends, coworkers, professional mentors – even if you’ve been out of the workforce for a few years, odds are, there are at least a few folks you’ve stayed in touch with.
These people are valuable resources which you can take advantage of during the career change process. They can help you update your resume, practice interviewing, or make you aware of job openings and opportunities at their workplaces. Even if all you need is a little bit of support and some “you got this” attitude – your network is always there for you, and will be more than happy to provide!
Consider a Financial “Safety Net”
There is one major difference between seeking out a job in your 20s and making a career change at 40. Simply put, you’re at a different spot along the path of life. You’re probably a bit more established: you might own a house and make regular mortgage payments, or be married, have children, or some combination of the above.
This does NOT mean that you should let money worries dissuade you from pursuing the new career of your dreams. What it DOES mean; however, is that you should take your current financial situation into consideration during the process. Figure out what kind of financial “safety net” you have available, and make sure that essentials will be covered as you navigate your career change.
The number one thing holding you back from making the career change you desire is you. Studies have shown that many people resist seeking out a new job at 40 because they feel scared, as though they are “too old” “lack experience” or “just not a good fit”.
Tune out these thoughts and embrace the confidence you have gained over your years of lived experience. Remind yourself of all the things about you which are wonderful and unique. Be the confident, powerful job seeker which any company will quickly identify as a valuable asset that would be a shame to miss out on. Never forget just how much you have to offer!
Embrace the Modern Job Market
You will stand out from your fellow “40s seeking career changes” if you demonstrate flexibility and a willingness to work within the modern job market. The best way you can do this is by embracing technology.
Take the same steps which millennials are using to put themselves out there: create a LinkedIn profile, be active on social media, make your portfolio available online, and establish a “brand” for yourself. If you’re not quite sure how to get started, once again, this is an area in which your career coach and support network can both provide a lot of help!
With these eight tips, you can banish anxiety, overcome doubts and establish yourself as a skilled, powerful, competitive force within today’s workplace. Things might be constantly changing, but you will show yourself to be someone who is capable of adapting with the times. Your dream career will be yours before you know it!