How to Make a Career Change in Your 40s
Making a career change at 40 may seem like a daunting task, but it can also be the most rewarding decision you ever make.
It’s pretty common to yourself feeling unfulfilled or stuck in your life by the time you reach your 40s. You’ve been going through the monotony of taking your kids to school and their activities, clocking into work every morning and household chores, with the occasional vacation or party here and there.
However, it's never too late to make a change and pursue a career that truly aligns with your passions and interests.
Here are some of the benefits of pursuing a career change at 40.
Increased Job Satisfaction
Many individuals who make a career change in their 40s find that they are happier and more fulfilled in their new careers. They have the opportunity to explore new interests and challenge themselves in new ways, which can lead to a greater sense of job satisfaction.
A career change breaks you out of the rut and gives you something exciting to work towards. You’ll come across new challenges, new colleagues and new ways of working. This sense of novelty in your life is much needed when making a career change at 40. Job satisfaction increases when you have this sense of novelty and you feel like you’re being challenged in your work again.
Making a career change at 40 can also help you expand your professional network. You’ll meet new people in new industries, broadening your horizon as to what’s really out there. Use this as an opportunity to build relationships with individuals who can help you advance in your new career.
There’s no doubt that in this day and age, having a strong network is necessary if you want to progress your career. Using LinkedIn can be a great way to keep tabs on your network and meet new people. Chances are, you’ll be finding your next job not through a job posting but through your professional network.
Increased Earning Potential
When was the last time you did a stock take on the average salaries in your industry? What about the average salaries outside of your industry?
Have a think about what financial goals you want to hit in the next couple of years, and whether you see a pathway to reaching these goals in your current industry. Have you already maxed out your earning potential in your current career?
Making a career change doesn’t meet starting at the bottom. You have a whole host of transferrable skills and work experience to bring with you that you can use as leverage when negotiating a new salary.
Improved Work-Life Balance
If you’re still working in an industry that has a mandatory return to office policy, or aren’t flexible with your working hours, let me tell you this: it’s time to get out!
The fact of the matter is that today, you should be working in an environment that values your work life balance. Being in your 40s, you deserve to have the opportunity to work from home, or work around school hours. A good employer is one who knows you’ve got a life outside of work, and that work-life balance in your 40s is a given, not a luxury.
When considering a career switch at 40, look at the industries that have a great work-life balance. Some of these include:
- Some government agencies
- Startups/smaller companies
By this point, hopefully I’ve been able to sell you on the benefits of a career change at 40. But how do you actually go about making a career switch?
Assess Your Skills
Before making a career change, it's important to assess your skills and identify areas where you may need additional training or education. This can help you determine which careers may be a good fit for you and what steps you need to take to get there.
Don’t think that, just because your changing your careers, you have nothing to offer. Make a list of all the soft skills you’ve developed over the course of your career. Soft skills are special in a sense that they’re inherently part of your personality, so you’ll take them wherever you go. Being a great listener or working well under pressure is valuable, regardless of whether you’re working in hospitality, healthcare, HR or tech.
Research Career Paths
Spend time researching different careers that align with your interests and skills. This can help you identify potential career paths and gain a better understanding of what it takes to be successful in those fields. Find people who have made career changes in the past, and see what you can learn from their story. Why did they want to change their careers, and how did they go about it?
Being active on platforms such as LinkedIn help with this. By viewing someone’s LinkedIn profile, you can pretty quickly piece together their career history and see the steps someone’s taken to get to where they are today.
Network, Network, Network!
As I’ve shared already, networking can be a valuable tool when making a career change. Reach out to individuals in your desired field and ask for advice or information about their careers. Being polite and asking for a coffee chat can go a long way in forming professional relationships. People love talking about themselves, so you’ll be giving them a platform to share their story.
You may also want to consider attending industry events or joining professional organizations to meet others in your industry. Platforms such as Meetup are the perfect place to find out about things happening in your local area when it comes to making a career switch.
Get Additional Training
Depending on your desired career path, you may need to pursue additional training or education. This could involve taking classes or pursuing a degree in a related field. Consider online courses, as they’re the best way to learn relevant vocational skills, rather than spending your days reading and working on theory.
Find an online course that is comprehensive, and has great success rates. While free courses can be great, you’ll find that they may not be the best when it comes to becoming an expert on a certain topic (after all, they are free, so what can you expect?)
Instead, paying for a part time online course is well-worth the money. The alternative is to go to a university of a polytechnic, but why pay tens of thousands and spend two years taking irrelevant papers when you can learn what you need for a fraction of the price and time?
In conclusion, making a career change at 40 can be a rewarding and exciting opportunity. By assessing your skills, researching careers, networking, pursuing additional training, and being patient, you can successfully navigate this career transition and find a career that truly aligns with your passions and interests.