How to Make a Career Change at 40

How to Make a Career Change at 40
Thomas Ramsey

5 mins

How to Make a Career Change at 40

Read more on how to make a career change at 40 with Thomas Ramsey, Senior Account Consultant.

Beginning a new career at any age rarely makes for an easy decision, however taking the dive at age 40 often makes for an even more daunting one. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be intimidating, especially if it’s accompanied by overwhelming emotions of worry and stress. 

You may be leaving behind a wealth of connections, financial security, or even a well-built network, all of which have taken time to develop. Re-establishing yourself within a new career can be unnerving, particularly when you may find yourself with extra responsibilities to consider now, such as family, that weren’t present when you originally began.

However, feeling stagnant is notably worse than any doubts you may be feeling. As your life has progressed, it is totally normal if your current career isn’t the right fit for you anymore. Opportunities have grown, and more possibilities are out in the world now that may be better suited for you. 

Switching careers never comes without its challenges, however, pursuing your career goals is never an unreachable ambition. It may involve extra work, but it’s never too late to go after what you desire. There is more accessible help out there now than ever, and we’re here to help guide you in making the change and ensuring you’re on the right path to do so.

In this article, we will guide you on how to make a career change at 40.

Read on to discover: 

  • Deciding on your new career
  • How to make the change
  • Overcoming possible challenges

Deciding on your new career


Finding the correct job for you is key to acquiring success in a career change. When embarking on a new career path the most important question to ask yourself is why? What are you seeking in a new career that is prominently missing in your current role?


If you're unfulfilled within your current industry, and are considering entering a new field altogether, your first step would be researching and noting the skills you need in conjunction with the skills you already obtain, both personally and professionally. You may have a wealth of knowledge in a particular industry, but core skills, such as; communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, can be applicable to almost any role. Think about the tasks and duties involved in your current role, and how they might be used in a completely different sector.


It's true that you may need to upskill in certain areas, but it's achievable - and with some hard work and dedication, you can make a success of it. By taking the time to identify and understand the skills you have, you will be able to better assess which roles and industries could be a good fit for you. 

When deciding on a new career path, it's important to take your time and consider the following points. 


  • Transferable skills: Take your time to reflect on what you enjoy doing and what your strengths are. If you've been doing the same job for a while, you may want to switch to something different. Be open to researching different career options available to you, including any qualifications or training you may need. Alternatively, you may find that you're good at certain skills or tasks and want to focus on these. 


  • Part time/ full time: When considering a new career path, it's important to take your time and consider all your options. Should you take the plunge and go full-time? You'll need to feel sure that you're confident enough in your new chosen career path to be able to pursue it full-time. Or would it be more practical to take a part-time approach and ease yourself into something new? However, you may need to consider the financial implications to this, as such roles often come with lower salaries and fewer benefits. Whichever route you decide to take, it's important to make sure that you're taking the time to research, consider and plan your new career path.


  • Work life balance: Be sure to think about what type of lifestyle and work environment you'd favour. Different careers offer different levels of job security, salary, and hours. You should also consider how far you'd be willing to travel for work, whether a certain area appeals to you, and whether you'd prefer to work independently or as part of a team.


  • Long-term goals: Do your research and find out what career paths are available to you. Speak to people in the industry you're interested in and get a feel for what kind of opportunities are out there. Taking the time to think about what you want to achieve in the long term, and the areas you want to develop, can be a great way to help you decide on a new career path. It’s also important to consider the flexibility of any potential role, and whether it will fit in with your other commitments. 


How to make the change

Making a career change at 40 can be a daunting prospect, however with the right motivation, research and connections, it can be achieved successfully.

Begin by considering what you want to do and why. Make sure it’s something that you’re passionate about and will make the most of your existing skills and knowledge. Research the market and find out what you need to do to transition into your new role and what qualifications or additional training you may need. 

It’s important to be realistic about the time it will take for you to make the transition. Be sure to take the time to build your network and find mentors who can provide advice on your career change journey. Seek out professionals who have made a successful career change and ask for their advice. Don't be afraid to reach out to people and ask for help. Making connections and networking are essential for success in any career change . That’s why it’s important to partner with trusted recruitment companies, who boast years of experience in matching the right candidates to the right roles, meaning you have a much better chance of finding that dream job.

When switching careers, your current CV may no longer reflect the direction you want to go in with your new career. It’s important to create a CV that not only showcases your experience and skills, but also demonstrates what you can bring to the role. It’s also highly important to produce a strong cover letter, outlining your desire to work in the sector and what you can bring to the role. Then, highlight the skills that you’ve acquired that are relevant to the new role. Add examples to show how you have used them effectively in your previous roles.

Finally, build up your confidence. Be prepared to challenge yourself to make the most of the opportunities available. A positive attitude is key to any transition. Believe in yourself, take risks, and never stop learning.



Overcoming possible challenges

Never allow yourself to be discouraged by any age-related challenges you may face. Starting a new career at 40 can be daunting but equally, it can be exciting and rewarding. It's important to remember that you are not alone in this journey and there are plenty of resources to help guide you. The key is to be open-minded and willing to embrace change and take risks.

When presented with the following challenges, consider the positive outcomes:

  • Responsibilities: Juggling family responsibilities with a new career can be a source of anxiety for many of us. It’s natural to worry about how to balance home and work life, especially when there’s so much to manage. It’s important to try and take things one step at a time and break down the tasks into manageable chunks.
  • Self-doubt: Focus on the positive and be confident in your abilities. Don't be afraid to show off your skills and experience. Your years of experience prove you have knowledge and understanding that many younger candidates won't possess. Transferable skills like knowing how to speak up in meetings, work constructively with difficult team members, keep productive with self-talk, and reinvent yourself time and time again are important qualities for success in any career.

  • Retraining: Having the right qualifications and certifications can be key to making yourself a more desirable candidate, as well as increasing your own confidence in your abilities. There are a variety of qualifications, both online or in person, that you can pursue to develop your skills and expertise, including industry-specific certifications, qualifications in leadership, and professional development courses. It’s important to make sure that the qualifications you take up are relevant to the career path you’re heading for, and that the course is accredited. 

  • Financial stability: Making a career change can be an overwhelming prospect, especially if it means taking a pay cut. However, it's also important to think about the long-term benefits of the new career, such as career development and potential salary increases. Start by doing your research, look into the salaries for the role you’re considering and plan accordingly. 

    No matter what industries you choose to move in and out of, it’s important to remember that your experience and skills are valuable. Don’t be afraid to negotiate your salary and look for a company that values your worth. 

    A career change doesn't necessarily mean a pay cut either; you may find a role that pays more than your current position and is still in line with your interests and qualifications.

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