10 Ways to Start Your Career Path After 40

Feb 1, 2019

Late career changes tend to be problematic not because employers find them objectionable, but because in your 40s, it may be hard for you to put your life on hold and gain the new qualifications and experience that you need. Often, though, it is possible to make these career changes work. Here is how you can start your career after 40

1. Entrepreneurship can be an excellent option

Starting your own business is one of the best choices that you can make past 40. You can find exactly the right kind of business that will make you happy and give yourself whatever breaks you need to succeed. 

2. Do not imagine that your experience does not count

Even if you are attempting to enter an all-new career path, you should not assume that you are a complete newbie. You do have years of experience being a professional. Your age and maturity are huge assets that will work in any field.

Whatever job you apply for, you should focus  on the kind of transferable skills that you have earned over the years, such as networking skills, a work ethic, a superior ability to learn new things and so on. 

3. Gain qualifications and experience

As an older worker, you have the intelligence and maturity to make more of whatever qualifications and experience you gain. Taking a night class, working as an intern in the industry that you have in mind and networking with professionals there, you may be able to fast-track your learning, and land a reasonable job. 

4. Remember that you are playing to your strengths now

Usually, when a person has a late-stage career change in mind, it is because they have realized that their old career choice did not take advantage of their strengths and talents.

If the new career that you are switching to does play to your strengths, picking up in that field will be easy. You may be able to convince your new employer of the benefits of hiring someone who is a natural as well. 

5. Use your existing contacts

Just because you are moving to a completely new field does not mean that you do not know anyone in it. Your existing contacts could have connections in the field that you are interested in. Since they know you personally, they could put in a good word for you.  

6. Do not try to start with your existing resume

If you have not decided what you want to do yet, you may find yourself looking at your current resume as a starting-off point to think about your options. This is usually a mistake. If you need to make the huge move of switching careers, you do not want to restrict yourself. You need to cut yourself off from your current situation and completely think afresh. 

7. Understand that there could be complications

A new career option that looks perfect on the outside may be unsuitable for hidden reasons that you do not anticipate. If you would like to be an aircraft technician, for instance, you may find out once you enter the field that union-related politics dictate your life.

If you love music and would like to switch to sound engineering, you may find that your musician clients are not happy working with someone over 40, because they fear that you will never “get” their music. 

8. Consider that no one job may be right

Sometimes, in order to work in a field that you love, you may need to accept the possibility that you will not make all the money you need, at it. You may need to work part-time in the field you love and support yourself with freelancing work of another kind or try a minor job that gives you health insurance (say, as a barista at Starbucks). 

9. You may need a therapy

Changing careers can be scary. It could be a good idea to talk your decision over with a therapist to learn a few coping mechanisms. 

10. Find a mentor

If you have been reading up on the career of you choice for a while, you probably know a few important names in the business. Try to find out if you can get someone to mentor you through your change. Having an experienced guide can make a huge difference on your journey.

It is never too late to start your career path. Building a career after 40 can be even more successful than in your 20s, as today you might have more free time for learning and doing the things you like.

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