The best career to start at 40 depends on where you are today and what current skills you can leverage. Think about how your skills might be used in organizations you’re interested in and what career paths are available when you still have a bit of runway left in your career. People who are considering a career change at 40 generally have many transferable skills.
It’s Worth It To Change Careers at 40
Years ago, you might have thought about retiring at 50 or 55. Now a lot of people are having careers into their 80s. It’s great to know you still have many years left for a true career versus just a job. If you’re looking to maximize the skills, capabilities, desires, and motivations you have, then absolutely it’s worth looking at.
Planning A Career Change At 40
For most folks in their 40s and even older, it’s about thinking what that longer-term play is: how to find that position or create a position that fits your skills. If you’ve been in the working world awhile, you’re going to have transferable skills. For the organizations you are interested in, do the research to find out what skills are most valued. Talking to someone in human resources can help you understand what they value.
You’re not just looking for a job, you’re looking for a career path with longevity. In planning, the first thing is to think about who you can talk to. What kinds of companies fit your motivations, skills, and capabilities? Then do the research to map out how you would take your skills and transfer them into these new positions or create a position for yourself. Once you’ve clarified your focus, you can get into networking and informational discussions, so people know you’re in the market and what your unique brand is.
You’ll want to apply via job boards because it’s part of how companies hire. However, studies show that about 70% of jobs are being filled by networking and referrals. A big part of considering a career change at 40 is communication to understand what’s available and how your skills could be used.
One strategy to make sure you’re leveraging the job market the best way possible is to work with a career coach, someone who can help you map out your plan appropriately.
The Difference Between A Career Change At 30 And At 40
Generally, at 30 you’re still building skills, creating capabilities, and demonstrating what you have to offer in the marketplace. At 40, you’ve established yourself. In many ways, you’re able to set the direction more concretely than somebody perhaps in their 30s. Tenure in the marketplace comes with some level of expectation around your capabilities, whether it’s through your industry-specific skills, functionally specific skills, or some of the softer skills like communication, managing people, motivating people in teams, and leadership. The big difference is what you’ve already gained when you’re in your 40s versus what you’re still learning in your 30s. By your 40s, you typically have a larger network, so you can drive what you’re looking for more than perhaps someone in their 30s.
Benefits Of Pursuing A Job Search Or Different Degree Programs During A Career Change At 40
The biggest benefit is that you’ve established yourself as a professional with expertise, experience, and proven accomplishments. You’re going into the marketplace as a proven entity, and you can clearly articulate what it is you’re looking for. If you’re a bit younger, you may not have the respect or credibility built up so you can’t drive it as hard.
The Best Way To Sustain Work-life Balance While Pursuing Mid-Life Career Transitions
What’s interesting about the world today, is that work-life balance is at the forefront because so many people work from home. Even without the pandemic, we have a higher degree of virtual or remote work situations. Work-life balance no longer has some of the negative aspects it used to. The idea of searching for a position that offers flexibility was once frowned upon and looked at as a lack of commitment towards your career. Societal norms have changed a bit and it’s not necessarily bad.
Make sure you do your research to find an organization that has the same motivators, value systems, and culture that you’re looking for so you don’t find yourself at odds with a company that expects a different kind of work commitment or situation.
Is It Necessary To Take A Full-time Entry-level Job As Part Of A Long-term Career Plan?
When you’re looking at a career change, you don’t necessarily have to take an entry-level job; however, every situation is different. Typically, when you are working with the hiring manager, the HR department, your contacts, or the people that you’ve talked to during the job search process, you’ll know whether your skills can be transferred at your current level. Pivoting industry or pivoting functionally might have a little different aspect to that.
A cover letter is often requested w\hen you’re putting your application information together. That’s where you talk about how your skills can transfer to a more senior level. You can get a good understanding of how a company values your skills by looking at their social media channels. How a company posts on social media will help you see how you can come in at a higher level than maybe an entry-level position. You can’t assume that an entry-level is the only way to make a career change at 40.
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