Are you in your 40s and thinking of changing careers? You're not alone. And you're certainly not crazy. In fact, if there's ever a time you can—and should—reinvent yourself, that time is now.
Below are four ways to start your career transition so you can successfully change careers in your 40s.
1. Stop Making Excuses
You've become accustomed to the fact that your 20s were the years where you figure out what you want to do with your life and then suffer through your choice for the rest of your life. Wrong! You are most definitely not the first person that has considered changing careers in their 40s and there are many stories of people just like you, succeeding against the odds. Now, once you've stopped denying that you are unhappy with your current job, you are thinking up excuses why it's ridiculous to switch careers. It's never too late to make choices that will benefit your health and wellness. Yes, a career you love will benefit you in all aspects of your life, including your health and wellness.
If you already know which career you want to change to, you are luckier than most confused career individuals. Don't try and jeopardize the journey ahead by making excuses such as:
- This is not the right time.
- My children need to finish school first.
- What will my partner think?
- I'm not qualified.
- I don't know where to start.
- I'm too old to change careers.
Though these might seem relevant at the time, it will only lead to more procrastination with a choice you know in your heart you want to make. And if you feel 40 is too late, how will it be when you are 50 and still unhappy with the job that you are doing? During your interview, the prospective employer will be able to pick up whether you are holding yourself back or making excuses and this will reflect on your being less "flexible" rather than open-minded and eager to develop.
2. Take A Leap Of Faith
For some, a career change can sound just as daunting as jumping out of a plane or swimming with sharks, but it's mostly the fear of failure that holds us back. Doing the same job and managing the same lifestyle has become the comfort zone and anything different feels like the end of the world. In order to really become satisfied with the life you are living and the career you are building, you have to take some chances. With every change there comes a fair amount of risk. Once you've analyzed the possible risk factors—and have distinguished between real and false fears—you might be able to gain control of the change.
Taking this leap of faith into the unknown of a new and challenging career can help you rediscover your true passion and purpose. The odds might always seem against you, and running back into the comfort that was your previously lifestyle might sound much more appealing than restarting the steps of your career ladder, but it will be much more satisfying and rewarding than being stuck in a job that you hate.
3. Take Your Experience With You
One of the greatest benefits of changing careers in your 40s is probably the fact that you have a world of experience to take with you. Unlike the inexperienced post-grad student applying for the job, you will have an impressive portfolio to offer. Even if you don't have experience in the career field that you want to switch to, your previous experience is still very much relevant. Apart from the actual skills and responsibilities, your work history will showcase your credibility. It will show the prospective employer what attributes and characteristics previous employers valued in you. Don't be afraid to quantify and mention your previous achievements; this will most definitely count in your favor. Just because you are switching careers doesn't mean your past experience is irrelevant.
Before looking for your new job, draw up a list of your skills, expertise, and experience. If you are making a career shift, you probably want to focus on something that either challenges you more, comes naturally, or something that you are passionate about. Organize your strengths and capabilities in such a way that you will be the "natural" choice for the hiring company.
4. Make Use Of Old Contacts
Being on this earth for over 40 years probably means that you've met quite a few people. Whether it was on a plane, at a networking event, or even at the gym, chances are you know people in all walks of life. Make use of your professional network to find a path to your new career. Don't make the mistake in thinking you have to do everything yourself.
Changing careers sounds scary when you don't know where to start. If you are making the transition from working as an office assistant to running your own fashion line, it probably won't happen overnight. Call up that fashion maven you've kept up with since college and invite them for coffee. Get some caffeine in them and start asking questions. Feed from those that are already successful instead of assuming you have to start from the bottom in order to succeed.
Switching careers in your 40s is not as daunting or difficult as you might think. Yes, you'll need a plan and it might take some time, but after the transition is complete, you'll be glad you did it.
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.
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