Can I restart my career after 40?
You can restart your career after 40. You have learned a lot in your life so far; taking that experience into a new career is easier than you might think. If you are at a stage in your career where you want to take a new direction, there is no time like the present for a career restart. History is full of people who have launched new careers in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond. Many successful people have started a business or continued their education later in life to do something different. As long as you’re interested in working, it’s not too late to start a new career.
How do I choose the right career?
The best career to start after 40 is one that fascinates you. You probably have 20 to 30 years of work ahead of you. You want to do something that you enjoy. Take some time to figure out what you want to do. You may think some careers are only for younger people, but there is a good chance that people of all ages are doing the work that interests you. Be honest with yourself. Landing a job in a new career field is a lot of work. Ask yourself what you want to do. Make a list of everything you like and don’t like about your current career. Allow yourself to dream about your ideal career. If you know you are not in the right career but are struggling to determine what your next one should be, enlist the support of friends, family, or a professional career counselor.
What resources are available to me in this transition?
Use your network. Think of people you know who are in the career field you want to enter. Ask them for 15 or 30 minutes of their time to talk about why they love their job. Ask them things like how many hours they work and the stress and strain of the job, so you can decide if it’s the right path for you. Talk to people who specialize in career coaching, networking, and human resources. These are excellent resources, and you want to take advantage of them. A career coach can help you focus on your career goals, especially if you’re not clear about what they are. Start following companies and groups associated with your new career on social media. Visit job fairs. Talk to human resources staff from companies where you are interested in working. You can tell them that this is your interest, these are your skills and ask where you might fit in at their company.
How will my experience help me in a new career?
You may have years of experience directly related to your new career, or you may have no related work experience at all. Think of yourself as advancing into the next phase of your life, like when a student graduates from college. You may not have the experience, but you have skills. By the time you’re 40, you have probably developed skills in working effectively with other people, focusing on large and small projects, or managing your time. Those are highly desirable skills.
If you don’t have the experience or skills required for a new career, you will want to look into training programs that will prepare you for your new career track. The amount of time you will need to prepare for a new career will depend on how different it is from your previous jobs.
Do I have transferable skills? How do I know what they are?
Look at what you’ve been doing and what is in demand in your new career. Look at position descriptions for jobs in your new field. What specific education or skills is the employer seeking? You’ll notice that sometimes a skill you already have has a different name. Make sure to use the new name in all of your job search documents so when you apply, your application gets through an applicant tracking system searching for keywords.
How long will it take to make this transition?
The amount of time you spend making a midlife career change depends on how drastic the change. Let’s say you’ve been in sales for 25 years and want to be a fundraiser. Then you need to learn the terminology and modify your sales approach. If you’ve been a teacher and now want to be a nurse, you’ll need time to finish an educational program.
How do I find a job in my new career field?
Once you have decided on a new career and acquired the required skills or education, it is time to find a job in your new field. Start your job search by writing a resume. A resume tells an employer what you can do for them. You’ll use it for job applications, but it is also a great educational tool for you to understand what you can do for an employer. Ensure your resume is current, not just in terms of experience but in terms of contemporary language. A resume should be short and to the point. List only skills required for the job. Be sensitive to the fact the person who interviews you wants to know what you can do for them, not how you acquired skills that are not relevant to the job.
Write a cover letter. It is your opportunity to tell a prospective employer how enthusiastic and qualified you are. Your cover letter needs to include what you can do and how this applies to the open position.
Once you have your resume and cover letter, start networking and applying for open positions. Eighty percent of all jobs come through networking. Use LinkedIn, personal contacts, and social media to let people know the type of work you are seeking. Don’t forget to practice your interviewing skills, so you can articulate exactly why you’re the best match for that job when you do get that call.