Changing Careers at Age 40

woman working

Businesses fold – sometimes entire industries crumble. Interests change and frustration sets in at being stuck on the same rung on the career ladder. Whatever the reason for the change, it’s quite common for people to switch careers at 40 or even later.

While the number of times people switch careers during their working years is a matter of debate – in part because, as the Wall Street Journal reports, it’s hard to define what constitutes a “switch,” – it is clear that today’s workers will hold an average of 10 different jobs prior to age 40.

It’s Never Too Late to Dream

A good starting point for a new career or job is making a list. AOL Jobs recommends writing down everything from hobbies to long-abandoned childhood dreams.

Consider your strengths. Are you the one everyone turns to for home networking advice? Do you always get the call when it’s time to plan a gala fundraiser? There are career skills in both.

When making your list, include volunteer work you’re passionate about. Many parents have aspired to careers in education after spending time in their children’s classrooms.

Review the list with an eye toward your priorities. You may consider looking for a new career in one of today’s highly marketable fields. If you want to pursue a career that effects positive change in the world around you, a degree in Environmental Studies, with its focus on complex global issues, could be a great fit.

Comb your contact list and reach out to professionals already working in the field to which you aspire and find out what it will take in terms of training and education to make your transition.

Don’t be shy! Ask for “friend of a friend” introductions. A cup of coffee with a new acquaintance working in your desired field can be a tremendous investment. With a little research and consideration, you may be surprised at how willing others are to help you succeed.

Consolidate your findings and begin a self-evaluation. Write a resume for the career to which you aspire and compare it to your own. Look for gaps between the two and plot a plan for filling them.

Don’t forget “off resume” or “soft” skills you can tout. If you ran your PTA’s Facebook page and can show huge increases in likes and engagement, be sure to mention that.

Begin to Fill Resume Gaps

If your gaps are in experience, look for entry-level jobs or even volunteer opportunities. This method can work wonders for those looking to turn hobbies into careers. It’s okay to take a “foot in the door” position as long as your expectations are reasonable and part of a plan.

Gaps in education are easier than ever to fill in the information age. Ashford University is a way to earn the degree that can launch your new career without quitting the day job you currently rely on. It is possible to transition into a new career at age 40 and spend the next phase of your work life doing something you love. You work hard every day, you should enjoy what you do.


Written by Ashford University staff.

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