Changing careers at 40 - What you need to know

Many of us get to a certain point in our careers but suddenly crave a change when we get to mid-life. For those wondering how to make a career change at 40, there are plenty of tips to make the experience of changing careers at 40 as smooth as possible.  

As human beings we look for stability and certainty, but must also balance these requirements with our need for change and growth. Even if you have enjoyed a wonderful and fulfilling career, it is normal to want to experience new working environments as you grow older. As skilled, multi-faceted individuals, it is totally understandable that we will seek new ways to challenge ourselves as we go through life.   

They say that life begins at 40, but there’s no reason why your career can’t also begin again when you hit the big 4-0! 

In this short guide from us, we will look at how you can gain a new career in your 40s, some career change ideas and how you can get started in the role of your dreams.

Identifying the reasons for change 

We are all different, meaning that, when it comes to changing careers, we will each have our own motivating factors. For those who desire a career change at 40, your reasons will be unique to you as an individual. Perhaps you have been in the same role for many decades, maybe even since you left school! If this is your situation, it’s only natural to want to explore different career options as you mature. Conversely, maybe you have explored several different career paths throughout your life but haven’t yet found the one that really makes you tick. 

Perhaps you enjoy your current job but simply need a higher salary so that you can save for greater security in your retirement.  Regardless of your reasons for wanting a career change, it can be helpful to pinpoint your exact reasons for wanting to make a change before you take the leap. 

Understanding your strengths

When deciding how to make a career change at 40 it can be helpful to identify your strengths in order to determine what career path would suit you best. For example, if you have always worked in technical roles but actually have a real interest in helping people to develop themselves, perhaps a transition into counselling or therapy would be a good move for you. By writing a list of your strengths and expertise you will gain a broad overview of your skills and can start to match them to potential new career paths.  

Choosing a career

Maybe you already know about the kind of career you would like to pursue, however, it also might be the case that you’re totally unsure of what career is right for you as you change careers at 40. In this situation it is essential that you do your research thoroughly in order to make the best decision possible. 

Employ the help of sites like e-Careers to gain insight into how to get into different careers. It can also help to use sites such as LinkedIn to see how others entered their chosen fields. Depending on your employment situation you may want to gain work experience in your chosen field before committing to something new. Send out polite emails explaining your situation to established professionals in your chosen field and you might be surprised by the help you are offered.

How to change your career and get the necessary qualifications

Once you have a solid idea about which career is right for you it makes sense to set out a plan to help you get to where you need to be. It might be the case that you need to obtain new qualifications in order to enter your chosen field, update your skills to fit the current job market or simply give you the edge on other candidates when you enter the job market. At e-Careers we offer a wealth of courses that will form the ideal foundation for a new career. Visit our eLearning section to choose the right course for you today. If you're currently working and looking to study additional qualifications to advance or change your career, check out our guide on how to study for a new career while working.   

Career change ideas

There are no hard and fast rules for the best career change ideas for those in their 40s. It can help to look at what others who once did your job went on to do. For example, many marketing professionals eventually go on to work in sales or fundraising. Maybe you have always been interested in computers but now want to put your passion to good use in a new career as a web developer. Perhaps you want to make a radical jump into a new field which will change your life entirely! When it comes to ideas for a career change at 40, the list is truly endless- so make sure you do your research to find a new role that energises and inspires you. 

Thank you for reading our guide to changing your career at 40. We hope that you find this guide helpful as you begin your search for an exciting new role.