Have you been stuck in the same old job for too long? Have you hit the big 4-0 and decided you want a change of direction? Lots of people go through the same thing and simply don’t do anything about it, because it’s easier to stick with what you know. If you are determined to forge a new path and have a career change at 40, there are a wealth of career options that are realistically available to you.
First, you have to be honest with yourself. Make a list of all the skills you have acquired, your strengths and weaknesses and things you are actually trained in. Then look at your soft skills, including communication and people management. Finally, list your weaknesses and things you just don’t want to go near.
These lists will help you define your future. They will help you rule out a huge number of jobs that simply aren’t right for you. Don’t get disheartened by this process. Every job you cross off the list is a step towards the right future for you.
When you have a potential list of jobs, you should do your own research and put them in an order. Decide what you want out of life at this point, whether it is the pay cheque, the chance to do something worthwhile or just more time at home to spend with a young family. Really work out your goals because you might not get another chance at a major change in direction like this. You might not even have the energy to do it again. So make sure you get it right.
Then, when you have the job of your dreams in your sights, it’s time to talk to recruitment consultants and the companies themselves. Be prepared to get a reality check at this stage and think ahead, if you have aimed too high then you might need to take a step down the ladder and work your way back up. If you do then it’s just a temporary sacrifice to get where you want to go, but make sure you can afford to live on the reduced pay cheque until the job evolves into your dream career.
You might have to retrain, too. That might just be a part of life. There will be things you don’t know when you’re heading down a new path. Get ready to hit the books and keep your career change at 40 on track.
You’ll need to alter your CV to shine a light on the skills you need for your new career and you’ll need to practise your interview technique. You will face tough questions about why you’re jumping ship from one career to the next and if you don’t prepare well then you might have a hard time convincing a new employer that this isn’t a passing fancy. Make sure you do your homework, practise the answers for the tough questions that are going to come, and get ready for a brave step into the unknown.