Is career change at 40 impossible?
If you’re 40 (or so) you might be worried that it’s too late for you to make a change into doing work that’s more fulfilling.
At the same time, though, you’ve got too much career ahead of you to keep doing what you’re doing if you really hate it.
It’s easy to feel stuck.
But the truth is you can make a career change at 40 and beyond.
Are you making a career change for the right reasons?
First off, you’ll want to understand whether you’re switching careers simply because your current job isn’t working. Is there something out there you’d really love to do, and you’re ready to give it a try? Or do you actually still like your current career, but have found yourself in a particular company you don’t care for?
If after some soul searching you realize it’s the latter, skip the career change, and simply focus on getting a new job.
Does my age really matter?
Assuming you’ve made a thoughtful choice about your move, your major concern is probably that your relative age and inexperience in your new career are a double-whammy.
The truth is, only your inexperience really matters, and luckily that’s the one you can do something about.
People your same age with experience can find jobs. The higher level jobs, the ones that require a great deal of experience, are going to pay more and be harder to land. And of course you can’t get years of experience without years. So it follows that people filling these jobs will be older.
The complete newbies are landing entry-level jobs. To compete against them is difficult because they’re young and they don’t need the paycheck you need.
So it makes sense that the jobs you’re going after will need you to have some experience in your new field to be considered competitive.
Here’s some more tips to make your career change at 40 (or at any age) more successful.
1. Emphasize your life experience: Even though you may be lacking industry experience, you still have a lot of time under your belt with building your work ethic, building your network, working with people, and more. Don’t let the fact that you’re a seasoned professional get flushed just because your career focus is shifting.
2. Entrepreneurship doesn’t care how old you are: Whether you’re 22 or 42, if you’re thinking about starting your own thing, it doesn’t matter how old you are.
3. Get that experience! Whether you have to take a night class, volunteer, or work a part-time gig somewhere for a while, if you’re serious about landing a position in a new field, you’re going to need some experience. Hustle will get you there.
4. Focus on strength: I’m assuming you’re making a change because your new career will give you more happiness and satisfaction, but also because it focuses more on your core strengths. Doing the things that come to you naturally and easily to you should be a selling point. Doing the things within your zone of genius will come with greater ease. The benefit is that your new boss has just hired a “natural.”
5. Rely on friends: A huge benefit you may have over younger people entering a field is that you just might have the connections to help you find and land that next gig. When you’re introduced to a potential employer through a mutual contact, you’ve gotten an implicit endorsement from someone who your future boss trusts. So use your networks to connect with the people you need to reach.
So, what do you think? Are there additional barriers to making a career change at 40 or later? Or does it feel possible?
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