Ten Tips for a Career Change at Forty
Changing a career after the age of 40 can be a difficult challenge, and yet it is something you owe yourself if your current career leaves you feeling dissatisfied and longing for something different. However, a career change at this stage of your life will probably require you to show immense courage, hard work, planning and dedication.
You’re no longer a care-free college kid and probably have a family that may be dependent on you, so this decision is not one you can afford to take lightly. The ten tips discussed in this guide will help you successfully navigate your career change and switch to what you really want to be doing.
As much as you may be excited and eager to get started in your new career, you need to ensure that you are financially prepared for the leap. It might take you time to find a proper job or a position which pays enough, so be sure to save as much money as you can to get you through the “in-between period”.
Take a chance
Doing what you love and making a living from it is everyone’s dream and it could come true for you if you are willing to take a chance. To successfully complete your career switch at such an advanced age, you will need the kind of passion and perseverance and that comes from being completely in love with what you do, so focus on doing the one thing that you are passionate about.
Plan your switch
Do your homework. Find out what it takes to succeed in your new career and decide how you are going to achieve it. To help you clearly define your goals and vision, you might decide to draw up a personal vision and mission statement with detailed long term and short term goals. Be specific about what you hope to achieve with the switch so you don’t lose sight of your goal.
Acquire the necessary skills
Extended hesitation and procrastination while you think about your potential new career may not be the way to go, but jumping into everything head on is not the way either. Make sure that you take your time, do your homework and acquire all the necessary skills that you will need to excel in your dream career before you make any major commitments.
Get a mentor
Get in touch with someone knowledgeable about your new career to guide you. Sometimes practicing professionals may not be willing to share their knowledge with you but you might just get lucky, especially if a friend is present to help you out. You could also try to connect with retired professionals and seek their advice and tips regarding the career you intend to take up.
Start building your network
You should make an effort to get acquainted with other professionals in your new career field and with people whose work may be relevant to yours. You can visit seminars and events, exchange contact information and search for potential contacts on social networking sites like Facebook or LinkedIn.
Work without expectations
Doing some free/volunteer work is a good way for you to make a name for yourself as a new entrant into an industry. You may also publish a paper or even write a blog to share your views and build an identity without expecting anything in the start.
After the age of forty, you may find it harder to get a job in established industries or sectors without having a wealth of experience. However you can leverage what you have such as your savings, experience and perhaps a network of contacts to help you start up your own business, doing what you love.
Make your previous career work for you
Don’t look at the time spent in your previous career as a total waste. Chances are you probably gained some experience, contacts or insights that you can use in your new career. For example, a nurse who decides to become a chef after the age of forty may be able to use her contacts to secure a contract supplying food to hospitals.
Over-thinking your career change can prevent you from making the move that you need to make to rediscover your passion. Once you have prepared yourself, made up a plan and saved enough money, you should take a chance and go for it. Remember, today is better than tomorrow.