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How to change careers at 40 (even with no experience)
Changing careers is becoming the norm for younger workers. In fact, it’s predicted that by 2020, workers will have an average of six careers throughout their professional lives.
However, if you’re over the age of 40 and thinking about making a career change, the decision becomes a little more complicated. Chances are you have a developed skill set and have built up a network of professional contacts – so starting anew can set you back in terms of seniority and salary.
But with the right plan of action, transitioning careers is possible at any age. Here are some actionable steps for making a midlife career change.
Work on your transferable skills
There are a whole host of skills that many of us possess that are valuable in any job. Soft skills especially, such as organisational abilities, problem-solving skills, and the ability to communicate effectively are useful in any professional capacity.
Start a list of your transferable skills and look for ways to build on them, such as by taking on new projects at work or in your personal time. Think about achievements you’ve made with those skills that you can include in your new resume.
Study to learn new skills
These days, tertiary education isn’t just for school-leavers. According to the latest NZ Government statistics, 30% of students today are over the age of 40 – which shows that older people are seeing the value in continuing education later in life.
If your new chosen career field requires specific skills or education, explore your options for formal training or study so you can begin transitioning to your new career while you’re still working.
Make use of your contacts
Even if you’re switching careers to an entirely different field, chances are someone in your existing professional network or your family or friends can offer some insights into your new profession or knows someone else who can.
Also, do some research to find out what networking opportunities there are in your new career field and take as many chances as possible to get face-to-face with others in the industry. And don’t be afraid to reach out to industry thought leaders or mentors online to ask for advice – most people will be glad to help.
Scope out the jobs market in your new field
Before you jump into your new career full-swing, research the current jobs climate to see what sorts of skills are in demand and what roles pop up regularly in job listings.
Consider how jobs in the industry will change over the next couple of years as well, as transitioning to a new career can take time – and you want to have the right skills under your belt when it comes time to start applying for jobs.
Ready to secure your first job in a new career? See our latest job listings.