10 Ways to Change Careers in Your 40s and Beyond


Examine Your Current Career

Take some time to think about the career that you have now. Make a list of the things you love about it. Then make a list of the things you hate about it. Make sure that it’s the career itself that is causing you dissatisfaction and not the job environment, your coworkers or your particular job. Establish a clear picture of what you want to take with you on your next career and what you wish to leave behind.


Ditch Your Excuses

You can probably think of a dozen reasons why you shouldn’t make that career change. Instead, make a list of why you should change your career at this point in your life. How will it benefit you and your family, in the long run? At this stage, think about what you want to do instead of nagging at yourself about why you should remain where you are.


Determine Your Priorities

List five main priorities that are important to you. Do you want to maintain good relationships with your friends and family? Do you want meaningful work that earns a steady income? Do you want to have the time and money to take fun vacations once or twice a year? Where would you like to retire? Ask yourself these and other questions and write them down. Then step away for a few days before you go back and look at your answers again. Do these answers still carry the same importance?


Focus on Your Strengths and Weaknesses

You probably already know what your strengths and weaknesses are. If you’re unsure, jot down a list of the things you have accomplished in your life and what you did to succeed. Do the same with your weaknesses, and think about the times you failed at a task and why. Soon, you will see a pattern emerge, which will give you an idea of what type of career you’re best suited for. You may be a natural leader. You may have a natural creative flair. You may work best independently or with a team.


Discover Your Passion

Don’t launch into a new career before you’re sure that it’s something that you’re going to love to do. Otherwise, you will find yourself in the same rut. Take some time to learn about yourself, what skills you find fun and satisfying and what you naturally enjoy. Educate yourself about this career path and determine whether this passion is better suited as a hobby. You can do this by talking to people who work in your desired field. What do they like about their career? What are the pitfalls? Do the highlights outweigh those pitfalls?


Have a Sound Financial Plan

This is especially important if you are thinking about starting your own business. Most new businesses take five years to succeed, if they do succeed. Do you have a backup plain in case your venture fails? Do you have enough assets to cover the your living expenses until you are able to make a good living? This question also applies if you have taken a job that makes less money than your old one. You might discover that it will take a few years to be able to make this transition, but don’t get discouraged.


Utilize Your Experience

The best part about switching careers in your 40s is that you have years of experience and an impressive portfolio to offer. Even if you lack experience in the career field you are pursuing, your previous experience is still quite relevant. Your work history will showcase your credibility and show prospective employers what characteristics and attributes previous employers valued in you. Make sure to highlight your previous achievements, even if they seem trivial.


Get the Experience That You May Lack

Chances are, you will need some form of training before you transition into a new career. If that’s the case, you can check out your local colleges to see if they have any night or weekend classes available. You can also gain experience by volunteering or applying for an internship. This will help you test the waters and see if this change is right for you.


Make Use of Your Old Personal and Business Contacts

Call old friends and colleagues that you haven’t spoken to in a while and get reacquainted. You might learn that one or more of them have made the same transition as you’re attempting. If that’s the case, then they can help you by providing you with insider information that will help you avoid beginner mistakes when starting your own business. This can help make your transition easier. If you are looking to land a position with another company and they happen to work there, you will have a better chance of landing that interview and securing that position.


Take the Leap

Once you’ve determined that you can financially support yourself during this transition, you are ready to take the leap. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. Take the chance and see what happens. Chances are great that you will grow personally and professionally, whether or not you succeed. Venturing into a new territory will help you regain your zest for life.