How To Plan a Career Change Over 40: What you need to think about and what to do

This article was written by Sera Filson, who’s a writer, health enthusiast, and proud mother who’s currently pursuing a B.A. in Business Management.

Switching careers is a difficult process at any stage of your life, but it becomes even more difficult as a person approaches the age of 40. There are several reasons that may prevent a person from actually leaving a job that, in different circumstances; they would normally leave, such as age discrimination, lack of education opportunities, and monetary limitations.

Yet I have seen many people successfully change their professions mid career, and achieve their goals by using the following these tips:

1. Take an Inventory of Your Skills

This is the easiest way to begin the process. Write a large “T” in the center of a piece of paper. To the left of the “T,” jot down all your skills and jobs you have relished doing. On the right side, write down the skills and jobs you have disliked. Think not only about your previous employment, but also any recreational activities and voluntary work you have done as well.

Here are a few examples of ideas that may help you generate your own list: the people you work with, recreational activities, managing other people, technical aspects such as working in mechanics or science-based fields, working in sales, manual labor, and geographical aspects. Try to be as specific as possible with each idea you write down.

2. Research Other Career Ideas

There are many free tools that can help determine which profession corresponds best with your abilities the most. Often these are simple short career aptitude tests that ask you about your likes, dislikes, and skills, which will generate a report telling you all the careers that match your profile. You can find these online, or at any college career counseling center, or your local workforce center. Such places often have career counselors that will sit down with you and go over your career assessment results with you.

Read through the classified advertisements. Think of the firms in your local community that you would find a pleasure to work for, or even own. Write them down and append them to the list of professions that you will look into.

Another option is working from your own home. Starting a simple sideline business can be fun. What starts as a little extra income can turn into a full time adventure.

Research all the professions that appeal to you and try to understand what the day to day role will involve. Then picture yourself performing those tasks, and ask yourself whether you would enjoy doing them. You may find it enjoyable to do the job daily, but you may also find it may quickly become tedious and boring soon after you began and once you settled down.

3. Picture Yourself Doing Your Dream Job

It’s imperative to have an idea in your head of the sort of career you want; specifically, your dream job. Be as precise as you can, including the location and the salary you would like, and the type of work environment you want (e.g. an office, outdoors, etc.), and the sort of people you would like as colleagues.

Illustrate each and every aspect of your ideal job in your head. Then write it down so you can edit as you please, since your ideas may change while you’re deciding exactly what it is you’d like to do. Writing things down helps your ideas gel and solidifies your plans.

Having a good idea of the sort of career you want will help you to get it quicker, since it will help you narrow down your search amongst an otherwise inundating overload of options.

4. Pick a Profession You Will Get Pleasure From

To succeed at your new profession, your full dedication and devotion is required. And if you take pleasure from the work you do, you will be able to spend more time doing it. This in turn will help you succeed in your new second career, and thus increase your income and your financial situation.

It’s better to do what you like to be doing, and not what others think you should be doing. Make money doing what interests you and life will become a lot more enjoyable.

5. Create a Plan of Action

With your research done, now you can spend some time to create a plan of what to do. Assess what improvements you need to make: better qualifications or education, more money to invest in your venture, a better resume, assistance from family, or a go-between job. Write all these ideas down, and then implement them one step at a time.

6. Consider Monetary and Other Requirements

If you are struggling financially in your current occupation, remember many firms have alternative career opportunities internally. Find out more information from your current employer’s Human Resources department. Furthermore, consider the possibility of government grants and programs to help your career & educational development. The government has set up a lot of these programs to aid those seeking to better their circumstances and to encourage economic growth in several sectors. Inquire at your local One Stop Center or local Workforce Center for information on what you are eligible for. Many grants are available only to people specifically over the age of 35, 40, or 50.

Contrary to what many people think, you can successfully have a career change after 40. It’s brave, adventurous, and totally possible! Explore alternate opportunities, look at what you enjoy doing the most, make a plan of action, and then set up a career founded on what you enjoy.

Switching careers at 40 can reinvigorate your outlook on life. So begin the process today, and don’t be afraid to ask your family and those around you for support in your new venture.

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About the Author

Sera Filson is a writer, health enthusiast, and proud mother who’s currently pursuing a B.A. in Business Management. When she’s not writing, exercising, or studying, she enjoys reading about body contouring and being a fan of Sono Bello on LinkedIn and Sono Bello on