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Career Change at 40: How to Make a Career Change

May 21, 2019

Are you sitting at your current job feeling like you need a career change? If that has crossed your mind, don’t worry, it’s normal. Wanting to make a career change at 35, or feeling like you want to start a new career at 40 is okay. If anything, listen to that feeling, because you will be so much happier for it.

Article Content:

  1. Potential Concerns about Making a Career Change
  2. Making a Career Change
  3. How to Change Careers
  4. Second Career Options/Choices
  5. Career Change at 30
  6. Career Change at 40
  7. Career Change at 50

At The School of New Work, we encourage you to strive for a career you love. Many of our potential students come to us with reservations about changing careers, which is normal, but we want to reinforce that making a career change can be an incredibly liberating decision. While it may feel like a career change is not an easy journey, we are here to help you see that it is feasible and, actually, very common in today’s day and age.

Potential Concerns about Making a Career Change

It’s too late for me to change careers/start a new career

Quite often prospective students feel that it is too late for them to even consider advancing their careers or beginning a new career altogether. It’s not, and in today’s day and age it’s very common for people of all ages and career paths to explore different career options. At Robertson, we see people from all walks of life and at various stages in their careers, exploring options for something new. The world is changing and without changing your perception of what you are capable of, you’ll never make a successful career change.

I’m interested in starting a new career but I don’t want to have to start from the bottom

Prospective students often feel that when they beginning a new career means starting from the bottom of the ladder. Not necessarily. You’re not unskilled. By attending school and through your training, you’ve gained an impressive array of skills and have the experience acquired only through focused learning. So, despite starting a new job at a new company, this doesn’t mean your dream job is entry level. All students at Robertson have access to our Career Services team who are there to assist you in marketing your experience and assets in your next interview, which will help you position your experience appropriately.

I’m too old or too inexperienced to make a career change

Says who? Of course there will be a learning curve to any new career you try. But isn’t having a new professional challenge part of why you seek this change? At Robertson, our goal is to help our students find a career that taps into their interests and their strengths. As for the aspects of the job that may intimidate you (such as becoming tech savvy), accept that getting proficient in these skills may be frustrating and difficult at times, but it’s a part of a much bigger journey of success.

So, now that your reservations are hopefully pushed to the side, let’s go through what it actually looks like to embark on a midlife career change. In this article we’ll go through how to change careers, covering your options, tips, suggested steps to switch careers, and several great second career choices.

Making a Career Change

A career change simply means working in a new career field. There are many personal and situational reasons people may choose to make a career change. An article in TIME Magazine listed the top reasons why people may be sitting at their desk thinking, “I need a new career”. They are as follows:

  1. Downsizing or restricting
  2. Sought new challenges
  3. Ineffective leadership at workplace
  4. Poor relationship with manager
  5. To improve work/life balance
  6. Contributions were not valued
  7. Better compensation and benefits
  8. Better alignment of personal and organizational values
  9. Personal strengths were a better fit
  10. Current company was financially unstable
  11. Company or job relocated

Many reasons why people make a career change at 30 or 50 is because of some sort of external event that may be out of their control. But, for many, it’s for personal reasons. Typically, they feel emotionally, mentally, and physically drained from their current jobs. They spend their time at work thinking about how they need a new job. If that’s you, it’s time to consider finding a new career. But now the big question that follows, is how? How do I actually go about switching careers?

How to Change Careers

The first step in a midlife career change is understanding what it is you want to do. Think about your current job and what about it you like and dislike. If you are looking for a career change at 50, it typically means you have spent a majority of your life working. It’s likely you have an idea of what you feel passionate about. For example, if you’re working as a secretary at an accounting office, maybe you feel tired of sitting in a front office, and you want to do something that helps other people. Consider working as a dental hygienist or a community support worker.

Start seeking out people in positions or careers you are interested in. Ask questions about what the job is like day to day. Research jobs that interest you and look up programs and reach out. At Robertson College, many of our programs are designed for students looking for a new career. We offer online programs and ongoing start dates.

Remember to be flexible when determining what it is you’d like to be doing. If one of your goals in changing careers is to reduce stress and workload, it may mean taking a smaller salary or having to relocate. If you’re serious about a career change, a lifestyle change may be in the picture. It’s important to stay open to these potential changes.

Once you’ve landed on a career of interest, there may be degrees, diplomas, training, and/or certifications that are necessary or recommended to make you a more competitive candidate. Find out exactly what kind of qualifications are needed for that type of job and do your research. Put yourself out there, look at job postings, and talk to people in the preferred industry.

Once you’ve determined the steps you need to take to make the switch, turn those steps into concrete actions. This can be the hardest step for our prospective students – the actual effort to make the calls, send the emails, and go for the coffee dates. Many colleges or institutions will offer additional support and resources. Here at Robertson College, you can speak with a Student Admissions Advisor with any questions or concerns. Get in touch with one here.

Second Career Options/Choices

Some careers are better to transition to than others. There are many reasons why, but most of the below careers typically don’t require further education, training, or a diploma. Here’s a list of great second career ideas.

Dental Assistant

As a dental assistant, you are responsible for preparing patients for dental procedures, assisting the dentist during procedures and completing different office work tasks.  Becoming a dental assistant requires an associate degree or a diploma. It’s a great midlife career change option because it does not require a long education and is a great flexible career later in life.

Veterinary Technician

If you’re looking for a career change and are someone who loves animals, you should consider working as a Veterinary Technician. In this role, you will provide comfort and care for injured or ill animals. Your duties are similar to those of nurse, as you will be assisting veterinarian’s the same way a nurse assists a doctor. To make this your second career, you will need an associate degree. Check out Robertson’s Veterinary Office Assistant Diploma Program here.

Massage Therapist

As a massage therapist, you have the opportunity to help people relieve their pain and stress. This is an incredible job if you’re looking for flexibility in your second career. If you would like to be a massage therapist in your second career, it requires a diploma or certificate. Check out Robertson’s Massage Therapy Diploma Program here.

Community Support Worker

As a community support worker, you are helping your patients’ needs. This could be in a hospital, a care center, a shelter, or many other environments. To become one, it requires a diploma. Check out Robertson College’s Community Support Worker Diploma Program here.

Business Management

A career in business management is great for anyone who wants to transition into the business field. There are many areas that allow for entry-level positions in a variety of different industries and careers. For this, you can take any type of Business Management Degree or Diploma. Robertson’s School of Business offers an array of programs aimed at students looking for a career change. Check them out here.

Information Technology

If you’re into computers and problem solving, information technology may be an ideal second career choice for you. This is someone who works with computer hardware and software daily. Check out Robertson’s programs here.

Career Change at 30

At 30, it’s possible you have been in the career you thought you loved. Maybe you’ve been working in it for around 10 years but now you’re not as sure it’s for you anymore. Before racing into a second career, it’s important to plan through your next steps.

Your interests may not necessarily translate into a rewarding career. Figure out your natural abilities and strengths, while also taking your interests into consideration. When considering second career options, research every single possible second job before committing to one.

Consider going to college or back to college if you have never been. Furthered education will help lead you in a career-oriented direction. Many people in their 30s rush to graduate school thinking it is the answer. When really, you could do a diploma or certificate program in under a year and still enter the same type of career.

And remember, never settle. At 30, if you’re thinking, “I need a new career”, you’re going to want a second career you can and will enjoy until you retire. Think long term and be confident about your career change.

Career Change at 40

At 40, it’s possible you feel like you’re past the stage where you’re ready to rush into a new career but one more day of work makes you want to pull your hair out. Well, you deserve a career change like everybody else. While it may be scary, push through. At Robertson, we are here to help you.

You are at the point in your life where you have the education, experience, and knowledge to transition without any major issues. Use your time wisely and take advantage of those around you. Talk to the people around you and make connections and network with them.

At this age, consider whether you want to work for yourself or someone else. Choose your new career based off of passions and interests because you should love what you’re doing at this stage of life. You will feel more fulfilled if you can spend time doing what you love. If you choose to go the entrepreneurial route, take some business classes and gain more education on whatever it is you decide to take on.

Career Change at 50

When making a career change over 50, it’s possible to feel overwhelmed with how you’re feeling. But, switching careers in your 50s doesn’t have to be scary – you can actually make it enjoyable.

Take the time to really think through what it is you like and dislike about your current career. Take those “I wish I had…” or “One day I will..” and attempt to work those dreams into your career change.

Be realistic about this change and use the network around you. It’s likely you have been working for upwards of 20+ years so you have met many people in your professional and personal life.

While talking with friends and family helps, at this point in your life and career, it would be a good time to seek professional help. Many colleges and institutions have Counselor whose job it is to help people find the right career. Take advantage of these resources.

Lastly, for all the above, whether making a career change at 30, 40, or 50, it’s important to update your resume. The last thing you want when applying for a new job is for your resume to look dated or not personalized to that specific job. View or resume writing resource here.

Whether you are changing careers at 35, or 50, you are never too old to be happy in your career. Finding a second career you love involves research, education, and work.

Don’t let those steps in-between now and then stop you. Reach out to a Robertson Student Admission Advisor to start your midlife career change today.

Ready to Get Started?

Once you take the first step, one of our Student Admissions Advisors will get in touch to better understand your goals for the future.