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How To Master A Career Change At 40+

Maddie Brindley-Slater
10 August 2022
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Changing careers doesn’t have to be difficult, regardless of your age. In fact, it’s arguable that a career switch becomes easier the older you get, with the accumulation of life experience and skills.

So why does the concept of changing careers at 40 and above seem so daunting? It may be that society has instilled the idea in us that it is bad to jump ship, or that we should conform to a certain set of rigid rules surrounding what is expected of us. For some people, changing careers at 40+ is a concern because of family commitments, with parents worrying that changing careers could have a financial impact on their family.

Whatever your unique set of circumstances, it is completely possible to do a 180 with your career options at any age. Whether you know exactly what you’d like to do in life or have a vague idea of your next step but just need a push in the right direction, we hope you find our advice useful.

Ready to pursue your dreams and follow a new career path? Read on!

How to change careers at 40+


The first place to start is by reflecting on your career journey so far; focusing on what you’ve learned, the skills you’ve gained and what has made you tick.

This process of analysis and reflection can be useful for understanding your abilities, plus areas that could be worked on in order to improve your chances of securing a new role. You may even wish to study Ikigai, the Japanese art of combining your passions and strengths, with what the world needs and is willing to pay for. By doing this, you can identify your Ikigai to find your true calling in life.

The process of transitioning in your career becomes a whole lot smoother if you combine doing what you love with what you’re good at.

Measure up your priorities

A career change at 40+ can mean lots of different things for different people.

Some people may be looking to take a step back to prioritise family. Others may see it as a great opportunity to gain experience and see rapid progression. Others may simply find their former career no longer fulfils them, and have a hunger to fulfil this void. Some people may simply feel a calling to finally follow their career dreams that were abandoned at an earlier age for whatever reason.

Whatever your priorities, having a clear understanding of what’s important for you in your life will help make the process smoother. You may find that some roles completely align with what you want from life, whilst others are in complete opposition.

Seek to develop new skills

Next on our list is the importance of personal development. You may have found that the last few years of your life have been spent running the rat race on autopilot, without much thought to your interests and cultivating new skills and hobbies.

This can be particularly true for parents, who spend most of their time dedicated to looking after their children, with little personal time for self-improvement.

To give yourself the best opportunity to excel in a new role, consider all of the different areas where there is room for improvement. When considering the interview process where you will likely be up against someone with experience already, having lots of talking points and things to make you stand out are crucial.

Some examples of ways to focus on personal development could be reading a book on an area of interest, learning a new language or taking up a new sport.

Speak to members of your network

The phrase ‘it’s not what you not, it’s who you know’ has never been more important than when it comes to a career change. Thankfully, by the age of 40 and over, you’ve likely developed a large network from your various roles to date.

To make the career transition process smoother, tap into your existing network to see if your circle have any links that could open new doorways for you. The power of networking sites such as LinkedIn can prove especially useful for identifying new opportunities that may lead to something great.

Work with a career change expert

To make the whole process as smooth sailing as possible, you may wish to work with a career change expert, who can guide you as the process unfolds. A career expert has ample experience supporting clients to achieve their goals, as well as helping to design an action plan to get you from A to B.

As you navigate transitioning your careers, you’ll get 1-2-1 guidance and feedback, which ultimately can play a major role in how confidant you feel throughout the process.

Changing careers at 40 doesn’t have to be hard with the support of a career expert. Browse all coaches and mentors here. Be sure to book a complimentary Virtual Coffee to gauge whether the expert is a good fit, then the rest is history!

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About Wiseup

Supporting your career goals at every stage of your life, our community of 100+ experts are perfectly suited to guide you through a career 180. Looking for help with your career change at 40 – UK wide? Click here to book your free consultation with our Service Manager.

Discover lots more helpful career tips and advice over on our blog.

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