A Change of Career at 40 – But How?

After decades of working in the same industry, with the same daily duties and responsibilities, it’s understandable that you may feel unchallenged, and maybe even bored. But most senior professionals are too scared to try something new. It can be intimidating to consider a change of career at 40 or older, but as with most major life changes, the hardest part is simply to start. The third act of your career might be the most exciting. Don’t allow a fear of the unknown prevent you from exploring a new direction.

a change of career at 40

Sites like Experteer can offer you access to more than 20,000 headhunters and recruiters who can help you seamlessly transition into a new position or industry. But first, you need to figure out your goals for the future – what kind of job would make you the happiest? What are your goals? Read on for tips on how you can discover your perfect career, and put the spark back in your professional life.

Make an Idea Map

If you’re seriously contemplating a change in career, chances are that you’re also open to other large changes in your life. So to organize your thoughts, create an idea map to figure out what you’re looking to fix – whether it’s a folder on your computer desktop with images of your goals in life, or a sketchbook filled with thoughts and musings, there’s no wrong way to do this. It’s all about understanding your motivations, and how you can get to where you want to go.

Consider these questions:

  • What’s wrong with your current career?
  • What would fulfill you?
  • What are your hobbies and passions? Are these marketable or scalable skills?
  • Would you consider moving abroad? To a different city?
  • What role does family play in your life? Are you flexible?
  • What kind of lifestyle do you want or need?
  • Are you looking to change industry, or function?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten?

By being honest and open with yourself about your goals, you can develop a clearer concept of your next steps. When you finish your idea map, you should be able to determine why you want to start a new career, how you can do it, and where you can start. The biggest question, of course, is “What?”

Assess Your Skills

Now that you’ve thought about your goals in life, you should also start thinking about where your strengths lie. Just like with your idea map, allow yourself total freedom. Relax and contemplate your accomplishments, your skills, your hobbies and activities. Maybe you worked as an accountant, but you’re a Photoshop pro. Your pivot tables are top notch, but you also design wedding invitations and brochures for your friends and family – both hobbies and skills learned on the job are valuable here.

Your love of Reddit and Twitter could make you an excellent brand manager, and your knack for styling your best friends could lend itself nicely if you took a position for a fashion company. No interest or pastime is irrelevant, and no talent should be overlooked.

Do Your Homework

Once you have an overview of your abilities and achievements, your passions should be clearer than ever. Now it’s time to find a job that speaks to those interests. There are so many jobs and opportunities that you might not even be aware of, so do a little digging using keywords that match your interests. Consider the fact that personal shoppers for upscale clients can stand to make $100,000 yearly – or more.

Or perhaps there are open positions in industries that excite you, positions that you may not even be aware of. For example, the video game industry brings in billions of USD in revenue each year. Whether you’re designing, testing, or simply marketing your favorite games, you may have overlooked the possibility of working for Sony Playstation, or EA Games.

When it comes to finding the right candidates for the job, many companies looking to place senior executives do so exclusively through headhunters, so as not to alert the competition, and to weed out unqualified applicants. If you haven’t yet, try to get in touch with a headhunter in your desired industry. Or, to stay alert and aware of positions for top level companies, try signing up for an account with Experteer, where headhunters and recruiters place exclusive job postings targeted at senior level professionals.

Consider a Rebrand

If you formerly worked as an account manager for a Wall Street acquisition firm, chances are that all of your personal documents and information – CV, cover letter, website, social media profiles – have taken on a similar style. When you’re trying to break into a different industry, or to find a job in a different function than before, you should carefully analyze your personal brand.

What kind of image are you projecting? If you want to venture into a more creative field, consider working with a graphic designer or personal branding expert to give your documents a more fresh feeling. If your goal is to position yourself as an expert in a new industry, you should start sharing and participating in online discussions about relevant trends and current events. Use your Twitter feed to highlight your interest, and stay up to date on recent news. By becoming a part of the conversation, you’ll raise awareness of your brand and improve your chances of getting noticed.

Activate Your Network

Contacts are everywhere, so you have to be ready to deliver your perfect elevator pitch. So once you’ve followed all of these steps, it’s time to get out and start networking. Lots of job seekers are shy about reaching out to friends and family. But in order to get your new career off the ground, you’ll need to spread the word. Suddenly, your professional network is full of possibilities. The journalist who worked with your firm in the past may have some leads into new marketing positions.

Your golf buddy could have a sister-in-law working for your dream company. Your neighbor just retired, but his firm is now hiring. Friends and professionals who already trust your competencies in your current position will have a much easier time helping you to propel your career into its new direction. Be assertive and get the word out – nothing can stop you from succeeding on your path to a new career!

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